AVA – updated version – the future of virtual assistants isn’t necessarily creepy.

The old AVA assistant

Autodesk has had a Virtual Assistant for some time. AVA (Autodesk Virtual Assistant) has been assisting people to locate software, create cases and other easily automated tasks for some time. As with all machine-learning such as Siri and the like, as the number of interactions with people increases, so does the sophistication of the responses from the software.

Now AVA is going to get updated in every way. For the sake of simplicity, let’s call her AVA V2.


AVA V2 is obviously  virtual (the name is a bit of a giveaway) and due to it being obvious, it gets around a lot of issues of “creepiness” that people might have felt with Google Duplex or other ultra-real technologies that have emerged recently. AVA V2 was created by Soul Machine for Autodesk – a company that was set up by an ex-Hollywood CGI expert. Given the uptake of these types of technologies, it is something that will become commonplace in the near future and we will become more and more used to dealing with these virtual technologies.

AVA V2 is a great but not 100% convincing simulation of a real person and she has a wide range of voice and movements that make her behave in very human ways.  In the long term, after the dust has settled on the debates about these technologies, what we all want as end-users is an efficient, reliable service. To this end, research by Autodesk reveals that people using AVA and similar activities achieve their end goal in a much shorter length of time than through call centres, online forums and other traditional “help” technologies. Gregg Spratto, Autodesk’s VP of operations has confirmed that the average turnaround of an AVA help request is a staggering 99% faster in the time taken for users to achieve their end goal so whilst this is an interesting technology, it achieves its end goal admirably.