virtual assistant

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virtual assistant

(1) An individual who performs administrative functions for clients. See human virtual assistant.

(2) An application that lets people ask questions by speaking in their natural language and listening to verbal answers. Although virtual assistants are in tablets and desktop computers, they caused the smartphone to become an incredibly useful electronic companion. No matter where people are, they can ask about anything that is public knowledge and get an answer.

Also called a "personal assistant," "digital assistant," "intelligent agent" and "voice assistant," Apple's Siri popularized the concept in 2011. Siri was followed by Google Now/Google Assistant in Android and Chrome devices, Cortana in Windows, Alexa in Amazon's Echo and Facebook M. The Viv platform was created to revolutionize this technology (see Viv). See Siri, Google Now, Google Assistant, Cortana, Amazon Echo and Facebook M.

Virtual assistants cannot only answer questions, they can make phone calls, calendar appointments and reminders and set alarms. The more information kept in the phone, the more personalized the results. Virtual assistants are the first embodiment of artificial intelligence used on a daily basis by hundreds of millions of people (see AI). Virtual assistants are increasingly called "chatbots" (see chatbot).

Heavy Lifting in the Cloud
The virtual assistant is driven by one or more semantic knowledge bases on the Internet as well as the data in the user's device. Over time, the virtual assistant becomes more tailored to the individual. See knowledge base, Semantic Web, AI and S Voice.
References in periodicals archive ?
The release of the Jelly Bean software has signalled the arrival of Google's own integrated voice-activated search programme and this particular corner of the market will only get more exciting.
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WE were interested to read in yesterday's Record that the new voice-activated search engine launched this week on the Apple iPhone doesn't understand Scottish accents, leading to all sorts of weird results.
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The app will utilize features inherent to the mobile platform, including geo-location technology and voice-activated search functionality through Google Search by voice.
The anniversary of the fund's initial closing coincides with Arcturus' investment in V-Enable, a San Diego company specializing in voice-activated search on cell phones, and the ninth company in the fund's portfolio to date.
0 Million Global Business Information Links; Global MP3 Download Center; Global Trade Surplus Center; Multilingual Voice-activated Search Engines and Web Browsers; more than 4750 trained Sales Representatives in 120 countries and territories around the world; Global Web Hosting; 15.