Knowledge Assistants vs Virtual Assistants

February 20, 2022

Chatbots took the tech landscape by storm a few years back quickly making its way up the hype curve and then nose-diving. Chatbots eventually rebranded themselves as Virtual Assistants and found their comfort in routing questions to live agents, scheduling calendars, robotically answering few highly anticipated questions, collecting emails, and taking users through guided conversations paths via button clicks.

However, the need for a true conversational assistant that can contextually respond to questions and solve user problems exists.

Knowledge Assistants are the next-generation AI-based self-learning information systems that fulfill the promise that chatbots were designed for.

Below are some key differences between Knowledge Assistants and Virtual Assistants.

1. Knowledge Assistants create knowledge whereas Virtual Assistants retrieve knowledge

A knowledge assistant creates knowledge from reading through content, conversations, and context variables. It creates Q&A pairs automatically and extracts answers from deep within documents.

A virtual assistant must be explicitly fed with FAQ content and needs to be manually trained with natural language samples. With this approach, Virtual Assistants can only retrieve answers to a few questions that it has been trained for. It cannot handle unanticipated questions.

2. Knowledge Assistants dynamically create conversation flows while Virtual Assistants rely on scripted conversation flows

Knowledge assistants can generate conversation flows using document structure and user behavior without any manual intervention.

Most Virtual Assistants’ interactions are guided via button clicks that take users through a pre-determined user journey following a decision tree that is manually scripted.

3. Knowledge Assistants build context and adapts interactions when Virtual Assistants sport little to no context

Knowledge assistants build context by asking qualifying questions that are extracted automatically from document tags and by retaining memory of query history.

Virtual assistants are mostly stateless and hence robotic. Advanced versions provide rudimentary context support via slot filling e.g., if the user says “switch the light off”, the bot asks which light?


If you are disappointed with Virtual Assistants and the results they could not achieve for you, consider Knowledge Assistants for instant user support with minimal training time and effort.