How to build a virtual assistant

How to build a Virtual Assistant

When it comes to technology I can be a bit of a Luddite.

Our work as Virtual Assistants is dependent on technology, indeed we wouldn’t exist without it. I do however sometimes dream of days gone by when carrier pigeons and quill pens meant that the world, and everyone in it, worked at a much slower pace.

That said, I was shocked to read that Mark Zuckerberg has announced that ‘his personal challenge for 2016 is to build an assistant powered by artificial intelligence to help him at home and work’.

The Wall Street Journal entitles its article ‘Facebook CEO Aims to Build Virtual Assistant’ – I don’t know about you but I, and the rest of the Kaleidoscope Virtual Assistant team, are built of DNA, experience, emotions, grey matter, humour and lots and lots of love.  These are not things you can ‘build’.

I’m a Virtual Assistant, and Zuckerberg’s AI creation (let’s call him Frank) will be a virtual assistant – but we will have very little in common with one another.

Frank won’t get paid, he won’t cry, laugh or age… and his job will be to repeat the same task over and over again.

I am a Virtual Assistant too, but I have a heart, a soul and a brain – and my work involves much more than just repeating myself! (Although some days I do wonder…)

So what makes us ‘virtual’? That would be the fact that we work remotely, so our clients mostly experience us on the end of the phone or by email – or more often than not, simply in the fact that their invoices get done, their meetings organised and their diary managed.

There are other freelancers out there – HR experts, marketing consultants and finance directors who are also working in that way – but they aren’t necessarily seen as ‘virtual’.

I know that progress is inevitable, but I really believe that however advanced the technology may be you can never replace the personal touch when it comes to having a PA.

Perhaps I just need to find a new job title?

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