In this series of blog posts, I’ll be exploring the Intelligent Virtual Assistant (IVA) trends and analyzing it from the technological point of view. I‘ll be thinking about what needs to be done and how to achieve this next level of IVAs.
To understand what I mean by next level IVA, I will first define the technological milestone in term of level of development, similar to what we have in autonomous driving domain.
Although we can define several levels in several way, I will be defining 3 levels to make things simple. The first level corresponds to the level of the technology we have today. The second level correspond to what the next generation should achieve, and the third to all what can come afterward.
Level 1 – Query Execution: These IVAs can understand text and voice, answer questions and execute various tasks. Whilst they cannot fully sustain a conversation, they can follow up with few questions depending on the task. Such assistants are optimized for task execution. Skills can be added to enhance what the assistant can do. If a task can be expressed in a query format, they can execute it. Examples are:
- Make a call
- set an alarm
- write a message
- search the net
- switch on the light.
This is the current level of IVA and correspond to what is commercially available today.
Level 2 – Personalized Assistants: while level 1 can execute commands, Level 2 can fully manage tasks. These VPAs can understand the context of user input, fully sustain a conversation, respond to and manage unexpected inputs. The VPA can adapt its behavior to a specific user, can learn new tasks, and can manage non-routine tasks in addition to executing simple pre-formatted tasks.
A key word here is Delegation. Users can delegate tasks to these assistants. Task delegation will involve an conceptual elaboration of the work to be achieved and a conception of the adapted response.
Level 3 – Autonomous assistants: If level é can manage tasks, level 3 can take responsibility of whole operations. They exhibit more autonomy and interact with the user at the objective level rather than a task level. Level 3 assistants can autonomously take decisions, execute and optimize operations within predefined approval levels (without human input). It is expected that level 3 VPAs will manage other level 2 VPAs. They can manage simple businesses or specific processes, such as finance, human resources operations.