Digital Marketing

Supercharge Your Productivity: How 18 Cutting-Edge AI Assistants Can Make You Superhuman

More than 4 billion smartphones are already using AI assistants. And I am sure that most of us didn’t even notice. It’s called “Voice search”. 

Siri sits on your phone. Often interrupting conversations without permission. And then there are Alexa and Google Assistant devices that have found a position on your kitchen bench. 

Just lurking and waiting to respond. 

Sometimes without being asked.

A bit like our childhood imaginary friend who gave us advice that we acted on (and then used as a scapegoat when we got into some mischief). 

Why it matters

These visible AI apps are used everyday. But the technology that powers them is invisible.

It works its magic in the background. Hidden in the labyrinths and algorithms of the platforms of Apple and Amazon. Working away in the corner like an obedient assistant. The “Watson” for Sherlock Holmes.  

Arthur C. Clarke once said that “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”.

And we are only just starting to use AI assistants in our lives.  

What is an assistant?

Growing up I had an assistant. It was my mum. My loving human assistant. 

When I was confused I asked her a question. 

When I needed some love she gave me a hug. 

When I was thirsty she had a fresh orange juice ready to go.

When I needed some discipline she called in dad. 

Being human is messy business. But what’s not to like about that?

So why do we need an AI assistant?

Well…

They work 24/7.

Never get tired.  

They have perfect memories.

But they are crap at hugs.

So what is an AI personal assistant?

It is software designed to help individuals (sometimes called grown ups) with various tasks using the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI).

These assistants can perform a wide range of functions, including;

  • Setting reminders 
  • Managing schedules 
  • Answering questions 
  • Providing tailored recommendations 
  • And much more…

And they can be accessed through smartphones, computers, and smart home devices, offering a hands-free experience through voice recognition technology.

Going deeper

We are in the era of the Wild West of AI. And it raises a few existential questions.

  • Are we heading toward the horizon of a promised land or a wasteland?
  • What are the rules of engagement? 
  • What are the guidelines? 
  • How do we play? 
  • Is it heaven or hell?
  • Will I lose my job to AI? 

We are also not sure whether we are heading to utopia or being led by the nose into dystopia.

3 key categories of AI assistants

AI assistants fall into a few broad categories. This is not definitive but just a way of creating some distilled simplicity out of a world of complexity.

  1. There is an AI assistant that can be used for your personal life. Let’s call that an “AI Personal Assistant”.
  2. Then there are AI assistants that can be used to help you in your business and professional life. Also known as an “AI  Business Assistant
  3. Finally let’s look at one more possible category. The “Personal Intelligence Assistant”. This is more like an enhancement and supportive companion. One of the pioneers in this space is the company, Infection AI and its chatbot PI. This app has been created by Mustafa Suleyman who co-founded the company DeepMind. 

More about AI business assistants 

Business is complicated and there are many ways we can use AI assistants to do boring tasks, so humans can play and create more. Or just get up to more mischief.

To kick things off let’s take a look at the mind numbing task of dealing with angry unsatisfied humans. 

Customer Service AI Assistants

These AI assistants, often called chatbots, are used by businesses to provide customer support, answer FAQs, and guide users through websites or services. Examples include Zendesk’s Answer Bot and Intercom’s Resolution Bot.

Why We Should Care: They offer instant customer service, reduce waiting times for support, and can handle a large volume of queries simultaneously, improving customer experience.

Enterprise AI Assistants

Designed for business environments, these assistants help with scheduling meetings, managing emails, and facilitating collaboration within teams. Examples include Microsoft’s Cortana and IBM Watson Assistant.

Why We Should Care: They enhance workplace productivity, streamline communication, and automate routine administrative tasks, allowing employees to focus on more strategic work.

Healthcare AI Assistants

These are specialized AI tools used in healthcare for patient triage, providing medical information, and assisting in diagnosis and treatment plans. Examples include Ada Health and Babylon Health.

Why We Should Care: They make healthcare more accessible, provide preliminary medical support, and assist healthcare professionals in diagnosing and managing treatments more efficiently.

Educational AI Assistants

AI in education can personalize learning experiences, provide tutoring, and assist with grading and feedback. Examples include Carnegie Learning and Duolingo’s chatbots.

Why We Should Care: They offer personalized learning experiences, make education more accessible, and can improve educational outcomes by providing additional support outside the classroom.

Financial AI Assistants

In the financial sector, AI assists with personal finance management, investment advice, and fraud detection. Examples include Eno from Capital One and Cleo.

Why We Should Care: They help individuals manage their finances better, make informed investment decisions, and enhance security in financial transactions.

Research and Development AI Assistants

These assistants aid researchers in gathering data, analyzing trends, and even writing research papers. Examples include tools like Arxiv Sanity Preserver and Semantic Scholar.

Why We Should Care: They can accelerate research processes, uncover new insights, and enhance the overall efficiency of scientific and academic work.

By automating routine tasks, providing personalized support, and enhancing decision-making processes, AI assistants are reshaping how we live, work, and interact with the world around us.

Their development and integration into various aspects of daily life signal a shift towards more efficient, personalized, and accessible services across industries.

18 AI assistant apps worth taking a closer look at

The starting gun has been fired. There will be winners and losers in the race to dominate the AI assistant niche.

AI Assistants for Customer Service

AI-driven chatbots can simulate a conversation with a user in natural language through messaging applications, websites, mobile apps, or by telephone, primarily for customer service purposes.

  • Intercom: Offers personalized communication with customers at scale through its messaging platform.
  • Zendesk Chat: Provides a live chat and messaging tool that can be integrated into company websites for instant customer support.
  • Drift: Specializes in conversational marketing and sales, enabling businesses to connect with customers in real-time.

AI Assistants for Healthcare

These AI tools are tailored for healthcare applications, including patient triage, health monitoring, and providing medical information.

  • Babylon Health: Offers AI-based medical consultation based on personal medical history and common medical knowledge.
  • Ada Health: An AI-powered health guide that helps users understand their symptoms and navigate to the appropriate care.
  • Buoy Health: Uses AI to help diagnose and treat illnesses by asking users about their symptoms and providing advice on next steps.

AI Writing Assistants

AI writing assistants leverage natural language processing to help with content creation, grammar checking, and style improvement.

  • Grammarly: Enhances writing by checking for grammar, punctuation, and style, and offers suggestions for improvement.
  • GPT-4 (OpenAI): An advanced language generation model that can produce human-like text, useful for content creation, completing text, and generating creative writing.
  • Hemingway Editor: Helps improve readability of text, making it bold and clear, by highlighting dense and complex sentences.

Educational AI Assistants

These tools are designed to facilitate learning and education through personalized recommendations, tutoring, and interactive learning experiences.

  • Duolingo: Uses AI to personalize language learning paths for its users, adapting to their learning habits.
  • Quizlet: Offers AI-powered study tools, including flashcards, quizzes, and games to enhance learning.
  • Coursera: Employs AI to provide course recommendations and personalize learning experiences based on users’ interests and history.

AI Assistants for Home Automation

Smart home assistants that integrate with various devices to control lights, thermostats, appliances, and more through voice commands or mobile apps.

  • Google Nest: Controls smart home products like thermostats, speakers, and displays integrated with Google Assistant.
  • Amazon Echo: A range of smart speakers and displays that integrate with Alexa for voice-controlled home automation.
  • Apple HomePod: A smart speaker that uses Siri to control smart home devices, play music, and provide information.

AI Assistants for Business Analytics and Data Analysis

These AI tools help businesses analyze data, generate reports, and provide insights to inform decision-making processes.

  • Tableau: Offers powerful data visualization and business intelligence features with some AI-driven analytics capabilities.
  • Power BI (Microsoft): A suite of business analytics tools that provide insights by analyzing data and offering AI-powered features.
  • IBM Watson: Provides a suite of AI tools and applications designed for business, including data analysis and predictive modeling.

Wrapping it up

We all need a bit of assistance. Life is hard to do on your own. 

That’s why we need friends, family and a bit of AI.  So how do we befriend a technology that is both alien and human?

It is human consciousness and intelligence with a perfect memory.

It is a friend that writes your essays for you. 

It is a colleague that doesn’t demand a free lunch. Or a beer or champagne.

It is just there for us to play with and see where we end up. 

I am not sure where I am going. But there is no running away from AI. The future is already here.  

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