Siri creators reveal intelligent assistant Viv, and it’s unlike anything
Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer created the artificial intelligence behind Siri, Apple’s iconic digital assistant, and one of the first modern apps to capably handle natural language queries on a smartphone. Today the pair showed off their newest creation, Viv, a next generation AI assistant that they have been developing for the past four years. They claim it will be as important in the next decade as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth were for the last.
Viv isn’t associated with any one device or company, unlike Apple’s Siri, Facebook’s M, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Google Now. Kittlaus provided the first public demo of Viv at New York’s TechCrunch Disrupt event. During a 20-minute demo onstage at Disrupt NYC, Viv flawlessly handled a dozen complex requests, not just in terms of comprehension, but by connecting with third-party merchants to purchase goods and book reservations.
“We just did four transactions in about two minutes just by talking,” Dag said after booking a hotel room, ordering some flowers, and calling for an Uber
Viv’s approach is much closer to Amazon’s Alexa or Facebook’s Messenger bots, offering the ability to connect with third-party merchants and vendors so that it can execute on requests to purchase goods or book reservations. Viv Labs has partnered with 50 companies, including Uber, GrubHub and SeatGuru to bring initial services to the assistant.
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“Viv is designed to be devices agnostic — think one platform, open to all services, for all devices, personalized for you. Our goal is to be ubiquitous so it will understand your preferences and history as you engage with it on your mobile device, or in your car, or with your smart device at home,” said Adam Koopersmith, a partner with Pritzker Group Venture Capital, one of Viv’s investors. “Our sense is there will be a move away from having hundreds of different apps that act independently. These services will be integrated into everyday life. Viv will be the platform to enable it.”
It will be in competition with Microsoft’s bot engine and the APIs put out by Facebook to encourage developers to build bots for Messenger. Viv seemed different because it’s aimed at being a ubiquitous, ever-listening cross-platform type of conversational audio AI. But of course, Google Now runs across many platforms. So does Amazon’s Alexa, and Microsoft’s Cortana. Siri works across many types of Apple devices, too. Viv wants to be in all things: not just computers, but appliances and other gadgets. In an interview with TechCrunch’s Matthew Panzarino, Kittlaus said there are no plans to build hardware, but Viv’s talking to hardware makers to find ways to “breathe life” into Viv’s execution