This week, Cardiff University revealed that they have developed a Virtual Assistant that can communicate in a human-like way.

They have named the new device Sherlock (Simple Human Experiment Regarding Locally Observed Collective Data) and it is similar to smartphone assistants such as Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana.

It uses controlled natural language technology developed by IBM. As well as answering questions, it also asks them in an effort to build up its knowledge base. Such a system ensures that the software and the user “understand each other”, project leader Prof Alun Preece told the BBC. “You can ask Sherlock what it knows and it will tell you in natural language,” he added.

So what does this mean for IT?

Well, with the constant increased development of technology, something we’ve blogged about a lot, you have to wonder whether this kind of technology could take on a kind of IT support role. A Virtual Assistant who could help with your IT issues sounds like a great idea. Probably cheaper, instantly accessible and a lot more stylish.

But what happens when your virtual assistant crashes? In reality, a human IT support team is always going to give you a little bit more than technology can. With IT and tech, you’re always relying on it working and if it doesn’t then you’re in trouble. And the same goes for your virtual assistant. It can break. Not like your IT support team.

So whilst the new virtual assistant and the constant advances in technology are exciting within the world of IT, it only reinforces how useful your IT support team can be. Don’t leave your business in the hand of technology, however advanced.