SXSW 2016: Siri’s Successor Viv Takes the Virtual Spotlight

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Viv

Among the many interactive innovations at SXSW, Viv—Siri’s successor—took the spotlight as a virtual assistant 2.0.

“Siri was chapter one, and now it’s almost like a new internet age is coming,” said entrepreneur Dag Kittlaus, who developed Siri and sold it to Steve Jobs in 2010. “Viv will be a giant brain in the sky.”

Viv, the Latin root for “life,” is an open source and cloud-based personal assistant that will let humans talk to the internet and have the internet respond. “The more you ask of Viv, the more it will get to know you,” said Kittlaus in USA Today.

The website reads: “Viv radically simplifies the world by providing an intelligent interface to everything.”

Asked if supercomputers might create things faster than humans with digital brains, Kittlaus said, “Yes, it will happen. It’s just a matter of when.”

Unlike Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Echo and even Siri, Viv can make mental leaps. Asking Viv, “What’s the weather near the Super Bowl,” would cause it to “write its own program to find the answer, one that first determines where the Super Bowl is, and then what the weather will be in that city,” said Kittlaus.

Viv has the potential to upend internet economics, Kittlaus told The Guardian. “Companies currently spend billions to advertise online with Google, and much traffic arrives based on web users’ keyword searches. But if instead requests are directed at Viv, it would cut out the middleman.”

Machine learning is trending, as South Korea’s AlphaGo makes headlines for thrashing human champion Go player Lee Se-dol. AlphaGo was created by DeepMind, a company bought by Google two years ago.

The cognitive computing market is projected to be worth $12.5 million by 2019, according to MarketsandMarkets. And humans all want a piece of it.

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