How the Gap between Chatbots and Virtual Assistants Is Narrowing

The gradual omnipresence of artificial intelligence in our everyday life begs the explanation of its two most popular varieties – a virtual assistant and a virtual chatbot. And, with the ever-increasing number of new virtual assistant Facebook Messenger and virtual chatbot options, we should shed light on their differences, as well as explain how the gap between them is quickly narrowing.

What exactly is the difference?

This is the part people struggle wrapping their head around – the difference between a virtual chatbot and a virtual assistant. Many think it’s mere semantics, while others, although acknowledging the differences go deeper than the name, don’t really know what they are.

As you may have guessed, it’s not just the name. The differences are far more substantial, nested in the coding, scope of functionality, type of interaction with the user, and the overall look and feel. However, although people also claim virtual assistants are superior to chatbots, that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

So, in order to properly illustrate just how small the gap between the “superior” virtual assistant and an “inferior” chatbot has become, and will continue to narrow, we will deal with the three most common myths surrounding the “inferiority” of the virtual chatbot. Perhaps we will even manage to convince you that chatbots are the best thing for you.


We begin with the most common misconception about virtual chatbots – they are only tools used for selling products and spam marketing, focused on performing drudgery work no self-respecting human employee or virtual assistant would perform.

Well, that was never the case. And although it may have been a tad true in the beginning of the virtual chatbot life, it would simply be considered ignorant to claim it now.

First of all, modern popular chatbots are outfitted with advanced and complex processing of natural language, meaning they can understand both the words themselves, but also the meaning behind them. While this type of advanced programming has been reserved for virtual assistants in the past, it certainly is not anymore.

What’s more, chatbots now have the ability to constantly improve themselves through machine learning. This means that they do possess the level of artificial intelligence necessary for self-sustained growth. Couple that with natural language processing, and you get one nifty little know-it-all.

Range of function

Again, maybe true in the past, not so true anymore. In complete honesty, yes, in the beginning, a virtual chatbot was sentenced to perform menial tasks, such as answering inquiries about the weather, being a virtual password changer, and other simple things.

And yes, virtual assistants could do a bit more in the beginning than a virtual chatbot could. However, taking into account the long strides with which chatbot technology is advancing, the fact that a virtual assistant can perform more tasks than a virtual chatbot is no longer true.

And that is all thanks to machine learning and NLP. By understanding the language, not just the words, there is no longer the need for a chatbot to concentrate on only the simplest of tasks.

By employing the decision tree technology, the functionality of an everyday virtual chatbot has become so greatly increased that is has never been closer to the A.I. of SF operas. And, mind the fact that chatbots are only going to decrease that wrongly cited gap in functionality further, with each passing day.

Context remembering

This is where the virtual chatbot has always been superior to virtual assistants of various shapes and sizes. The little-discussed fact is this – virtual assistants still have difficulties distinguishing and remembering key information provided during a conversation.

On the other hand, virtual chatbots have never faced this type of problem. From the very beginning, chatbots were able to adequately store the information you would input, saving them for further use if requested.

We feel it is important to reveal just how far chatbots have come, from their, in a way, humble beginnings. Not only are they no longer inferior to virtual assistants, but they are also superior in some aspects. Bearing this in mind, the important thing is for the end user to select the proper virtual tool for his or her needs.

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