Friday, May 06, 2016

Move Over Siri — Viv Labs AI Assistant Is Finally Ready

Viv Labs is preparing to reveal a revolutionary AI assistant

The team responsible for creating the iconic Siri assistant, which was scooped up by Apple Inc. (AAPL) in 2010 for a whopping $200 million, has been quietly working on another artificial intelligence assistant, code named Viv, for the past few years. According to sources such as The Washington Post and The Next Web, Viv Labs is finally ready to reveal its creation to the world, with a public demonstration scheduled for Monday, May 9th.

Geeks far and wide are giddy with anticipation, as the features and capabilities described by Viv’s creators will be a significant leap forward for artificial intelligence. Nearly two years ago, I introduced Viv Labs and shared my personal excitement about this project in another Twisted Nonsense Exclusive article, “Viv Labs: The Little Tech Company That Could Change the World.”

To put it simply, Viv Labs wants to create an independent, universal assistant that can handle almost any spoken request. According to the company’s website, “Viv is taught by the world, knows more than it is taught, and learns every day.” Also, “Viv radically simplifies the world by providing an intelligent interface to everything.”

What Makes Viv So Special?


The Viv artificial intelligence is capable of understanding spoken instructions and performing an unlimited number of tasks intended to facilitate successful completion of those instructions.

But wait, you say, I can already talk to my smartphone and tablet. Indeed, you can. However, today’s digital assistants are actually quite limited and can’t successfully process multi-part complex sentences, let alone follow complicated instructions.

Viv’s co-founder, Adam Cheyer, summed it up with the following example:
Google Now has a huge knowledge graph—you can ask questions like ‘Where was Abraham Lincoln born?’ And it can name the city. You can also say, ‘What is the population?’ of a city and it’ll bring up a chart and answer. But you cannot say, ‘What is the population of the city where Abraham Lincoln was born?’
With Viv, however, you’ll be able to ask those kinds of questions, and you’ll get legitimate answers (instead of something like the generic “Here are some websites that could help you with that” response from Google Now, which is basically the app’s version of a confused, blank stare).

Viv will be able to handle such complexities because developers have built into the program an ability for it to learn, expand, and generate new code when necessary. That, alone, marks the introduction of true artificial intelligence; Viv will listen, evaluate, comprehend and implement spoken commands, and will create completely new and unique programs to link and interact with third-party sources of information.

This is, without a doubt, the most impressive aspect of the Viv assistant, and it is this feature that will be paramount to its (her?) rise to the top of the digital assistant pyramid. Make no mistake — there is definitely the possibility that Viv could eventually overtake current leaders, namely Microsoft Corporation’s (MSFT) Cortana, Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL) Google Now, Amazon.com, Inc.’s (AMZN) Alexa, and even Apple’s Siri.

The big dogs of the tech industry have been keeping an eye on Viv Labs, and it seems as if they’ve realized that this tiny, eight-person engineering team has created something that could be more than just a little disruptive to their AI efforts. In fact, The Washington Post mentioned rumors that both Google and Facebook Inc (FB) have attempted to buy Viv.

So far, at least, Viv’s creators haven’t sold out. Perhaps they’re still a little salty about how things went the last time they developed and sold an awesome new piece of AI technology…
“Apparently, before the sale, Siri was actually more capable than it is today, considering the limitations and restrictions implemented by Apple. However, Viv Labs was able to create an AI that is exactly what was originally envisioned by the Siri creators -- a digital assistant that can anticipate your needs and handle any request by utilizing an almost unlimited network of online resources.”

Bottom Line for Viv Labs


I admit, I’ll be in full geek mode on Monday, waiting for the official Viv Labs reveal and demonstration. The bottom line today hasn’t changed a bit from my Final Thoughts two years ago. So, that being said, allow me to repeat myself:
“Despite being a tiny, relatively unknown tech company that's virtually hidden in San Jose's corporate district, Viv Labs has been working on a revolutionary new artificial intelligence program that could, quite literally, change the future of mobile technology. Collaborating with some of the industry's brightest minds, Viv Labs is nearing completion of a digital virtual assistant, the likes of which has never been seen before. If you were impressed by Siri and Google Now, then Viv will be sure to blow your mind.
When it's finally released, Viv will send ripples across the tech industry, changing the future landscape of how we interact with not just our phones, but the countless millions of other devices being developed for the Internet of Things.”



This article is a Twisted Nonsense Exclusive! (05/06/2016)