The original creators of Siri will be unveiling a virtual assistant on Monday that can help you order a pizza without having to run a Google search or install another app.
Meet Viv, an assistant powered by artificial intelligence developed by Adam Cheyer and Dag Kittlaus, according to the Washington Post. Back in 2010, Apple bought Siri from Cheyer and Kittlaus, and while both went on to continue work on Siri at the Cupertino company, they eventually quit.
Siri, and most virtual assistants like Google Now and Cortana, are limited to commands phrased in specific ways. If you ask Siri to buy you tickets to a Kanye West concert, the assistant will likely pull up a Ticketmaster’s site where you will then have to manually buy the tickets.
That’s not what the original creators had in mind, which is likely why one third of the team that worked on Siri is now working on Viv. Their vision is demonstrated in Viv’s first real test.
“Get me a pizza from Pizz’a Chicago near my office,” a Viv engineer spoke into his phone, according to the Washington Post. The nervous tension in the air was cut with Viv’s reply: “Would you like toppings with that?”
The room erupted in cheers, as the engineer continued to add toppings, remove toppings, and change the pizza size from medium to large. About 40 minutes later (Viv confused the office address), a delivery man dropped off the order to a celebratory office.
Cheyer and Kittlaus’ team was successfully able to order a pizza without running a Google search, or downloading an app like Domino’s or Seamless. That’s what the team hopes to disrupt — how people interact with technology. Before even seeing a public demonstration, the company has already seen Facebook and Google attempt to acquire it.
Viv works in the same manner in which SoundHound’s Houndify platform, or Amazon’s Alexa platform works — through deep integration with third-party apps. It’s what the founders wanted for Siri, which had a lot more open features, before Apple bought it and made it into a fenced-off service.
Viv has more than 50 partners that want to participate in creating a much simpler process for ordering food, a car, flowers, and more. Kittlaus is in talks with a range of companies in different spaces to bring their products into one “unbroken conversation,” according to the Washington Post. A lot of these partnerships and integration will bypass the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store, providing a new way for these companies to directly reach consumers.
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