Siri Creators To Unveil New AI Personal Assistant, Viv, at Disrupt Conference
Six years after selling their artificial intelligence (AI) creation to Apple, the team behind Siri is getting ready to unveil Viv, an even smarter and more capable AI assistant. Viv is set to get its first public demonstration Monday at the Disrupt NY 2016 tech conference in New York City.
Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer, who in 2007 -- along with Tom Gruber -- co-founded the company that created Siri, now run a stealthy San Jose-based startup called Viv Labs. Yesterday, the Washington Post described Viv as "one of the most highly anticipated technologies expected to come out of a start-up this year."
In a recent preview demonstration, Viv was able to have a conversation with a group of eight company engineers and then order them four pizzas with all the toppings they requested without anyone having to pick up the phone or launch a Google search, the Washington Post reported.
More Than a Clever Chatbot
Viv is reportedly everything that Kittlaus and Cheyer had intended Siri to be: an open system that can access data from many other Web services and use that information to take action based on its conversation with a human user.
Siri had been developed with the same capabilities, but its interconnections with other Web services were ended after Apple acquired the technology, according to the Washington Post. "The original Siri wasn't supposed to be a clever AI chatbot," the article noted. "The goal was to reinvent mobile commerce itself."
Viv is that next-generation AI, according to its creators. Kittlaus is scheduled to introduce Viv midday Monday at the Disrupt conference. His presentation is titled, "Beyond Siri: Viv and AI as a platform." A spokesperson for the company confirmed Viv's scheduled appearance at Disrupt but did not provide any further details about the planned demonstration.
Bot Journey 'Will Take Time'
In a patent awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in March, Viv is described as a "dynamically evolving cognitive architecture system based on contributions from third-party developers." Viv "forms an intent based on a user input, which includes a natural language span which corresponds to an action object," and then executes that action, according to the patent.
The technologies used to interact with people for commerce and other purposes are steadily evolving, with bots offering some advantages over the many mobile apps that people use today, Forrester Research Inc. analyst Julie Ask told us.
"Bots will not replace most apps in the near future," said Ask. While apps are "unnatural experiences in some ways," they still provide an effective way for brands to engage deeply and frequently with customers, she said.
"Bots will be more convenient than apps for some tasks," Ask said. "But . . . bots have a long ways to go. They need AI. Bots are cool. Bots are interesting. Consumers will do more through text- and voice-based interactions, but this isn't a switch we're flipping today. These companies are on a journey. It will take time."
Image Credit: Siri close-up (pictured above) via Apple.