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Research Report: Personal Virtual Assistants: Primer and Planning Guide

We used to laugh at the idea of “the talking toaster” when thinking about the gratuitous addition of a speech-based interface to household appliances, consumer electronics, self-service kiosks or even ATMs. Now the machines laugh at us, as improvements in natural language understanding, artificial intelligence and text-to-speech rendering make phones, tablets, computers and (yes) household appliances more conversational, human-like and responsive to spoken input.