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Pub-goers rejoice: Revelers in Moscow to get virtual drinking assistant

Pub-goers rejoice: Revelers in Moscow to get virtual drinking assistant
As Google and Amazon vie to develop the world’s smartest digital helper, a Russian IT startup has announced AI for a very specific niche – a voice assistant that gives advice to pub-goers.

Bar hoppers in Moscow can look forward to having a trusted adviser who can – hopefully – save them from buying the wrong drink or ending up at an awful pub. A voice assistant will analyze the user’s location and suggest places based on their drinking preferences, Russian IT company iDrink said.

Unlike most virtual assistants, the company’s AI will have a male name – ‘Sanyok’, which is a diminutive for Aleksandr. To receive a recommendation for a pub, you would say, “Sanyok, I want to have a drink.”

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The producer says the gender choice is based on focus group studies that show customers, both male and female, are more inclined to trust a male voice when it comes to advice on where to have a drink.

The company first intended to use the functionality of Alisa, a virtual helper developed by Russian IT giant Yandex, but dropped the idea when they found that the female-voiced AI “refused to learn and recommend drinking establishments.”

Yandex’s Alisa, unveiled in 2017, made headlines when she told President Vladimir Putin that “there’s nothing better than cats” during a visit to the company’s Moscow office.

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