AI Assistant Vs. Chatbot: What Is The Difference?

It’s a tech world, people, nothing you see should surprise you anymore. Human beings have made some splendid progress with the whole robotics thing, and soon enough, we will need no friends. We will all have a personal assistant who will never disagree with you. You want to have pizza for dinner, then pizza it is. 

Looking at the AI applications and their evolution at an astounding pace, we must confess how incredible it has been. Our lives are not the same anymore. We are living in the world of Alexas and Siri's and let’s face it, we like it. 

Tech companies are working round the clock to build AI applications to help companies augment business productivity, innovate, discover new opportunities, and generate more revenue. So it’s literally a race, jump in. 

With the fast pace of AI technology, organizations are trying harder to leverage conversational interfaces, such as virtual assistants and chatbots, to automate the processes that don’t need human effort. The benefits of this are twofold. First, the machine will work seamlessly, faster, and with less room for error. And second, the human mind can be put to use for better and more challenging work. 

In fact, companies need to keep up with appropriate developments for web-deployed bots. One thing is for sure that conversational chatbot solutions have never been more popular than they are today. As per Google Trends, chatbot AI solution has had a ten-fold increase in interest over the last five years. 

What is a Chatbot? 

Generally used as information acquisition interfaces, Chatbots are automated programs used as a medium to interact with humans through text or audio. In terms of customer service, chatbots are crucial and can be used to communicate with customers to clarify basic things like queries regarding a product. 

As per a report by IBM, a chatbot is fully capable of answering 80% of routine customer queries. And the best part is that chatbots are available 24//7 facilitating the company to have a loyal customer base. At the same time, they can improve their response time, drive new sales, and reduce customer service overhead. The only limitation with a chatbot is the fact that they can be pre-trained for only specific situations. 

So it is safe to say that chatbots are generic, stand-alone conversational agents that provide fundamental yet cross-application conversational support to the customers. Almost every other messaging app these days has a chatbot, and they have proven to be beneficial virtual agents.

What is a Virtual Assistant? 

As the name suggests, virtual assistants can actually assist in conducting business. They can schedule appointments, book meetings, set reminders, manage to-do lists, and basically do things smartly compared to a chatbot. 

The capabilities of a virtual assistant are much expanded in comparison to a bot. Like your Siri can make ‘knock knock’ jokes, and Alexa can sense your mood and play songs for you. A virtual assistant is a software-based personal assistant that can provide an advanced level of communication. This just makes them a lot more human-like with a little higher efficiency and accuracy. It does not mean that there is no room for error, though. At the end of the day, it’s a machine. 

The difference between a Chatbot and a Virtual Assistant

Frankly speaking, chatbots are your go-to for routine queries and FAQs. But virtual assistants are capable of providing much more advanced conversational results. Here’s how they are both different from each other:


Chatbots work on pre-described and pre-recorded algorithms to respond to a general customer query on a routine basis. The tasks based on simple rules are for chatbots. 

Virtual assistants are capable of performing much more complex taste. Their interaction with a human is much more extensive and can perform a range of tasks one after the other. In fact, as and how you keep using a virtual assistant, it gets easier to assign tasks to them like share stock market updates, play music, call someone, and whatnot. 

Natural Language Processing

Chatbots are not built with high language processing skills. They are not programmed to respond when there is a change in the language. There are only specific responses that are pre-recorded in a chatbot, and that’s about it. If there is a change in the language from the customer, the chatbot will not be able to respond appropriately.

Virtual assistants are majorly focused on Natural Language Processing and Natural Language Understanding. This means that they are created to understand multiple languages and even slangs used in everyday life by humans. This makes them capable of conversation on much natural and human-like level. 


In many situations, chatbots fail to maintain the conversation flow with a customer. If there are multiple queries from one person, chatbots fail to keep up with the course of the conversation. In fact, since chatbots are not built-in with NLP, they fail to acknowledge the intent of customer’s queries as there is a lack of advanced dialogue management engine.

Virtual assistants, on the other hand, are deployed with dynamic dialogue. They are created to catch the flow of the conversation, almost like a human. They are capable of understanding a customer’s intent, regardless of the order in which data is given throughout the discussion.

To conclude, let’s put it simply: chatbots lack the ‘understanding’ of human emotions. Whereas virtual assistants are literally built to be as human as possible. There will come a time when your Siri will be able to suggest sad songs after a breakup and bring up all kinds of romantic songs to your attention when you are seeing someone new. That’s what the tech industry is going for. They are creating your machines to be your friends. 

The critical thing to note is both virtual assistants and chatbots are extremely helpful in revolutionizing businesses. The idea is to critically assess what your business needs and then implement it.

Leave a comment