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- Jul 27, 2011
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In the world of artificially intelligent digital voice assistants, it looks like there will be a new girl/guy in town soon. There's a startup company working on something called Viv that is meant to be an eve better conversationalist than Apple's Siri. What's especially intriguing about this project is that it is being developed by most of the former project leads of the original Siri found on the iPhone.
This requires a bit of background... basically a non-profit named SRI International developed Siri back in 2010 as a third party app for the iPhone. Of course, Apple was impressed and needed a competitor to what Google was working on, so they grabbed up the company and ran with the ball.
SRI's version of Siri was conceived as a true digital personal assistant that uses normal conversational language for voice commands. Although the current iteration of Siri is pretty good about handling important tasks, its conversational speech patterns need to be verbally massaged to get the prefect outcome sometimes. One of Siri's co-creators, Dag Kittlaus, describes the current version of Siri as a chatbot instead of a full-fledged natural speaking voice assistant.
At some point in the past few years, the original concept for Siri was basically lost in the shuffle of the Apple takeover and the way the project evolved. Unhappy with how things turned out, Kittlaus and several of the other original creators of Siri left Apple to pursue their real goal of creating the perfect digital voice assistant. Thus was born, Viv, which will be demonstrated publicly for the first time on Monday, May 9th. They have been working hard to make the normal human conversational understanding of Viv so advanced, that you could order a Pizza and even customize the toppings in the same sentence and have the AI handle that seamlessly for you.
Of course, since then, new competitors have entered the market (like Microsoft's Cortana, and the Amazon Echo), and old rivals have further evolved (like Google Now). Viv still requires a search engine for much of what it does, but the developers are also partnering up directly with various other companies to customize the speech patters of Viv to match various topics, products and services. It will be interesting to see how effective Viv will be and if it can compete with the other AI assistants in the market.
The Washington Post article on Viv is quite long and in-depth, so be sure to check it out for even more info: Siri’s creators say they’ve made something better that will take care of everything for you