Virtual assistant or a chatbot is a computer program that conducts a dialogue between a person and a computer, by executing human orders and performing data acquisition and display. The introduction of such a technological solution in the public administration authorities helps to serve the website visitors more effectively, as the virtual assistant responds more promptly than a person, and conversations with many customers can take place simultaneously. The website visitors can receive an immediate answer, and there is no need to wait long for an e-mail answer, spend time on phone until the customer serving specialist stops talking to another customer, or to queue at the enquiries specialist.
The knowledge of the virtual assistant is built on the most frequently asked questions by the institution’s website visitors and answers. Zintis, however, also has central knowledge, e.g. the user often does not know where to search for information, so the user poses questions that are inappropriate to the institution, for instance, about remote work. Zintis is able to answer questions, which often pertain to the competence of several institutions. Not everything but this kind of knowledge is gradually being learned. Every visitor of the homepage helps chatbot Zintis learn, because only consistent use of the virtual assistant contributes to the diversity of answers.
The introduction of the single virtual assistant is part of the project “Unified Web Platform for Government and Local Government Entities” implemented by the State Chancellery. It was created based on the language technology platform Hugo.lv, which is under the supervision of the Culture Information Systems Centre (CISC). Zintis is currently on the homepages of 51 authorities and will also be available on the websites of the other authorities.