Meet Viv – the virtual assistant of the future

Viv was introduced at TechCrunch yesterday and pulled off some amazing AI stunts. The new virtual assistant aims to harness all of the info locked up in your third party applications.

Be honest, do you really use your virtual assistant (Siri, Google Now, Cortana etc.) day in and day out? One could argue that these assistants do provide some value here and there but overall they remain a bit basic. The biggest reason for that is that virtual assistants, especially Siri, doesn’t play well with third party applications – where your whole life happens, right?
Read: Siri creators to reveal “œViv“ to the world next week
The virtual assistant world is about to change however, with the developers of “Viv” introducing the AI at TechCrunch Disrupt in New York City yesterday. Siri co-founder and CEO Dag Kittlaus said – “We’re going to use this technology to breathe life into the inanimate objects and devices of our life through conversation.” Viv, which means “life” in Latin, will supposedly offer an experience akin to the AI in the film Her. When Kittlaus asked, “Will it be warmer than 70 degrees near the Golden Gate Bridge, after 5 p.m., the day after tomorrow?” Viv quickly retrieved the correct hourly forecast from the Weather Underground app. (And the answer is no, it won’t be that warm.)
The same question was posed to Siri on the iPhone 6S and it only produced the weekly forecast for San Francisco for the rest of the week (not even hourly). Viv doesn’t yet have a virtual voice, which is one of Siri’s iconic features, but Kittlaus says his team is working on one. But even without a vocal response, Viv’s ability to retrieve a very specific bit of data was impressive. The tech relies on Nuance’s technology for speech recognition, which also underpins Siri and other dictation solutions. What makes it different though is combination of natural language technology (to determine your intent), and something called “dynamic program generation.” Kittlaus calls that a patent-pending “computer-science breakthrough,” and basically, it describes Viv’s ability to create its own programming.
Some more examples given at the demo included:

  • When he asked to send “20 bucks to Adam for drinks last night,” Venmo popped up with a transaction ready to his friend Adam, with the comments filled out.
  • When he asked to send his mom flowers for her birthday, up popped Proflowers with a list of arrangements right within Viv’s app. He even managed to filter the results by asking “What about tulips?” and complete the transaction with the touch of a button.
  • Booked an Uber ride for six people from his office to Madison Square Garden, as well as book him a hotel room in Palm Springs for a Day weekend.

Viv is positioned as a virtual assistant that will hold the reins of most, if not all of your third party applications to form a mega-brain on your smartphone. Connect that to the internet and the possibilities are endless. With the right vision and application across all smartphone platforms, Viv might just change your world and have your secretary out of a job! We will wait and see what the future has in store.
Source: Engadget
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