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 ?
New York [USA], Jan 4 ( ANI ): Tech giant Apple is reportedly making minor tweaks to its intelligent personal assistant, Siri to suit and fit into the much awaited smart speaker, HomePod.
She is Alexa of Amazon's Echo, the intelligent personal assistant.
Summary paragraph: First there was Siri, and only Apple product users had access to an intelligent personal assistant.
Siri is an intelligent personal assistant that lets you use your voice to do things like add appointments to your schedule, make calls, and send text messages.
Researchers at BT's Martlesham laboratories have been working on the Intelligent Personal Assistant software for more than two years, and the first fruits of this work may be commercially available as early as the second quarter next year.
SNS recognized Rearden Commerce for developing the first, viable on-demand, intelligent personal assistant that leverages contextual information to create efficiencies in the workplace and provide individuals with a superior end-user experience.
Amazon Prime members who own an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, Amazon Fire TV or Fire tablet can use Alexa - Amazon's voice-powered, intelligent personal assistant - to shop hands-free.
ZiFF IoT homes integrated with Google Home Device which enables users to speak voice commands to interact with services through the Home's intelligent personal assistant called Google Assistant.
The five million users of Cortana for Android can now download the latest update for Microsoft's intelligent personal assistant.
In addition, Microsoft s intelligent personal assistant CortanaA can be used on a Mac with both OS X and Windows 10 apps.

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