Difference Between Chatbot and Virtual Assistant (With Table)

Chatbot and Virtual Assistant are two software programs of the modern era. However, there is certain ambiguity when it comes to the differences between the two. A chatbot is a program designed to perform some interactions. Virtual assistant, on the other hand, provides a wide array of services to their users.

Chatbot vs Virtual Assistant

The difference between a chatbot and a virtual assistant is that chatbots have a limited range of operations. On the other hand, virtual assistants can perform a wide range of tasks for their users. Chatbots have a conversational user interface. On the other hand, virtual assistants have a chat-like interface. Chatbots assist businesses; however, virtual assistants have a practical application for both business owners and general users. 

Chatbot refers to programs that are manufactured to have human-like conversations with people. Chatbots are unable to respond to a change in language usage. Moreover, they are unable to answer complex questions. Chatbots are employed in websites, messaging channels, support portals, in-app chat widgets, and mobile applications.

Virtual assistant refers to the online personal assistants that assist users in carrying out their daily activities. They have high interpretation skills. They can perform some complex tasks as well and are capable of having high-level human interactions. Virtual assistants mature with use. They can connect to laptops, mobile phones, smart speakers and interactive devices. 

Comparison Table Between Chatbot and Virtual Assistant

Parameters of ComparisonChatbotVirtual Assistant 
DefinitionChatbots are software programs manufactured with the purpose of having human-like conversations with people.Virtual assistants are the online personal assistants that assist users in carrying out their day to day activities. 
IntelligenceChatbots perform a limited range of functions. They are unable to carry out complex tasks. Virtual assistants perform a wide range of functions. They are capable of carrying out some complex tasks. 
Natural Language ProcessingChatbots are unable to comprehend any language other than the one embedded in their system. Virtual assistants possess the ability to understand both the meaning and language of the user. 
TechnologyThere are two common types of chatbot models: generative model and selective model. Virtual assistants make use of artificial neural networks to learn from the user’s daily activities. 
Practical ApplicationChatbots assist businesses and customers. Virtual assistants help their users to perform tasks such as schedule meetings, respond to emails, set reminders and so on. 

What is a Chatbot?

Chatbot refers to programs that are manufactured to have human-like conversations with people. They are test-based and reply only to a limited number of questions or statements. In addition, if the question asked is not embedded in the programming of the chatbot, it will not generate an answer. In most cases, they provide a faq type of interaction. 

A chatbot doesn’t have highly adept language acquisition skills. Chatbots are unable to respond to a change in language usage. Moreover, they are unable to answer complex questions. Due to their inability to perform complex tasks, chatbots have limited use. Chatbots assist businesses and customers. Moreover, they also serve as an experiential platform. 

There are two common types of chatbot models: generative model and selective model. The generative model possesses many layers. Each piece of information goes through all these layers. Then, the model generates a response. The selective model follows a specific sequence to elicit the best response. Moreover, chatbots use a conversational user interface. 

All in all, chatbots have only a limited practical application. They are employed in websites, messaging channels, support portals, in-app chat widgets, and mobile applications. Chatbots are, at most times, company oriented. They serve only those functions that are programmed in their systems. 

What is a Virtual Assistant?

Virtual assistant refers to the online personal assistants that assist users in carrying out their daily activities such as scheduling meetings, managing emails and so on. They are also known as intelligent personal assistants and intelligent virtual assistants. Common virtual assistants include Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana. 

Virtual assistants possess the ability to understand both the meaning and language of the user. They have fairly high interpretation skills. They can perform some complex tasks as well and are capable of having long human interactions. In addition, virtual assistants can handle conversations and understand slang language. 

Virtual assistants can perform a variety of tasks. They can help the user to find the best restaurant in their locality or a computer in his budget range. Virtual assistants can share jokes, give stock market information, make calls, and even play music. Virtual assistants make use of artificial neural networks to learn from the user’s daily activities. 

Virtual assistants mature with use. They can connect to laptops, mobile phones, smart speakers and interactive devices. They are responsive to voice commands and possess a chat-like interface. Apart from helping in office work or schoolwork,  they can also prove to be a source of entertainment. All in all, virtual assistants serve a varying range of interests. 

Main Differences Between Chatbot and Virtual Assistant 

  1. Chatbots are software programs manufactured to have human-like conversations with people. In contrast, virtual assistants are online personal assistants that assist users in carrying out their day to day activities. 
  2. Chatbots assist businesses and customers. On the other hand, virtual assistants help their users to perform tasks such as schedule meetings, respond to emails, set reminders and so on.
  3. Chatbots perform a limited range of functions. They are unable to carry out complex tasks. Virtual assistants, however, perform a wide range of functions. They are capable of carrying out some complex tasks. 
  4. Chatbots are unable to comprehend any language other than the one embedded in their system. In contrast, virtual assistants possess the ability to understand both the meaning and language of the user. 
  5. There are two common types of chatbot models: generative model and selective model. On the other hand, virtual assistants make use of artificial neural networks to learn from the user’s daily activities. 

Conclusion

Chatbots and virtual assistants differ in their intelligence, technology, user interface, practical applications, and task operation. A chatbot doesn’t have highly adept language acquisition skills. Chatbots are unable to respond to a change in language usage. In contrast, virtual assistants possess the ability to understand both the meaning and language of the user.

Chatbots are employed in websites, messaging channels, support portals, in-app chat widgets, and mobile applications. On the other hand, virtual assistants connect to laptops, mobile phones, smart speakers and interactive devices. Thus, chatbots and virtual assistants stand differentiated on several grounds. 

References

  1. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Menal-Dahiya/publication/321864990_A_Tool_of_Conversation_Chatbot/links/5a360b02aca27247eddea031/A-Tool-of-Conversation-Chatbot.pdf 
https://arxiv.org/abs/1803.00466
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