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Siri creators to launch Viv next week, an even smarter AI assistant

by Jacob Kleinman | May 5, 2016May 5, 2016 9:40 am PST


The team behind Siri is set to unveil a new voice-controlled digital assistant that could put competing AI to shame. The Washington Post reports that Viv, a voice-controlled AI app, will make its public debut on Monday.

Viv promises to handle any request you throw at her thanks to integration with about 50 different services, including GrubHub, ZocDoc and SeatGuru. The new app may even be able to handle one complicated request that requires multiple apps to complete. Essentially, the goal is to create a digital assistant that’s just as capable and resourceful as a human assistant.

The closest thing available right now is Alexa on the Amazon Echo, which supports voice commands for a wide variety of actions thanks to third-party integration. Viv sounds pretty similar, but lives in your smartphone instead of a separate product. That could be an advantage when it comes to price and portability, but it also means you’ll likely lose the Echo’s always-on functionality.

The company behind Viv actually planned to include many of these features in Siri. When the original AI assistant launched back in 2010, it could buy movie tickets and call you a taxi, but Apple killed most of those features soon after it bought the company. About a year later, a third of the team behind Siri left Apple to start from scratch. Now, after four years of development, Viv is finally ready to launch.

Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...