Artificial Intelligence has already become the next big thing. Apple has a powerful virtual assistant in the form of Siri, Amazon has Alexa and Google unveiled its own ubiquitous ‘Assistant’ during the launch event, a couple days ago. However, Samsung, who’s been previously lacking on this front, is now also joining the party with the acquisition of a next-gen AI platform called ‘Viv’. Financial details of the transaction haven’t been disclosed.
Viv Labs, the company behind the powerful assistant Viv, has been founded by the original creators of Apple’s Siri technology. After departing the Cupertino tech behemoth in 2012, AI aficionados Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham started work on their vision for the next step in AI and assistant platforms. And Viv is truly a more robust and extensible version of Siri, and is capable of almost anything.
Sharing his excitement about on-boarding his next-gen AI platform on Samsung devices and making it available across the globe, Viv co-founder and CEO, Dag Kittlaus says,
At Viv, we’re building the simplest way for anyone to talk to devices and services everywhere. We see a future that is decidedly beyond apps—where you can get what you need quickly and easily no matter where you are, or what device you are near. Samsung offers us a unique opportunity to deliver a single conversational interface to the world’s apps and services across a diverse range of products, at global scale.
In a bid to expand the scope of its hardware innovations, Samsung is finally embracing artificial intelligence and reiterating its commitment towards virtual personal assistants. It says that the AI assistant team will continue to operate as an independent entity, but will now provide its services to Samsung and its platforms.
With Viv, Samsung will be able to unlock and offer new service experiences for its customers, including one that simplifies user interfaces, understands the context of the user and offers the user the most appropriate and convenient suggestions and recommendations,
reads the official statement.
But, in an official statement on Medium, Kittlaus shares his vision of not only restricting his next generation AI platform to Samsung devices. With the Korean tech behemoth by its side, he wants to make Viv ubiquitous, with the ultimate goal of redefining the way people interact with the digital landscape. Talking about his visionary outlook, he further goes to add,
This is not about what Viv gets, or what Samsung gains. This is now about a paradigmatic leap beyond everything that is available today, for everyone. This is just the beginning. It is a new line of thought. The age of single, vertical, hard-coded intelligence is over, and an era of flexible, vastly more capable, welcoming AI is set to begin.
Viv first took center-stage to demonstrate their technology at TechCrunch Disrupt earlier this year. The company has had almost no hiccups in the development of their ‘superior’ version of Siri. They were seeded with a total funding of $30 million in 3 rounds, all in 2015. It has also seen immense support and participation from third-party developers who want to create instances and on-board the platform — be a part of the digital revolution.
The Viv platform has been described as a breakthrough in machine learning and AI technology, as it is capable of creating its own programming. The users now just need to specify their needs as Viv will be able to understand and adapt to their needs over time. Unlike other hard-coded virtual assistants, Viv has the ability of writing its own code for new task. It can then figure out how to respond to your said query accordingly.
There is currently no word on how Samsung plans to integrate Viv’s next gen AI platform into its own ecosystem of devices. But Kittlaus is very excited to (kind-of) exploit the 500 million devices Samsung ships every year to start building an ubiquity for Viv in the coming years. You can expect to see Viv loaded on Samsung phones by the second half of 2017.