May 21 is celebrated World Virtual Assistant Day. According to a study of Juniper Research, In the year 2024 there will be more virtual voice assistants than people on the face of the Earth. The advancement of natural language processing technologies, conversational interfaces, automation, and machine learning and deep learninghas allowed these assistants not to have a person behind them, but a technology. They have evolved until they function autonomously to respond to the needs that may arise with a response that is very similar to that of a human.
Currently, their evolution is such that companies give them tasks that range from speaking on behalf of the company through chatbotthe most traditional and well-known function, to graphic design, transcriptions, writing of post on website, video and image editing or accounting, among other functions. This technology has had to go through an important improvement process until it reaches the current situation. According to the company Entelgy, The BusinessTech Consultancy, an expert in digitization technologies, summarizes how this evolution has been.
The history of Digital Virtual Assistants is linked to the development of computing and personal computers. It was Alan Turing, who is considered the father of computational technologies, in 1950, the first to affirm that machines could think. He himself devised the so-called “Turing Test”, a system of questions and answers to test the intelligence of a machine, evaluating the ability of a human to identify if he is talking to a machine or not. Despite being over 50 years old, this test is still the standard for measuring Artificial Intelligence.
The first digital virtual assistance system capable of speaking was designed and released by IBM even before the first personal computer, in 1961. The next step would come from the United States Department of Defense and its agency for advanced intelligence projects, DARPA. In 1970 this organization collaborated with a project at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which featured Happya voice recognition tool with a vocabulary similar to that of a three-year-old.
With the entrance of the new millennium, Virtual Assistants begin to be known as a consumer technology. Siri, the iPhone assistant, is considered the first Virtual Assistant that reached consumers. Its technology was developed in 2007 at SRI International, although it was in 2010 when Apple acquired it and introduced it to the software of the iPhone. Then came Amazon with Alexa in 2014 or Microsoft that implemented Cortana in 2015.
The improvement of these systems continues, the RAE presented in 2019 the Spanish Language and Artificial Intelligence (LEIA) project with the aim that these technologies speak Spanish as correctly as possible, an initiative with which Microsoft and Google already train their communication systems. Artificial intelligence.
According to the last General Media StudyAlmost half of Spaniards have used a Virtual Assistant at least once in their life. Specifically, with the arrival of the pandemic, the implementation of these technologies was considerably accelerated when companies and institutions were unable to manage the barrage of queries on their own.
Even despite being in the process of improvement, the attendees are already an easy and simple communication channel that offers a faster response and attention capacity without time restrictions and without waiting times. This has repercussions in streamlining business processes and business efficiency. They are a good example of integration between the digital world and the analog world, since a user can be served first by a virtual assistant and then by a technician from the support team in the same session. On the other hand, the technologies machine learningg allow learning with each use, being increasingly efficient and more autonomous.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism