SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, November 4, 2020 — The Seoul Digital Foundation announced that it will use robots to provide digital education for 3,000 senior citizens from November 2. The education program will be offered for three months until the end of January 2021 at 17 welfare facilities for the elderly in five autonomous districts among 25 in Seoul.
This digital education is part of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy’s “Robot Promotion and Supply Initiative,” promoted by a consortium of the Seoul Digital Foundation and five autonomous districts, including Gangnam-gu and Gangdong-gu.
While face-to-face digital education cannot be thoroughly carried out because of COVID-19, this educational program is intended to help more elderly citizens use digital devices in the non-face-to-face educational environment using robots.
The digital education program will be provided by “LIKU,” a robot specially developed to provide customized one-to-one programs. LIKU will teach senior citizens in real-time how to use mobile messengers. The total number of program sessions will be 300 and up to ten people per session will be accepted for safety reasons.
Since April, the Seoul Digital Foundation had developed manuals to enhance the program’s efficiency and test-operated it for 101 senior citizens in August to verify its effectiveness and potentials. It has been learned through the pilot operation that more than 87 percent of participants said they were “satisfied,” and 83 percent said they want to participate in the program.
The Seoul Digital Foundation reflected the test-run program participants’ opinions in the program and made curricula more systematically with learning strategies by step to maximize educational performance.
Lee Won-mok, the Acting Chairman of the Seoul Digital Foundation, said, “Seoul is planning and running various educational programs to help citizens use digital devices without difficulties. I expect that contactless digital education programs using humanoid robots that exchange emotions with people will play an important role in transforming this “untact (non-face-to-face)” era into the “ontact (on+untact)*” society.
* “Ontact” is the term made by marketing companies to express “beyond untact.” “Ontact” is a play on untact but refers to the experience of being “face-to-face online.”