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multi media news distribution reveals massive list of 130 different industry synonyms for ‘chat bot’ - Virtual assistants & virtual, the leading business and research community in humanlike conversational artificial intelligence, hopes to increase understanding of the field and provoke discussion with its identification of 130 different terms to address the very same interface.

A chat bot is an animated character with artificial intelligence (AI), appearing on websites, in games or in smart phone apps, and which often looks like a virtual human. These avatars are able to hold conversations, either text based or spoken, with human partners.

Although the virtual assistant industry is expected to grow fast, the terminology used is quite inconsistent and often confusing. has identified 130 synonyms, some of which have slightly different implications. The most popular terms are: - Virtual assistants & virtual agentsVirtual human: A 3D animated human being with conversation skills. Although generic, the drawback of ‘virtual human’ is that it still cannot be used for all AI characters. A zoo for example, might want to employ an intelligent virtual ape to act as a host on the website or on site to inform and engage visitors. Furthermore, virtual human is also often used for 3D models of the body: organs, bones and nerves, instead of the social skills of the human being.

Avatars: Although traditionally used for the visual part of animated 3D characters, ‘avatars’ is now also being used to address their behavior, intelligence and language skills. It is being used by corporate buyers of virtual assistants for call centers especially, even more so in the US market. Being a homonym, i.e. a term with multiple meanings, the movie ‘Avatar‘, as well as the deep religious meaning of the term makes the usage controversial.

Conversational agent: Despite being used often in the academic field and being well defined within the community, ‘conversational agent’ is rarely used by businesses and amateurs. This term deserves more attention by businesses.

Chatbot: The oldest term, a contraction of chat and robot; an automated chat system. The term ‘chatbot’ is slightly more informal than conversational agent and is therefore widely adopted by many AI developers, businesses and academics around the world. A chatbot is sometimes referred to as ‘chatterbot’. Due to its informal implications, however, it is also explicitly avoided by a few companies for serious web self-service applications.

Virtual agent: Although widely used by businesses for automated chat services in their customer service pages, ‘virtual agent’ is also used by academics for embodied agents explicitly lacking conversational skills. Neither community respects the meaning of the other, so a compromise between businesses and researchers is not very likely.

Virtual assistant: Although used for deployment of virtual humans in customer service web pages or companies, ‘virtual assistant’ is used far more often to describe someone assisting another person over a distance, such as a personal assistant working from home. Nevertheless, the popularity of using ‘virtual assistant’ as a chatbot synonym is growing., advancing humanlike conversational AI worldwide, intends to initiate the discussion between industry leaders and key research institutions to reduce this amazingly long list of 130 synonyms and help move the exciting chatbot field forward.

Find out more about these and other synonyms used by researchers and the industry at:

About is the leading community on humanlike conversation artificial intelligence, such as a chat bot, virtual assistants, virtual humans, and avatars. With more than 9,000 members, academics, businesses and individuals, it helps to advance the industry for all involved with virtual humans.

Join the community today by registering at:

For media contact, please contact:
Erwin Van Lun, CEO and founder,
Amsterdam, The Netherlands Tel: +316 21 567 657
Sydney, Australia Tel: +61 28007 4744
Blackthorn House
Northminster Business Park
York, YO26 6QW
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