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Monday, August 29, 2022

Rise of Virtual Assistants

 Indeed, robots and more.

The Rise of Virtual Assistants: How Machines & Algorithms Increase the Potential for Consumer Contact

By Piergiorgio Vittori  in Datanami

In this hyper-competitive, consumer-focused marketplace, new technologies are increasingly allowing data analysis and information reprocessing to foster “virtual relationships.” This is an exciting new world of information capture and consideration, one which empowers strong companies and leaders to optimize fundamental corporate performance and improve strategic business decisions.

Of course personal choices and preferences will always inhabit crucial roles in core consumer behaviors. But enhancing conversations via artificial intelligence (AI) mechanisms — such as chatbots and virtual assistants — represent a farsighted way for businesses and organizations to engage audiences and partners across a myriad digital arena.

These new technologies are both powerful and dynamic — beginning with “touch”-based interfaces and evolving on to interfaces powered by “voice.” They’re all efforts further aided by robust graphic interfaces that allow for simpler and faster ways to generate feedback and capture information from the widest range of smart devices.

This is particularly true with virtual assistants (VA), which developers and end-users now define as a sort of “digital human.” VAs today have never been more effective or elegantly designed. Visually realistic, they’re also powerful enough to comprehend data, answer consumer questions and even achieve quasi-emotional “human” connections. Through subtle— and often not so subtle — uses of body language, VAs today can even blink, nod and, yes, wink; in other words, they possess the beginnings of humanity and the ability to communicate like truly sentient beings.

The creation of virtual assistants and chatbots is a multi-billion-dollar industry (Olivier-Le-Moal/Shutterstock)

The role of voice in VAs is crucial – voice is what facilitates language, voice conveys emotion, voices facilitates subtlety and allows for emphasis. Our voices generate compassion, empathy and most crucially trust – and for VAs to truly impact the marketplace, consumers must trust in their efforts, abilities and results. Trust not only results in a better user experience, it creates loyalty and encourages repeat use – core actions which allow AI-powered devices to iterate, improve and evolve.

By deploying essential conversational elements, VAs — and the organizations that embrace them — are further embedding the core tenets of communication into digital interactions of all sorts: Verbal, textual, vocal and gestural. The result is a highly mutual experience with long-term potential to help data-driven ecosystems truly thrive — all aided by algorithms capable of exploiting the mechanisms of Deep Learning (DL).  ... ' 

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