Meet the next generation of virtual assistant
Philip Ellison 10 May, 2016 at 02:05
Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer, the creators of the AI which powers Apple’s Siri, have just unveiled their latest virtual assistant, Viv. Unlike Siri, which has been known to frustrate users by resorting to generic web searches for numerous requests, Viv is able to respond to more complex queries. It operates more like a Messenger bot or Amazon’s Alexa in this regard, connecting users with third party merchants and offering the seamless ability to make reservations and complete purchases.
Kittlaus debuted Viv at Disrupt NYC this week, demonstrating its capability to understand the language and context in a series of complicated requests. For instance, when asked “Will it be warmer than 70 degrees near the Golden Gate Bridge after 5pm the day after tomorrow?”, Viv answered in seconds. Kittlaus also proceeded to book a hotel room and order flowers in real time, using nothing but verbal commands.
Something else which sets Viv apart from Siri is that it has been designed to be truly a device-agnostic open platform, compatible to run across a variety of connected appliances as well as smartphones.
“Viv’s 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,” says Adam Koopersmith of Pritzker Group Venture Capital, an investor in Viv.
Viv is constantly learning, and able to create brand new programmes to deal with curveball queries. “That would hypothetically allow developers to build out a robust conversational UI for their services simply by speaking to Viv and tweaking the code she generates in return,” writes The Verge’s Ben Popper.
“Our sense is there will be a move away from having hundreds of different apps that act independently,” says Koopersmith. “These services will be integrated into everyday life. Viv will be the platform to enable it.”