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Samsung acquires Viv, the futuristic AI platform developed by the creators of Siri

Published Oct 5th, 2016 11:44PM EDT
Siri Vs Viv

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Samsung has acquired Viv, the intelligent AI platform developed by Siri co-creator Dag Kittlaus and a handful of former Apple engineers. Word of the acquisition was first made public late on Wednesday via Techcrunch.

As we’ve detailed previously, Viv was positioned as an intriguing and futuristic piece of intelligent AI software that promised to make competing services from the likes of Apple seem downright antiquated. While Siri delivered some welcome improvements in iOS 10, Viv was designed from the ground up to answer layered questions that competing AI services weren’t equipped to handle.

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As a quick example, Kittlaus earlier this year explained that Viv can answer queries such as, “Find me a flight to Dallas with a seat that Shaq could fit in” or “What’s the weather near the Super Bowl?”

All the more impressive is that Viv was designed to learn how to handle queries that it wasn’t originally programmed to process.

“The more you ask of Viv, the more it will get to know you,” Kittlaus said a few months ago. “Siri was chapter one, and now it’s almost like a new Internet age is coming. Viv will be a giant brain in the sky.”

TechCrunch expands on this point:

The second is the programmatic nature of Viv’s back-end systems. Utilizing “breakthroughs” in program synthesis, Viv says its AI is capable of writing its own code to accomplish new tasks. This “software that builds itself” is not new in many other verticals, but Viv was one of the first big splash announcements using the technique that we had seen in AI. Viv calls this “dynamic program generation,” and it allows Viv to understand the intent of the user and to create programs to handle tasks on the fly, even if it’s never heard that particular one in the past.

Broadly speaking, Samsung’s acquisition of Viv instantly makes the mobile landscape that much more interesting. With AI becoming more and more common, Viv will lessen Samsung’s reliance on Google and could potentially pave the way for Samsung to roll out its own AI powered hardware.

A demo of Viv taken from Disrupt NY this past May can be viewed below. Software demos can sometimes be pretty boring, but Kittlaus’ showcasing of Viv is worth checking out in its entirety.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.