Siri Creators Working to Build a New AI That Will “Program on the Fly”
Apple introduced its virtual assistant software, Siri, in 2011 that blew a lot of people away by changing the way they used to interact with their iOS devices. Although Siri has learned a lot of new tricks since its inception, the AI could not evolve as much as people expected it to be, and now is routinely criticized for not being as efficient and intelligent as other digital assistants like Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana.
But today, Wired has published an in-depth report on a startup called Viv Labs, co-founded by three original creators of Siri, who are now building a far more advanced “radical new AI” — which, according to a renowned AI expert Oren Etzioni, could be “the future of intelligent agents and a multibillion-dollar industry.”
The AI is simply named Viv, but the creators want it to be something more than just a bot that could answer in response to some pre-programmed questions.
Viv’s codebase expands further into the core of artificial intelligence that makes it capable of understanding complex sentences. It will reportedly have an innate ability to make co-relations across an array of devices and apps, and even program on the fly to formulate an answer. The team refers it to as a “global brain” that can process massive of datasets to learn about its users’ preferences so that it could predict and fulfill their desires.
Wired’s Steven Levy writes:
Take a complicated command like “Give me a flight to Dallas with a seat that Shaq could fit in.” Viv will parse the sentence and then it will perform its best trick: automatically generating a quick, efficient program to link third-party sources of information together—say, Kayak, SeatGuru, and the NBA media guide—so it can identify available flights with lots of legroom. And it can do all of this in a fraction of a second.
This proposed method explains how Viv would perform complex search queries by interconnecting the broken links of a chain.
Viv Labs further clarifies it with another example that involves Abraham Lincoln. On Google Now, for example, you get separate answers for two separate queries like, “Where was Abraham Lincoln born?” and “What is the population?” But Google Now won’t be able to interpret if you ask, “What is the population of the city where Abraham Lincoln was born?” That is because it’s not built to interrelate these terms.
However, Viv can make use of its sophisticated algorithms to overcome these challenges.
Levy says two of Viv’s three founders, Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer, who founded Siri left Apple shortly after they joined it. The duo said not everyone at the massive tech company did uniformly value their vision, and that Steve Jobs was the only person who was, in true means, passionate about Siri’s technology. Chris Brigham, Viv’s third founder, was also among the early founders of Siri. Now the team is determined that their new AI will change the way we look at the digital assistant software. Cheyer says:
I’m extremely proud of Siri and the impact it’s had on the world, but in many ways it could have been more. Now I want to do something bigger than mobile, bigger than consumer, bigger than desktop or enterprise. I want to do something that could fundamentally change the way software is built.
Viv is, no doubt, a pretty mind-blowing idea, but with currently no support from any major manufacturer, it seems to be an arduous struggle. There is no word on when this new AI will officially launch.
Gohar is the lead editor at TechFrag. He has a wide range of interests when it comes to tech but he's currently spending a big chunk of his time writing about privacy, cyber security, and anything policy related.