What is a smartphone virtual assistant and how to use one

What is a Smartphone Virtual Assistant and how to use one
Image credit: http://wccftech.com

What is a smartphone virtual assistant?  This is the question that immediately popped into my mind when I started reading the article ‘How Do People Use Virtual Assistants on Their Smartphones?’

As a virtual assistant, I immediately presumed the worst, digital technology is automating more of the services I offer virtually.  I was relieved to read further and discover that actually, a smartphone virtual assistant, or defined on Wikipedia as an ‘Intelligent personal assistant’, are satisfying users in their search for information. 

Another key aspect of an intelligent personal assistant is its ability to organise and maintain information, making it quick and easy to access.

A search for information by text or voice command, answered by a software agent via your smartphone is a smartphone virtual assistant.  But they can also be used for other things, not just answering questions, listening to and downloading music, reading books. 

Google Now, Siri, Cortana, Alexa, and Samsung S-voice are all virtual assistants that are currently being underutilised in the new technological world.  Digital virtual assistants on our desktops, laptops, tablets and smartphones are there to instantly help and assist.

E-Marketer attributing this to the generation of the which the users come from and their reasons for using them are different.  Taken from E-Marketer’s post on the 17th February 2017 the reasons and generations are:-

Millennials were most likely to manage alarms, play music, play audiobooks and search for movie times.

Gen Xers were most likely to look up someone’s phone number, search for a song playing on the radio, create a shopping list and check news headlines.

Baby boomers tended to use smartphone virtual assistants to play voicemail messages, look up measurement conversions, search calendar events and discover recipes.

Although the statistics in the article, based on an American survey by Higher Visibility SEO company, found that 28.7% still do not use smartphone virtual assistants.

So the next time you get out your smartphone here are just a few of the more customary search queries conducted via these assistants that you can perform, including requests to play music, manage alarms, find a weather forecast, search for a contact’s phone number or ask a fun question, the era of smarter smartphones is upon us!

In the meantime, if you smartphone virtual assistant can’t help you with those laborious tasks such as typing, or replying to emails, get a human virtual assistant such as Virtuadmin, where you can chat directly with me to discuss your virtual assistant requirements.











This Mercedes self-typing AI typewriter feels like real magic

AI typewriter by Mercedes
Self-typing AI typewriter feels like real magic (header from the original post)

As experiments with artificial intelligence go, making a magical typewriter that collaborates on fairy tales probably wouldn’t be your first idea. That’s just what Mercedes-Benz have made, however, as part of a demonstration of the power of AI. The result is both very “Harry Potter” and very cool.

It’s the handiwork of a team at the Mercedes-Benz Research and Development Center of North America, in Sunnyvale California. Usually, the engineers and programmers there are working on new infotainment designs, smarter dashboards which can predict where you might want to go and how hot you want the cabin to be, and integration with things like Google Home and Apple Watch.

To put a new artificial intelligence through its paces, though, they turned to a more entertaining concept. While this might look like an old-fashioned typewriter, and indeed operates as one, it also has a mind of its own.

They taught it very little to start with, basically that it should build up a text character by character. Then they fed it with a stack of old Brothers Grimm fairytales. The Ai doesn’t really know it’s writing a story, but it does know to take a prompt typed from a human and then interact with the story.

In practice, it means you type a few sentences and then pause, only to have the typewriter itself pick up the thread and add its own twist to the tale. Nothing is pre-programmed, with the artificial intelligence instead analyzing what its human co-author has written and attempting to come up with something that fits thematically.

As for the eye-catching typewriter design, while the Mercedes team could’ve had the whole thing working on a laptop display, the feeling was that this fit better with the gothic atmosphere of classically creepy fairy tales. The keys themselves are linked by cables to individual actuators, which pull them down to type. The engineers conceded that an electric typewriter mechanism would’ve been a whole lot easier to work with – you have to clear the occasional jam, just like in the old days – but then you wouldn’t have quite the same charm.

The stories themselves aren’t going to win any book awards for great literature, but the AI does a surprisingly good job of picking out characters, items, and topics introduced by human authors and taking those forward as it develops the tale. Fed with a somewhat tongue-in-cheek range of characters including a bear and an Uber, it managed to cling to its fairytale theme.

Of course, Mercedes isn’t planning to get into the ebook business. The automaker’s real goal is using artificial intelligence’s like these to build self-driving cars that can monitor the road around it for other traffic, pedestrians, and potential obstacles, and adapt in real-time rather than needing programming for every situation. Being able to react to unpredictable human drivers and pedestrians, not to mention changeable weather conditions, would give an autonomous vehicle an edge that even years of traditional engineering couldn’t achieve.

**  This post first appeared on Slashgear.com on December 12, 2016 and written by Chris Davies.  All images and the video are from the original post.