Samsung on Monday unveiled what’s probably going to be one of the Galaxy S8’s most important new features, the Bixby assistant. After months of speculation, and after confirming the existence of Bixby on its website, Samsung decided to tell us what Bixby is and what it can do. The company also confirmed that Bixby is indeed debuting on the Galaxy S8, although we might see it in a more limited capacity at first.
“Samsung has a conceptually new philosophy to the problem: instead of humans learning how the machine interacts with the world (a reflection of the abilities of designers), it is the machine that needs to learn and adapt to us,” Samsung explained in a press release. “The interface must be natural and intuitive enough to flatten the learning curve regardless of the number of functions being added. With this new approach, Samsung has employed artificial intelligence, reinforcing deep learning concepts to the core of our user interface designs. Bixby is the ongoing result of this effort.”
Samsung said that Bixby will be a new intelligent assistant, that’ll be “fundamentally different from other voice agents or assistants in the market.”
Three major features make up Bixby, including Completeness, Context Awareness, and Cognitive Tolerance. Completeness refers to the assistant’s ability to trigger nearly any task inside an application that can be triggered using a touch command. Context Awareness refers to Bixby’s ability to determine the user’s intentions based on whatever he or she is doing at the time. Cognitive Tolerance refers to the assistant’s ability to understand a variety of actions without the user having to remember specific wording for commands.
The Galaxy S8 will contain a subset of Bixby-enabled applications at launch, and the set will continue to expand over time. Samsung said in its announcement that it plans to release an SDK in the future so that third-party app developers can incorporate Bixby in their applications.
Samsung also said that it plans to bring Bixby to a wide range of different devices, not just flagship phones.