Demystifying Mysterious Things

Personal Assistants

Intelligent personal assistants which have their own hardware are sometimes referred to as smart speakers. These devices allow users to engage in two-way conversations with the device. Voice activated home automation and available "skills" allow users to quickly get hands-free answers. Device manufacturers employ software engineers and creative individuals to add canned responses, giving personal assistants personalities.

Wake Word

A personal agent "wake word" is the trigger word or phrase that is used to tell the device to start listening because what you say next is directed at the device.

Natural Language Processing (NLP)

NLP is the technique used by engineers to allow computers to derive meaning from human or natural language input.

Speech-unit Selection Technology

The personal assistant's lifelike voices are created using speech-unit selection technology from voice samples of an actual human.

Fun facts

Facts about personal assistants.


The year the Amazon Echo, the first standalone personal assistant, became widely available in the United States


The number of skills available for the Amazon Alexa


Cheapest stand-alone personal assistant on the market, the Amazon Echo.

Star Trek

The inspiration for the Amazon Alexa wake word was from the Star Trek library of Alexander, the keeper of "all knowledge".

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity."

Albert Einstein

More Resources

Learn more

Ask me Anything

Here are some fun questions to ask your personal agent

Have Fun

  • What's the magic word?
  • Tell me a joke
  • Pick a random number between X and Y
  • Rock, Paper, Scissors
  • Sing me a song
  • Flip a coin
  • How many days until Christmas?
  • Who wrote A Robot Story?

Articles & Videos

Read up on personal agents

Do your homework

Get yours

There are a number of different intelligent personal assistants available today.


  • Apple's Siri
  • Google's Google Home
  • Amazon Alexa
  • Microsoft's Cortana
  • Samsung's S Voice
  • IBM's Watson
  • Facebook's M
  • Lucida, Braina - Open Source