IPhone users are asking Siri, Windows users are asking Cortana and residents everywhere are asking Alexa and Google Home. So, are these AI bots becoming the new virtual assistant?
In case you’ve been under a rock for the last year or so the tech world introduced us to what seems like the beginning of iRobot. These convenient little “assistants” answer questions, set appointments and reminders, adjust thermostats and play your favorite music. I mean, shoot I ask Google to wake me up in an hour at least once a week. And it just called my husband while I was driving home. It’s hard to deny these bots are super convenient and fun to use. But a virtual assistant, that may be a stretch. Not just because I take it personal that someone thinks a bot can easily perform the work I’ve built my business on for the past 5 years. But largely because a VA is much more than an “assistant.”
A virtual assistant is commonly (and incorrectly) thought of as simply a remote secretary and administrative assistant. There are general Virtual Assistants but much more common over the last 3 years are niche based VAs. These professionals specialize in technical support like web design, SEO and content creation, marketing (email, digital, PR, etc.) and a plethora of other specialized tasks. Literally any task or project you could imagine, In the words of Apple (kinda) “there’s a VA for that.” And your VA can’t be hacked; another inevitable issue with AI bots.
So, while I can’t deny I do like these new AI gadgets the value a Virtual Assistant provides versus the convenience of Cortana and Alexa don’t compare. But is my guess that VAs will begin incorporating AI technology into their services as their “personal assistant.” I’d love to program Alexa or Cortana to do my online training for clients…hmmm I think I’ll work on that.