Artificial Intelligence vs. Intelligent Assistance

“Artificial intelligence” and “intelligent assistance” are two sides of the same coin, separated only by the way humans engage with either technology. We’ll explain the differences between AI vs. IA, and how tools like generative AI benefit users in the business world.

Cognitive computing is able to provide companies with a competitive advantage via automation, forecasting, and prescriptive analysis. If you’ve explored cognitive computing capabilities, you might have found extensive similarities between artificial intelligence and intelligent assistance that prompted you to ask: what’s the difference?

Artificial Intelligence

When the topic relates to Artificial Intelligence (AI), one of the first thoughts that come to my mind is the Terminator. Imagine a machine that can learn, process, plan, and execute faster than humans; it can seem scary, right? To put things in perspective, the scope of the tasks expected of an AI machine is immense because the machine would have to consider:

  • Problems

  • Approaches

  • Tools

  • Identifying the relationships between the three above while administering them towards a goal

The definition of AI seems to be a moving target. Some machines are intelligent contextually, but cannot apply the same cognitive ability in other areas. Large Language Models (LLMs) have deep learning capabilities and can provide generative content.

AI vs IA

Intelligent Assistance

Intelligent Assistance (IA) refers to the use of intelligent agents that help individuals perform tasks or services. While intelligent agents may seem like any other software application that completes a group of coordinated functions, tasks, or activities, they can actually do one or many of the following:

  • Work autonomously

  • Meet goals
  • Maintain historical data

  • Perceive and assist

Artificial Intelligence vs. Intelligent Assistance

In simpler terms: AI machines mimic humans while IA machines assist humans. Due to the breadth of the research involving both technologies, it can be easy to confuse the two and sometimes the two intertwine. Artificial intelligence is the practice or study of intelligent agents and identifying the limits of their intelligence. Intelligent assistance is the use of intelligent agents to serve humans, meaning that such agents exist within predefined parameters. Their intelligence is measured by many factors, including but not limited to:

  • Problem solving

  • Learning

  • Language processing

Generative AI: Where AI and IA Meet

A recent example of intelligent assistance and artificial intelligence working together is with generative AI. Generative AI is a technology that uses LLMs and Deep NLP to help create content and assist users with problem solving and learning. More and more generative AI solutions are popping up each day, but here are just a few you may consider:


This tool by OpenAI essentially kicked AI into gear around the world with its release. From helping you find recipes, write summaries, tell jokes, and answer questions, ChatGPT can do it all and is constantly improving.

Microsoft Copilot

With it’s partnership OpenAI, Microsoft was able to ramp up their release of their own GenAI tool, Copilot. Copilot works similarly to ChatGPT, but can also be integrated into your Microsoft 365, Azure, and Power Platform set up.


If you’re looking to implement a generative AI in your organization, this might be the solution for you. With SmartbridgeGPT, you have the ability to create your own knowledge base and security to ensure your data isn’t being shared outside the organization. Contact us to learn more about this tailored solution.


In summary, as companies delve into cognitive computing, it’s essential to grasp the disparities between artificial intelligence and intelligent assistance. By discerning these differences and embracing innovative solutions like generative AI, businesses can harness technology to gain competitive edges and achieve meaningful outcomes in today’s ever-changing market landscape.

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