Artificial intelligence (AI) is part of daily life for anyone who consults Siri, Google Now, or Cortana on a regular basis. These AI assistants are smart, but generalists by design. That made me curious: Are there any AI-powered assistants that are geared for business use? What is the equivalent of Siri for business?

I recently investigated this question on assignment for MIT Technology Review. Turns out, there are quite a few AI assistants that target business users and businesses that sell to business users. Ultimately, I identified six startups (Clara Labs, DigitalGenius, Howdy, Kasisto, Meekan, that are using machine learning, neural networks, and natural language processing to help business users do everything from scheduling meetings to paying their bills by voice. I asked each of the startups what type of AI they use and how they apply it and wrote this story.

This article is the first one I’ve done for TR, which is my new(ish) employer. The story is part of TR’s Business Report section, which documents how new technologies are affecting industry and changing how people work. (My job involves writing and editing these reports.)

Each Business Report has a theme; this report focused on AI. There are 13 stories total and you can download a PDF of the entire report here, for free.

I’m currently working on stories for the next Business Report. TR is released bimonthly, so I’ll be able to post about those stories in approximately two months.