The creators of Siri have been hard at work on its successor, and after four years of development, Viv is now ready for its first public demonstration. But the AI-powered digital assistant has already been catching the eye of Google and Facebook.
On Monday, the team behind Viv, which includes Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer, who were the co-creators of Siri, will give the first public demonstration of the technology they dub “the global brain.” Viv is a smarter version of Siri, according to its creators, and will allow users to carry out a huge range of actions by just using voice and without having to tap on a screen or type a request.
The work on Viv began in 2003 and was what its creators envisioned Siri would be. According to a demonstration seen by the Washington Post, Viv was able to get pizzas delivered to Viv’s engineers without the need to have any specific app installed and without the need for instructions to be typed, all by asking: “Get me a pizza from Pizz’a Chicago near my office.”
This was how Kittlaus described the technology to the Guardian in January: “Tell Viv what you want, and it will orchestrate this massive network of services that will take care of it,” adding that Viv’s capabilities can be integrated into everything from smartphones and laptops to smart home devices like fridges, light bulbs and security cameras. According to the company’s website, Viv “is a global platform that enables developers to plug into and create an intelligent, conversational interface to anything.”
Along with Kittlaus and Cheyer, around a third of the team that created Siri is now working on Viv after many left Apple due to disagreements over the way Siri was being developed.
While the company says it will work with developers to let them add Viv’s capabilities to their apps, that could all change if the company is acquired by a bigger player, and according to sources speaking to the Washington Post this week, both Google and Facebook have made offers to acquire Viv.
While Apple has Siri and Microsoft has Cortana, Google doesn’t really have a similar product for its Android and Chrome users. While Google Now does a lot of what Siri and Cortana offer, it is not as interactive and therefore Viv would seem like a good fit.
Facebook, whose CEO is an investor in Viv, is taking a different path, leveraging its investment in artificial intelligence into chatbots, which it plans to integrate into its Messenger app to help companies automate interactions with their customers.