Conversational AI: The future of Virtual Assistants

In a constantly changing world, customers seek efficiency and speed when talking to any company . This is where chatbots and Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVA) come in.

Thanks to their ability to engage in more advanced conversations Unlike rules-based chatbots, AI-powered systems are equipped with a multitude of features to assist or even entertain users in their daily activities. In addition to its customizable features, self-learning capabilities and scalability, virtual assistants have gained popularity in various global companies.

According to Grand View Research, the global size of the smart virtual assistant market It was valued at $ 3.7 billion in 2019, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34.0% during the forecast period. The need for effectiveness in service-based companies and the integration of artificial intelligence digital assistants between various devices such as computers, tablets, and smartphones are anticipated to drive the market.

What can bots do in 2020?

Today there is no doubt that recent technological advances have significantly improved the performance of chatbots and IVA. But as flawless as they may seem at first glance, we could all agree that bots are still terrible talkers.

Rules-based chatbots. AI-powered chatbots.

The basic chatbots rule-based are only accessible within chats and works in a exchange of a single shift . Simply put, they react to questions asked by the user, detect the main intention, and return a single predefined response accordingly. They can handle routine basic queries, for example: frequently asked questions, reservations, online ordering, or appointment scheduling (survey bots, meeting planners, foreign language tutors, travel and hospitality bots). However, as soon as the user asks a question outside of the bot’s knowledge set, this will automatically lead to failure.

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On the other hand, we distinguish chatbots powered by artificial intelligence which are based on core machine learning technologies such as natural language processing (PLN) and the techniques of information retrieval (IR) . By applying such methods, tech giants like Facebook and Google have launched multi-turn open domain chatbots (see Meena and Blender), which can reproduce more human conversations. However, the implementation of open domain bots remains incredibly challenging due to many direct limitations of deep learning.


In April 2020, Facebook AI developed and opened BlenderBot the first chatbot that combines a diverse set of conversation skills, including empathy, knowledge, and personality, in one system .

Despite all the great Progressing for conversational AI, Blender is still far from human level. One of the challenges lies in their tendency to invent facts, because sentences are generated from statistical correlations and not from a knowledge database. As a consequence, you can string together a deep and consistent description of a known superstar, for example, but with completely false information. The team intends to experiment further with integrating a knowledge database into the chatbot response generation system.

Source: Facebook Research Will chatbots be replaced by IVA?

Most likely, yes. But what about our “art-states” Meena and BlenderBot? They seem to be very smart chatbots, right?

As companies across industries look for ways to improve their customer experience, IVAs are likely to gain momentum over chatbots . Now you must ask yourself why and the answer is relatively simple. In addition to having the power to leverage artificial intelligence to drive transformations at the core of the business, IVA can adapt and engage in more humane conversations and enhance the user experience.

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While the call is in progress Voice Revolution some organizations believe that avatars simulating real people would lead to even more successful assistants. How successful? The truth is that it is something that remains to be seen.

Ups Meena and BlenderBot can only … CHAT

If you are reading this, chances are you have spoken at least once with Alexa , Google Assistant, Siri, Cortana or Bixby. And if you haven’t already, you should be curious as to why voice-enabled AIs have become so popular in recent years. Let’s take a closer look!

Conversational interactions facilitated by digital assistants and high-quality voice user interfaces (VUIs) will become a true game changer for years to come. As automatic voice recognition progresses, a high demand for voice search will drive smart speakers and in-car systems to go hand in hand with IVA.

In addition, voice technology is becoming becoming increasingly important in the field of education. With the support of IBM Watson Machine Learning Accelerator solutions, DeepZen has developed deep learning and neural networks to recognize emotion in text and produce human language. This company believes that voice technology can help students with spelling and time practice, as well as teach them about AI and the world of the future.

“Attendees voice are gaining popularity in education as more and more applications focused on this field are developed ”- DeepZen

I have never seen… virtual assistants

A different approach comes from Samsung subsidiary STAR Labs, which has officially unveiled its “artificial human” project, Neon, at CES 2020. Neon is basically about creating digital avatars, computer-animated human images, still unknown to the public until today. The company explains that “the scenarios shown at our CES stand and in our promotional content are fictitious and simulated for illustrative purposes only “.

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Going further, Replika has already integrated a beta version of 3D avatars, which has caused many controversial reactions from users. While many are excited to visually interact with their replika and the technology behind it, others have decided to go back to the previous version. Since the update, Replika’s Twitter page has received comments from users who are “uncomfortable” and “scared” regarding the new “terrifyingly creepy” avatars.

Accordingly, if these Avatars are part of the successful journey of digital assistants, but it is still an open question.

Take the message home

The number of organizations using virtual assistants is expected to skyrocket in the coming years, given the rapid evolution of PLN technologies the increase in voice search and, respectively, the development of electronic commerce and e-learning . In other words, the emerging trends mentioned above lead us to believe that it is very likely that the old rule-based chatbots will be replaced by IVA.

Ten Keep in mind that, despite everything, the challenges and concerns of the development of conversational AI are numerous and the bots are presumably flawed.

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