A new AI program called Viv could end the need for physical typing and even separate apps.
It's the latest effort from Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer, who you might know as the co-founders of Siri – Apple's occasionally cheeky AI assistant. Besides these two key figures, a third of the original Siri team is now working on Viv.
This new AI effort is set to represent a step forward from the team's previous work, however. As a recent Washington Post article points out, Viv can pick out the gist of a verbal request even when you use jumbled, naturalistic language, and it can act on multiple requests at once.
What's more, Viv can access internet data to gain context and provide further services that you'd normally need to access an app or website to execute. It's far more like an actual human PA, in other words.
For example, not only can Viv understand when you ask it about movie tickets in a less-than-precise manner, but it can also look up showtimes, suggest alternatives if the requested showing is sold out, compare prices, and actually make the booking for you.
Oh, and it will also handle your restaurant reservation for just before the showing as part of the same request.
Ask Siri to buy you tickets to a film, and it might just pull up show times with links to the appropriate cinemas. You'll probably need to have a separate app installed to actually make the booking.
This wasn't how it was supposed to be, though. When Siri was launched as an independent app in 2010, it was intended to be a revolutionary mobile commerce assistant that would do all of these things for you, bypassing search pages and apps.
Viv, then, can be seen as Siri as it was always intended to be, before Apple brought it into its walled garden.
It works across services to book you an Uber cab, order a pizza, have some flowers delivered to a loved one, and even turn your lights on and off through various partnerships. The company is apparently talking to TV companies, car manufacturers, and more to make it a completely new portal to online services.
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Understandably, both Google and Facebook are said to have made efforts to buy Viv. Whoever ends up buying it, we hope they let the Viv team do its thing this time.