Virtual assistants are becoming uncannily human, but can they be our friends?
Aug 21 • 3 min read
Your phone buzzes and you see a pop-up notification on your screen informing, “Zara, you will reach your destination in 20 minutes. Keep your coat handy as the weather outside is chilly.”
This is a message from Genie, a virtual travel buddy who also happens to be an artificially intelligent voice-activated travel assistant making travel effortless by getting to know your travel preferences through the application OGenie.
Over the course of the voice conversations, Genie would ask you about your seat preference, your travel time preference, the airline you prefer and so on. When you tell it your choices, Genie comes up with the best travel options for you and if you happen to be a frequent flyer, it manages your flight booking automatically, just asking you that Genie is going ahead with the booking.
The virtual travel buddy is the first of the multiple virtual buddies that you can talk to or chat with created using conversational AI. It's kind of two-way conversation you have with an assistant who knows your preferences and means well.
Technology is a bit of a double-edged sword.
While it is the technology that helps people connect with other people, at the same time, it is said that technology cannot replace face-to-face human contact. But in these changing low-touch times it again is the technology that is helping, meaning that people can avoid face-to-face contact and still get things done efficiently.
Bots are being developed across industries across every possible sector to help, prevent and even discourage people from interacting face-to-face with each other, such as customer care, workplace, shared public spaces, ticket booking and so on.
The GenieTalk bot answers users general questions and based on their reply, is able to respond with an appropriate follow-up question. To pull this off, GenieTalk AI records and organizes a user's different talking points chronologically and thematically in a memory graph and connects the dots.
Rather than expecting AI bots to be our best friends, we suggest thinking of them like your associate, who can get things done, effortlessly.