Definition

digital assistant

Part of the Personal computing glossary:

A digital assistant is an application program that can understand natural language and complete electronic tasks for the end user. 

Such tasks, which might have been performed by a personal assistant or secretary in previous decades, include taking dictation, sending messages, looking up phone numbers, placing calls and reminding the end user about appointments. A digital assistant is programmed with artificial intelligence and voice recognition technology. This allows the end user to talk conversationally with the digital assistant, especially if the AI programming includes personality and chit chat. 

As the end user interacts with his digital assistant, the programming gets access to more data. This can help the digital assistant become better at predicting the end users needs and seem smarter. Popular digital assistants currently include Apple's Siri, Google Now and Cortana, the digital assistant built into Windows Phone 8.1.

A digital assistant may also be called an intelligent assistant or a virtual assistant.  (Note: A virtual assistant may also be a human administrative assistant who works remotely.) 

 

This was last updated in April 2014
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • Slingshot

    - Slingshot is Facebook's photograph sharing smartphone application, developed to compete with services like Snapchat and Instagram. Slingshot is available for iOS and Android. The app is modeled on... (WhatIs.com)

  • mindfulness training

    - Mindfulness training is the teaching or learning of practices designed to help participants increase their ability to live fully in the present moment. The ability to be present and aware is a powe... (WhatIs.com)

  • BIOS (basic input/output system)

    - BIOS (basic input/output system) is the program a personal computer's microprocessor uses to get the computer system started after you turn it on. It also manages data flow between the computer's o... (WhatIs.com)

Glossaries

  • Personal computing

    - Terms related to personal computers, including definitions about computers sold as consumer products and words and phrases about laptops, tablets and smartphones.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question. Find an Answer.Powered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Ask An IT Question

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Ask Question

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.