Siri Co-Founders Building Viv, a Next-Generation Flexible Virtual Assistant

When Apple acquired Siri in 2010, several members of the team behind the technology joined Apple to continue development of the virtual assistant. As iOS evolved and the vision for Siri changed, co-founders Dag Kitt­laus and Adam Cheyer left Apple to pursue other opportunities. This liberation led to their reunion and the formation of Viv Labs, which is now working on new virtual assistant software that may change how we interact with our devices. Writer Steven Levy takes a close look at Viv in a lengthy profile on Wired.

viv
Viv Labs is building a virtual assistant that is capable of more than just pre-programmed answers in response to a question. Viv expands further into the realm of artificial intelligence with a codebase that can interpret the question, make connections across a variety of services and apps and even generate code on the fly if needed to formulate an answer. Team members describe Viv as a "global brain" that can learn about its users and adapt to their preferences.

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.

Unlike Siri, which was targeted at the iPhone even before its acquisition by Apple, Kitt­laus and his team hope to license the technology and bring Viv to a variety of devices including TVs, cars and other Internet-connected devices.

“I’m extremely proud of Siri and the impact it’s had on the world, but in many ways it could have been more,” Cheyer says. “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 an ambitious project that is still in the early stages of development, but the vision is revolutionary. "If this team is successful, we are looking at the future of intelligent agents and a multibillion-dollar industry," said AI expert Oren Etzioni of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence to Wired.

It's unclear whether Apple will be interested in the technology and what kind of relationship the two companies might have given their history with Siri, but what is clear is that Siri's inventors have much broader ambitions in mind.

Top Rated Comments

Z400Racer37 Avatar
87 months ago
here's a test scenario: "viv, pick up the best parts for a pc capable of running final fantasy xiv at medium settings in 720p for under 200$ cad, minus the monitor, keyboard and mouse."

Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Yvan256 Avatar
87 months ago
Here's a test scenario: "Viv, pick up the best parts for a PC capable of running Final Fantasy XIV at medium settings in 720p for under 200$ CAD, minus the monitor, keyboard and mouse."
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Piggie Avatar
87 months ago
Errrr, really, are they being serious here?

"I’m extremely proud of Siri and the impact it’s had on the world"

The Impact it's had on the World.........

Really?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Boosf Avatar
87 months ago
Hey Viv!

Hi Viv,

I need something to get blood stains out of a carpet and the GPS location of an out of the away place to bury something. Also, could you give me information on shovels and the location of the nearest hardware store?:D
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
carjakester Avatar
87 months ago
would you like me to search that for you?

No siri i want you to search it, find the answer and give me that answer. Viv seems like a step in the right direction.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
winston1236 Avatar
87 months ago
They should just copy Google's voice software, its beats Siri to death in terms of voice recognition.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

samsung experience 1

Samsung's 'iTest' Lets You Try a Galaxy Device on Your iPhone

Thursday April 8, 2021 12:42 pm PDT by
Samsung has launched "iTest," an interactive website experience that's designed to allow iPhone users to test out Android on a Galaxy device, or "sample the other side," as Samsung puts it. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The iTest website is being advertised in New Zealand, according to a MacRumors reader who came across the feature. Visiting the iTest website on...
sonny 2021 ipad mini pro dummies

Leaked Dummy Units Show iPad Mini 6 With Thick Bezels and Home Button, New iPad Pro Models

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:11 am PDT by
Rumors suggest Apple will release refreshed versions of the iPad mini and iPad Pro models in the first half of this year, potentially as soon as this month, and a new leak today has provided us with a possible preview of what to expect in terms of the devices' overall design and camera prospects. Tech leaker and Apple blogger Sonny Dickson this morning shared images on Twitter showing dummy ...
iMessage Android featured

Apple's Rationale for Not Bringing iMessage to Android Revealed in Legal Documents

Friday April 9, 2021 2:22 am PDT by
It's no secret that Apple sees iMessage as a big enough selling point to keep the service exclusive to Apple devices, however new court filings submitted by Epic Games in its ongoing lawsuit with the company reveal just how Apple executives have rationalized their decision not to develop a version of iMessage for Android. Apple clearly recognizes the power that iMessage has to keep users...
fake airpods 3

Counterfeit 'AirPods 3' Hit the Market Prior to Official Announcement

Friday April 9, 2021 2:45 am PDT by
Apple is expected to launch the third iteration of AirPods in the third quarter of this year. Rumors and reports suggest the new AirPods will feature an updated design more in line with the AirPods Pro, but lacking in "Pro" features such as active noise cancellation. Despite AirPods 3 not yet being officially announced by Apple, counterfeit products of the unreleased earbuds have already hit ...
nba tracking prompt orange

Two-Thirds of iPhone Users Expected to Block Ad Tracking

Friday April 9, 2021 7:19 am PDT by
As many as 68 percent of iPhone users are expected to deny advertisers permission to track them thanks to Apple's App Tracking Transparency feature, in what is beginning to look like a significant blow to the advertising industry (via AdWeek). With the launch of iOS 14.5, apps will have to receive explicit user permission before accessing an iPhone's advertising identifier or IDFA, which is...
iPhone 13 Battery Life Feature

DigiTimes: iPhone 13 Pro Models to Feature 120Hz ProMotion Refresh Rate and 15-20% Less Power Consumption

Friday April 9, 2021 12:52 am PDT by
The two premium "Pro" models of the upcoming iPhone 13 lineup will be equipped with a low-power LTPO display, enabling the iPhones to have a 120Hz refresh rate, according to industry sources cited by Taiwanese publication DigiTimes. According to today's paywalled report, Apple suppliers Samsung and LG Display are in the process of converting parts of their production capacity to produce LTPO ...
ipad pro and macbook pro

iPad and MacBook Production Reportedly Delayed Due to Global Chip Shortage

Thursday April 8, 2021 2:31 am PDT by
Apple is facing a global shortage of certain components for some of its MacBook and iPad models, causing the Cupertino tech giant and its suppliers to postpone production of the products, according to a new report from Nikkei Asia. According to the report, MacBook production is being hindered due to the shortage of chips mounted onto the circuit board before final assembly, which is a key...
ehric

iPhone 12 Mini Missing From Top 5 Best Selling Smartphone List of January 2021

Friday April 9, 2021 4:58 am PDT by
According to market data compiled by Counterpoint Research, Apple's smallest iPhone since the 2016 iPhone SE, the iPhone 12 mini, struggled to obtain a spot in the top five list of best-selling smartphones in January of this year. According to the market data, the iPhone 12 mini came in eighth place for the best-selling smartphone worldwide in the first month of the year. However, the iPhone ...
tmobile 5g modem

T-Mobile Launches Unlimited 5G Home Internet for $60/Month

Wednesday April 7, 2021 2:18 pm PDT by
T-Mobile today hosted an Un-carrier event where the company announced the launch of a a new 5G home internet plan, which is priced at $60 per month and offers unlimited data. The service is available to more than 30 million Americans across much of the United States, including 10 million households in rural areas not typically able to access reliable broadband. Connectivity will be either 4G ...
apple find my network

Apple Announces Find My Network With Support for Third-Party Devices

Wednesday April 7, 2021 10:06 am PDT by
Apple today announced the launch of its Find My network accessory program, which is designed to allow third-party Bluetooth devices to be tracked in the Find My app right alongside your Apple devices. According to Apple, the first accessory companies to take advantage of the new Find My integration include Belkin, Chipolo, and VanMoof, with devices set to be available beginning next week. ...