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What is an AI voice assistant?

LivePerson Team

December 08, 20227 minutes

illustration of an AI voice assistant

Ever had a fantasy of having your own butler when you were little? AI voice assistants are the modern equivalent. Also known as a virtual assistants or digital assistants, this software uses artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to understand and respond to your voice commands or text-based queries. These pint-sized pals have been created to provide information, perform tasks, and help you with a bunch of activities — and all you have to do is talk.

AI voice assistants are typically integrated into devices like smartphones, smart speakers, and other smart devices, letting you interact with them through voice commands or text input. If you’ve ever asked your phone to tell you the weather forecast or dictated a shopping list to a speaker, congratulations — you’ve already used an AI voice bot before!

We’re here to demystify some of the magic surrounding AI voice assistants, lifting the curtain to reveal how they work and how you can best utilize them.

First things first — how does an AI voice assistant work?

As much as the idea of having a tiny person sitting in a device and helping you with your daily tasks is appealing, AI voice bots are a little more complex. Text-to-voice AI works through a combination of technologies and processes that enables it to understand and respond to your queries. We’ll run you through the moving parts that come together to make AI voice assistants work.

Speech recognition

When you speak a command or ask a question, the voice assistant uses automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology to convert the spoken words into text. ASR algorithms analyze the audio input and transcribe it into a textual representation.

Natural language processing (NLP)

Once the voice input is converted into text, the voice assistant uses natural language processing algorithms to understand your intent and extract relevant information. NLP analyzes the sentence structure, grammar, and context to figure out what you mean and what you need.

Intent recognition

The voice assistant determines your intention by singling out the specific action or request implied in your query. This involves matching your input with predefined patterns or using machine learning models to classify and understand the intent behind your query.

Knowledge retrieval

Once the AI voice bot figures out what you want, it accesses a huge knowledge base to fetch relevant information or perform your requested tasks. This can involve accessing structured databases, web searches, APIs, or specific knowledge repositories to assemble the right tools to respond to your query.

Response generation

Based on your request and the information retrieved, the voice assistant generates a response. The response can come via spoken words, displayed text, or performing a specific action.

Machine learning and personalization

AI voice assistants use machine learning techniques to improve their performance and personalize responses over time. They learn from your interactions and feedback, adapting to your preferences and refining their understanding and capabilities.

Okay, so what are the benefits of an AI voice assistant?

The clue here is in the name — in life, we have assistants to make our day-to-day tasks easier. An AI voice assistant is essentially a virtual helper that enhances convenience, productivity, and accessibility. Let’s dive into some of the key advantages of text-to-voice AI:

Hands-free interaction

AI voice assistants enable hands-free interaction, so you can complete tasks and access information without physically interacting with a device. This is especially convenient while driving, cooking, exercising, or when hands are occupied.

Natural language understanding

Voice assistants use natural language understanding and processing to understand your spoken commands in a more human-like way. There’s no need for formalities — you can chat to your voice AI assistant in a more conversational and intuitive manner, which makes it easier and more comfortable to interact with the technology. The evolution of conversational AI is taking a lot of the fear and confusion out of using an AI chatbot, as there’s no special skill or tone needed to operate the tech.

Personalized assistance

Like a little sponge, AI voice assistants absorb the information and vibes you feed them. They can learn from you and personalize responses based on your preferences, behavior, and past interactions. Once they get to know you, they can give you tailored recommendations, reminders, and suggestions that align with your needs and interests.

Task automation

Ever wish you could put your brain on autopilot? Voice assistants have got you covered by automating crucial tasks and simplifying everyday activities. They can set reminders, schedule appointments, send messages, make phone calls, order items online, and control smart home devices with voice commands. That means more time and brain power left over for more interesting stuff. 

Information retrieval

AI voice assistants have access to mind-boggling amounts of information. They use this all-seeing wisdom to answer your burning questions, provide real-time weather updates, offer news briefings, and perform web searches — all so you don’t need to do it manually.

Accessibility and inclusivity

For folks with disabilities or those who have trouble mastering traditional interfaces, voicebot AI technology can be a game-changer. It offers an alternative interaction method, allowing users with limited mobility or visual impairments to use devices more easily.

The best uses of these AI assistants

Okay, so they can’t do your laundry or make your meals (yet) — but AI voice bots have loads of practical applications that will help you streamline your life. We touched on some of the myriad benefits of AI voice bots earlier, so here are just a handful of real-world examples of how you can make them work for you.

Information retrieval

Voice assistants excel at providing quick and accurate information. Users can ask questions, inquire about the weather, sports scores, news updates, general knowledge, or even get real-time translations.

Your own digital PA

We’re in an age of serious attention and time deficit. AI voice assistants can take the sting out of pesky logistical tasks and essentially help you keep your day on track — from scheduling your tasks to reminding you to, you know, actually complete them

A human touch for business

Okay, hear us out — we know it’s a bot, but it’s a bot with soul. If you have access to voice bot technology built and trained well, you can eliminate some of the biggest pain points of digital customer service. Customers can connect with a bot that actually understands what they need and can direct enquiries accordingly.

Everything in its place

It’s all well and good having a “smart” home, but when all of your devices rely on different interfaces to operate — is that really smart? An AI voice assistant can integrate with all your home’s essential functions like lights, thermostats, security systems, and other connected devices, so all it takes to make them work in harmony is your magic words.

Living large

Building on the previous point, voice assistants are like little wizards when it comes to entertainment and media. They can play music, podcasts, audiobooks, and radio stations on demand, not to mention provide tailored recs once they get to know your taste.

Are we there yet?

No need to risk your safety glancing at your phone pegged to the dash showing a live map. Voice assistants are your own personal co-pilot, providing directions, estimated travel times, and real-time traffic updates. They can also help with travel planning, finding nearby restaurants, booking flights, and other useful insights about whichever area you’re in.


If you’re looking to level up your intelligence, an AI-powered voice assistant can help. This tech is fantastic for learning and education on account of its unfettered access to knowledge databases, but it can also act as a tutor for you — no more bugging friends to quiz you on your Spanish.

Accessibility for all

As previously mentioned, AI voice assistants can enhance the quality of life for people living with disabilities or impairments. Things like reading out text, setting alarms, or providing voice-guided instructions can all be accessed hands-free in an instant.

The future is already here

AI voice assistants have revolutionized the way we interact with technology and become valuable companions in our daily lives. With their natural language understanding, hands-free convenience, and personalized assistance, these intelligent virtual helpers provide us with the help we need to live our best lives — and they just keep getting better. With their growing versatility, AI voice bots are poised step into an increasingly prominent role in shaping our future. We can look forward to a world where human-machine interaction is more intuitive, efficient, and personalized than ever before.

Ready to get started?

Dip your toes into the user-friendly world of virtual assistants by exploring LivePerson’s Voice AI, trying out our Bella AI assistant, and digging deeper into Conversational AI opportunities.