Meet Viv, Siri’s Younger Sister


Viv is the latest generation of AI technology, claiming to be the predecessor to Siri. By now, most iPhone users have asked Siri to divide by zero, rap, and even lookup directions. Siri was created by Dag Kittlaus (CEO), Adam Cheyer (VP Engineering) and Tom Gruber (CTO). Siri was originally intended to work across multiple platforms and devices but was purchased by Apple on April 28, 2010 and has become the beloved, although slightly unhelpful, AI virtual assistant.

Siri sources most of its information from the web. Using Wolfram Alpha, wikipedia, and Apple Maps to answer most questions and perform basic tasks. Although Siri was a huge step forward in making AI virtual assistants available to the public, Siri’s usefulness is somewhat lacking.

This is where Viv comes in.

Claiming to be an ‘Intelligent interface to everything’ Viv is the next step in AI technology. Created by the founders of Siri, Adam Cheyer, Dag Kittlaus and Chris Brigham are trying to take their original vision for Siri and improve upon it with Viv. Viv will connect to multiple services (such as iPhone and  Android apps), instead of routinely shuffling queries off to a web search. Viv could live in your refrigerator, in your car, in your public transit station, in your smartphone and even in your home. Eventually, anywhere you see the Viv icon, means you can talk to that item and request its services.

The market for universal personal assistants has already been stepped into by Amazon’s Alexa. Alexa is a voice enabled wireless speaker that can play your music, make to-do lists, set alarms, stream podcasts, play audio books, provide weather and traffic information and even control the lights and heat in your house.

It looks like Viv will be able to do all of that and more.

“Viv is designed to be devices agnostic — think one platform, open to all services, for all devices, personalized for you. Viv’s goal is to be ubiquitous so it will understand your preferences and history as you engage with it on your mobile device, or in your car, or with your smart device at home,” – Adam Koopersmith, Pritzker Group Venture Capital, one of Viv’s investors.


During a 20 minute presentation at Disrupt NYC, Viv was able to correctly answer complex questions like, “Will it be warmer than 70-degrees near the Golden Gate Bridge after 5pm the day after tomorrow?” and “On the way to my brother’s house, I need to pick up some cheap wine that goes well with lasagna.” To grasp these nuances, Viv uses something called, ‘dynamic program generation’ which is currently the secret sauce of Kittlaus’s company and information on how it works is limited. This ‘dynamic program generation’ essentially allows Viv to write its own code, making it much more powerful than any of its competitors. Viv has the ability to connect with third party apps and request basic services like purchasing something online, making a reservation at a restaurant or (similar to the Facebook messenger app) requesting an Uber. Viv can also be aware of the user’s social trends and will be able to accurately complete tasks like, “Send James $10 for drinks.” and “Send Mom some flowers”.

As we’ve said before in past blog posts, getting AI to understand the speech patterns of humans is the biggest barrier to comprehensive AI technology. It seems that Viv might be the technology that breaks out of that trend.

“Our sense is there will be a move away from having hundreds of different apps that act independently. These services will be integrated into everyday life. Viv will be the platform to enable it.” – Adam Koopersmith

Viv has received $30M in 3 Rounds from 3 Investors, (Horizons Ventures, Iconiq Capital, Pritzker Group Venture Capital) and if the trend continues, will be a ‘revolution’ to quote one of the founders himself. With Viv’s widely accessible user interface, the founders predict that marketing will change, app development will change and the Internet of Things (IoT) will increase exponentially. It has not been announced when Viv will be released to the public.

Although Viv is an incredibly powerful AI, it is important to remember that Facebook, Microsoft and Google are all still developing their own AI technology. We have caught a glimpse of Viv, but there might be something greater around the corner from any of these tech giants.
BitNavi is a blog conceived by Karl Motey in the heart of Silicon Valley, dedicated to emerging technologies and strategic business issues challenging the industry.

Kaya Lindsay is a local Santa Cruz contributor who spends her time globetrotting, surfing the web, and writing for the BitNavi team.

Follow her on Twitter: @KayaSays


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