An Introduction to Virtual Assistants

A virtual, AI, or a digital assistant is an application program that understands natural language voice commands. It completes tasks for the user. It uses a device’s microphone to receive voice requests while the voice output takes place at the speaker.

How do they work?

When we ask our assistant to perform a task, the natural language audio signal is converted into digital data that can be analyzed by the software. Then this data is compared with a database of the software using an innovative algorithm to find a suitable answer. This database is located on distributed servers in cloud networks. For this reason, most personal assistants cannot work without a reliable Internet connection. When the number of queries are increased, the database gets expanded and optimized hence voice recognition is improved.

Brief History-

1- The first voice-activated toy released in 1911 was Radio Rex.

2- In 1952 Bell Labs presented “Audrey”, the Automatic Digit Recognition machine. 

3- Another early tool used to perform digital speech recognition named IBM Shoebox voice-activated calculator.

4- The first natural language processing computer program or the chatbot was ELIZA.

Then further came Harpy in 1970. It was the next milestone in the development of voice- recognition technology. 

Digital Virtual Assistant-

Siri-

The first modern digital virtual assistant installed on a smartphone was Siri, introduced on 4 October 2011.

It use voice queries and a natural-language user interface to answer questions, make recommendations, and perform actions by delegating requests to a set of Internet services. It adapts users’ language usages, searches, and preferences. 

Google Assistant-

Google Assistant is Google’s version of Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri. It has made incredible progress since its 2016 launch and is probably the most advanced and dynamic assistant out there.

It offers voice commands, voice searching, and voice-activated device control and let us complete many tasks after we’ve said the “OK Google” or “Hey, Google” wake words.

Alexa-

Amazon Alexa, is a virtual assistant AI technology developed by Amazon. It is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, traffic, sports, and other real-time information. Alexa can also control several smart devices using itself as a home automation system. Users can extend the Alexa capabilities by installing “skills” (additional functionality developed by third-party vendors, in other settings more commonly called apps such as weather programs and audio features).

Google Assistant vs Siri vs Alexa

Google Assistant is still at the top, but now with a score of 92.9% for answering questions correctly. Siri correctly answers 83.1% of questions, while Alexa gets 79.8% correct. 

References-

1- https://onlim.com/en/introduction-to-intellligent-personal-assistants/amp/

2- https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_assistant

3- https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siri

4- https://www.pocket-lint.com/apps/news/google/137722-what-is-google-assistant-how-does-it-work-and-which-devices-offer-it

5- https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Alexa

6- https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.zdnet.com/google-amp/article/apple-siri-vs-amazon-alexa-vs-google-assistant-tests-reveal-which-is-smartest/

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