How do intelligent software agents work? The rise of AI assistants

More businesses are creating AI assistants to benefit their company and their customers. Discover how intelligent software agents work.

Written by Stephanie Barnes
Tech news |   3 minute read

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote a blog about the amazing examples of artificial intelligence being used today. And we discovered lots of different types of AI. Google's RankBrain is an Al algorithm designed to help find the best search queries. Hospitals are even using AI software to assist doctors when diagnosing patients. The fastest rise in AI we found was the rise in intelligent software agents. From Siri to Cortana, more businesses are creating artificially intelligent agents to benefit their customers. The big question we have is: how do they work?

AI assistants

As there are many different types of AI assistants out there, we'll focus on the main basics to help you understand the fundamentals of intelligent agents.  

What is an intelligent software agent?

A software agent is basically a computer programme which is designed to do something for the user.

In the case of mobile AI agents, like Apple's Siri, they can search the web for you and answer questions.

Software agents we see today are even more intelligent than that. They can do more than just act on command. They are smart enough to understand variations in commands, they can communicate on a social level and they can learn


Machine Learning

Machine learning describes the process of how computers (aka. machines) are able to learn from their experiences and make decisions from information they have gathered.

Google's RankBrain is supposedly able to learn from patterns so it can find the best results for a search query. 

In recent years, machine learning has been a focus for many businesses. 

Some intelligent software agents are able to learn and adapt with Machine Learning. 

Microsoft's Cortana, Apple's Siri, Google's Google Now, Braina, Amazon Echo (and more) are designed to learn and act without supervision.

The big question - how do artificially intelligent software assistants work? 

The examples of AI assistants mentioned above, are examples of voice recognition software. 

They specialise in helping with location and organising requests. 

  • Location: your AI assistant can help you find a restaurant or find out what the weather will be like.
  • Organisation: your assistant can schedule events into a calendar. They can learn from your patterns and help improve your daily living. 

What happens when you ask your assistant a request?

When you make a voice request, the assistant processes and converts it into text. 

The request is then sent wirelessly to a server which understands the question and finds the best solution. The server will also take into consideration, your GPS location and your speech.

ai process

By looking at your location, it can find the most relevant answers. And by examining your speech, the way you structured your request, it can form the best verbal response to your question. 

Basically, these verbal recognition AI assistants are able to interpret your question and give the most natural response. So, it feels like you're talking to a real person rather than a machine. 

Usually your assistant will ask you to repeat the question or give you options to choose from if your request was too ambiguous for it to understand. When they ask questions, it gives them a chance to learn and avoid any mistakes.

The future of AI assistants

Many SEOs and digital marketers have predicted 2016 will be the year of voice search. More people are using voice search technology to make queries and AI assistants are being regularly used to assist in daily lives. 

Whilst artificially intelligent assistants do have certain limitations at the moment, we can see how companies are working to expand the intellect of machines. 

Google's DeepMind is a company that has designed AI programmes to play video games. One AI programme called AlphaGo has been designed to play the strategy game Go (it's similar to chess but has far more strategical possibilities). DeepMind hit the headlines in March, when their AI defeated the legendary Go player Lee Se-dol. 

AI growth and development is a keen goal for businesses and we're likely to see more exciting examples to appear, especially in the form of consumer tech. 

Smart ways of working

AI software assistants have pre-programmed commands but as they work with you, they learn to understand your needs better. Making them the perfect assistants.

Their intelligence is a wow factor but it's clear intelligent software agents are the future and they are valuable tools for daily life.

Today's buyers are more empowered. Thanks to instant internet access and mobile technology, customers can easily do more research before they decide to make a purchase. 

Artificial agents can help buyers move along the buyer's journey just like inbound marketing. 

Inbound marketing is designed to nurture your leads and transform them into customers. 

Discover smart marketing

Learn more about the inbound methodology and how it can benefit your business with our FREE eBook:

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