The folks behind the well-known Apple assistant Siri Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer take the wraps off Viv, the next AI that’s designed to “outsmart” the voice of iPhone, Amazon Alexa, Cortana and Google Now.
At the TechCrunch Disrupt conference held in New York, Kittlaus showed off the capabilities of the virtual assistant during an onstage demonstration.
As expected, it handled simple requests about the weather flawlessly with the help of Weather Underground, and then it wowed the audience when it answered the sophisticated query “Will it be warmer than 70 degrees near the Golden Gate Bridge after 5 p.m. the day after tomorrow?” It replied, “No, it won’t be that warm Wednesday after 5 p.m.”
According to Kittlaus, Viv uses Nuance Communications to recognize speech and convert sounds to text on the screen. Thanks to that, it can figure out the intent of the user via natural language technology.
To make things special, it takes advantage of what the creators refer to as “dynamic program generation,” allowing it to put the question and the user’s intent together and make sense out of the combination. Described as “software that’s writing itself,” it makes a draft based on the voice input and call the necessary services, from Weather Underground or anything else along those lines, generating the layout and the dialog.
In the presentation, Viv wrote the program on its own, outlining the 44 steps for the complex Golden Gate Bridge query mentioned earlier in just 10 milliseconds.
Kittlaus continued to exhibit the potential of the virtual assistant, asking it to send “20 bucks to Adam for drinks last night.” It then pulled up Venmo with a transaction order that can be delivered at a tap of a button, and on top of that, it included a comment of what the payment is for.
Now, the big difference between Viv and Siri is that the latter is limited only to Apple devices, while the former is independent. On that note, Google and Facebook reportedly made bids to purchase the company.
On an interesting note, “viv” means “life” in Latin, and in line with that clever moniker, Kittlaus says that the technology will “breathe life into the inanimate objects and devices of our life through conversation.”
Hit up the video below to see Viv in action and witness just how downright impressive it is.
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