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 provides a verbal exchange of questions and answers in the user's native language. Although virtual assistants are a feature in tablets, desktop computers and table top units, their inclusion in the smartphone made the phone an incredibly useful electronic companion.

Also called a "personal assistant," "digital assistant," "intelligent assistant," "voice assistant" and "intelligent agent," Apple popularized the concept in 2011 with Siri, and Google, Microsoft and Amazon followed. See Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana and Amazon Echo.

Virtual assistants are also used to make phone calls and set alarms, reminders and calendar appointments, as well as turn on lights, music and other smart home devices. Over time, results become more personalized. Virtual assistants were the first embodiment of artificial intelligence used every day by millions of people (see AI). See chatbot and smart home.

A Reverse Evolution
Whereas countless applications evolved from desktop to mobile, the opposite occurred with virtual assistants. Starting out in phones and tablets, they migrated to the desktop and table top (see Cortana, Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod).

Heavy Lifting in the Cloud
The virtual assistant is primarily driven by knowledge bases on the Internet. However, that vast amount of information is combined with the user's own contacts and calendar to provide very personalized assistance. See knowledge base, Semantic Web, AI and S Voice.
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References in periodicals archive ?
More than half (53 percent) of voice-activated virtual assistant owners (and 60 percent of Millennials who own them) say they buy in-store less after acquiring a voice-activated assistant, according to the research.
Siri: One thing seems clear: Siri, the voice-activated assistant that lives in your iPhone, is going to take center stage.
* Voice-to-command technology was an instant hit when Apple released Siri, its voice-activated assistant, on the iPhone 4S.
Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F), a United States-based automaker, is adding a voice-activated assistant to its SYNC 3 infotainment system, providing navigation guidance to drivers through their own voice commands.
* As LG unveiled its lineup of smart appliances, executive David VanderWaal quickly lost rapport with his onstage partner, the cute voice-activated assistant CLOi.
One of the best features of the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones is the Google Assistant, Google's own voice-activated assistant that competes with Apple's Siri.
But Internet Explorer has been replaced with a browser called Edgeandthere's a new voice-activated assistant called Cortana, similar to Apple's Siri.
19 -- Apple's voice-activated assistant, Siri, is a nifty app that can give you directions, search the Web, and occasionally throw some shade.
Apple has also installed its own mapping software, upgraded its voice-activated assistant known as Siri and incorporated Facebook in the iOS software.
Huawei, the third largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, is reportedly working on its own digital voice-activated assistant. The company's AI assistant will soon be competing with Apple's Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon's Alexa.
In fact, the formerly top cellphone maker is not planning to position its voice-activated assistant as a direct rival to Amazon's Alexa, Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana and Google's Google Assistant.