Business Technology

Tuesday 27 September 2016

Siri creators to unveil new virtual assistant Viv on Monday

Chris Graham

Published 05/05/2016 | 08:00

Two creators of Siri,  Apple's virtual assistant for the iPhone and iPad, are reportedly preparing to unveil a new AI bot on Monday that they say will take the technology to the next level. 

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Viv's capabilities will be demonstrated for the first time at a major industry conference on Monday, the Washington Post reported. 

It is among the most anticipated offerings in the artificial intelligence field in which Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon.com have all announced major investments over the past year.

Intended to be essentially a better version of Siri, the developers want consumers to be able to get a pizza delivered, for example, without needing to phone, fill out a form online or use a restaurant app. All you would have to do is tell Viv what pizza you want and from where. 

AI assistants have long been touted as the next big shift in digital commerce, allowing smartphone users to book a taxi, make a restaurant reservation and buy film tickets without needing to type a letter.

Viv Labs is partnering with initially about 50 outside companies, including GrubHub, Uber, Zocdoc, and SeatGuru, to let its AI tap into their services, according to the Post. 

“It’s about taking the way that humans have naturally interacted with each other for thousands of years and applying that to the way they interact with services,” Dag Kittlaus, Viv's chief executive, told the Washington Post. “Everyone knows how to hold a conversation.”

Mr Kittlaus and colleague Adam Cheyer were among the co-founders of Siri, which was the first mainstream virtual assistant when it was obtained by Apple in 2010.

Rather than restricting Viv to one company, like Siri, the creators want the technology in a range of products, including TVs, cars, and all kinds of connected devices, the newspaper reported. 

Since its launch in 2011, Siri has become increasingly intelligent, and can now hold basic two-way conversations with users. 

It is not without flaws, though, and still struggles to understand different accents and specific commands.

Microsoft launched its own assistant called Cortana in 2014, while Facebook unveiled "M" in August.

Telegraph.co.uk

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