Virtual assistant (artificial intelligence)(Redirected from Intelligent personal assistant)
A virtual assistant is a software agent that can perform tasks or services for an individual. A chatbot, a term often used interchangeably, is in fact a virtual assistant accessed via online chat. As of 2017, the most widely used virtual assistants include:
|Virtual assistant||Developer||Interaction method||Access on device(s)||Accessed within apps/sites||Developer platform|
|Alexa||Amazon||Voice; text chat (since April 2017)||Amazon Echo and hundreds of devices||---||Lex|
|Bixby||Samsung||Image upload; voice planned||Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone||Integrated into 20 apps (April 2017)||SDK forthcoming (April 2017)|
|Cortana||Microsoft||Voice||Computers and other devices running Microsoft Windows||No, integrated into Microsoft Windows OS||Cortana SDK|
|Google Assistant||Voice, text chat||Google Home smart speaker, Google Allo smartphone app, integrated into Google Pixel smartphone||Google Allo app on smartphones||Google Actions and API.ai|
|M||Text chat||Smartphones via apps, other devices via Web||Embedded within Facebook Messenger and Facebook (mobile apps and web pages)||---|
|Siri||Apple||Voice||On iOS/watchOS devices: iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch||No, embedded into device OS||---|
Method of interactionEdit
Virtual assistants make work via:
- Text (online chat), especially in an instant messaging app or other app
- Voice, for example with Amazon Alexa on the Amazon Echo device, or Siri on an iPhone
- By taking and/or uploading images, as in the case of Samsung Bixby on the Samsung Galaxy S8
Virtual assistants use natural language processing (NLP) to match user text or voice input to executable commands. Many continually learn using artificial intelligence techniques including machine learning.
Devices and objects where foundEdit
Virtual assistants may be integrated into many types of platforms or, like Amazon Alexa, across several of them:
- Into objects like smart speakers such as Amazon Echo and Google Home
- In instant messaging apps on both smartphones and via the Web, e.g. Facebook's M (virtual assistant) on both Facebook and Facebook Messenger apps or via the Web
- Built into a mobile operating system (OS), as are Apple's Siri on iOS devices, or into a desktop OS such as Cortana on Microsoft Windows OS
- Built into a smartphone independent of the OS, as is Samsung Bixby on the Samsung G8, and Google Assistant on the Google Pixel
- On other mobile apps such as Google Allo
- Within instant messaging platforms, assistants from specific organizations, such as Aeromexico's Aerobot on Facebook Messenger or Wechat Secretary on WeChat
- Within mobile apps from specific companies and other organizations, such as Dom from Domino's Pizza
- On smartwatches
- In appliances,, cars, and Android Wear clothing.
- Previous generations of virtual assistants often worked on websites, such as Alaska Airlines' Ask Jenn, or on interactive voice response (IVR) systems such as American Airlines' IVR by Nuance.
Virtual assistants can provide a wide variety of services, and particularly those from Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant grow by the day. These include:
- Provide information such as weather, facts from e.g. Wikipedia or IMDB, set an alarm, to-do lists, shopping lists,
- Play music from streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora; play radio stations; read audiobooks
- Play videos, tv shows or movies on televisions, streaming from e.g. Netflix
- Buy items from e.g. Amazon
- Complement and/or replace customer service by humans. One report estimated that an automated online assistant produced a 30% decrease in the work-load for a human-provided call centre.
Amazon enables Alexa "Skills" and Google "Actions", essentially apps that run on the assistant platforms.
The platforms that power the most widely used virtual assistants are also used to power other solutions:
- Amazon Lex was opened to developers in April 2017. It involves natural language understanding technology combined with automatic speech recognition and had been introduced in November 2016.
- Google provides the Actions on Google and API.ai platforms for developers to create "Actions" for Google Assistant
- Apple provides SiriKit for developers to create extensions for Siri
- IBM's Watson, while sometimes spoken of as a virtual assistant is in fact an entire artificial intelligence platform and community powering some virtual assistants, chatbots. and many other types of solutions.
In previous generations of text chat-based virtual assistants, the assistant was often represented by an avatar of (a.k.a. 'interactive online character or automated character) — this was known as an embodied agent.
Full comparison of assistantsEdit
|Intelligent personal assistant||Developer||Availability||Free software||Free and open-source hardware||HDMI out||External I/O||Retail price||Internet of things integration||Chromecast integration||Smart phone app||Always on||Unit to unit voice channel|
|Alpha(Persian)[third-party source needed]||?||multiple||Yes||N/A||N/A||N/A||—||No||No||Yes||No||N/A|
|Aido[third-party source needed]||?||not released||No||N/A||N/A||N/A||US$549||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||N/A|
|Alexa (a.k.a. Echo)||Amazon.com||list||No||No||No||No||US$179||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||?|
|Autonomous[third-party source needed]||?||?||No||N/A||N/A||N/A||varies||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||N/A|
|Bixby||Samsung Electronics||Galaxy S8||No||N/A||N/A||N/A||—||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|BlackBerry Assistant||BlackBerry Limited||BlackBerry 10||No||N/A||N/A||N/A||—||No||No||Yes||No||N/A|
|Evi||Amazon.com True Knowledge||App||No||N/A||N/A||N/A||—||No||No||Yes||No||N/A|
|Google Now||Play Store||No||N/A||N/A||N/A||—||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||N/A|
|Ivee[third-party source needed]||?||not released||No||N/A||N/A||N/A||US$99||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||N/A|
|James[third-party source needed]||Boost AI||multiple||No||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||Yes||No||Yes||No||N/A|
|Jibo[third-party source needed]||?||not released||No||N/A||N/A||N/A||US$749||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||N/A|
|Kore[third-party source needed]||?||multiple||No||N/A||N/A||N/A||—||No||No||Yes||No||N/A|
|Remi[third-party source needed]||?||Android||No||N/A||N/A||N/A||—||No||No||Yes||No||N/A|
|Siri||Apple Inc.||App Store||No||N/A||N/A||N/A||—||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||N/A|
|Turbo AI[third-party source needed]||Phonemetra Inc.||Play Store||No||N/A||N/A||N/A||US$99||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||N/A|
|Lucida[third-party source needed]||?||Github||Yes||N/A||N/A||N/A||—||No||No||Yes||No||N/A|
|Viv||Samsung Electronics||not released||No||N/A||N/A||N/A||—||Yes||No||Yes||No||N/A|
|Your.MD[third-party source needed]||?||multiple||Yes||N/A||N/A||N/A||—||No||No||Yes||Yes||N/A|
- "Ask Jenn", Alaska Airlines website
- "American Airlines (US Airways) - First US Airline to Deploy Natural Language Speech" (video), Nuance Enterprise on YouTube
- Kongthon, Alisa; Sangkeettrakarn, Chatchawal; Kongyoung, Sarawoot; Haruechaiyasak, Choochart (2009-01-01). "Implementing an Online Help Desk System Based on Conversational Agent". Proceedings of the International Conference on Management of Emergent Digital EcoSystems. MEDES '09. New York, NY, USA: ACM: 69:450–69:451. doi:10.1145/1643823.1643908. ISBN 9781605588292.
- Aetna's new "virtual online assistant" By Anthony O'Donnell. Insurance & Technology. June 03, 2010 Archived June 7, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
- Janakiram MSV (20 August 2015). "Meet Mycroft, The Open Source Alternative To Amazon Echo". Forbes. Retrieved 27 October 2016.