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The creator of Siri showcases Viv, an impressive AI personal assistant

When asked, "Will it be warmer than 70 degrees near the Golden Gate Bridge after 5PM the day after tomorrow?” Viv didn't even flinch.

Published onMay 9, 2016

Dag Kittlaus already made a name for himself in the personal assistant realm by co-founding Siri and serving as the company’s CEO. Most recently, his project Viv Labs has been quietly developing a new, platform-agnostic AI assistant that is aiming to blow all existing such services out of the water. In their showcase today at TechCrunch’s Disrupt NY event, Viv appears to handedly outshine Siri, Google Now, Alexa, and Cortana.

In a brief demonstration, Kittlaus ran a device running Viv through a bevy of fairly complicated commands. Although most AI personal assistants would be able to field “What’s the weather like at home today,” not many would be able to wrap their digital brains around “Was it raining in Seattle three Thursdays ago?” The question that really set Viv apart, however, was this stumper: “Will it be warmer than 70 degrees near the Golden Gate Bridge after 5PM the day after tomorrow?” The AI took to the challenge with alacrity, responding after just milliseconds of thought: “No, it won’t be that warm Wednesday after 5pm.”

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Kittlaus says that what gives this personal assistant its magic is a computer science breakthrough called Dynamic Program Generation. This allows Viv to write a program on the fly to handle each query, and it makes the service distinct from pre-existing models that use contextually specific program formats that the app chooses to use depending on the category of question or command it is given.

viv kittlaus tech crunch
In 10 milliseconds, Viv wrote a 44-step program that figured out all of the details around the context that the Golden Gate bridge is a point of interest and when the day after tomorrow is, connecting all the services in mind. It’s pretty incredible technology.

Viv also demonstrates the powerful ability to execute conversational transactions. When asked to “Send Mom some flowers for her birthday,” the assistant provided a list of possible bouquets to choose from, then completed the transaction process without help by pulling Kittlaus’s mother’s address from his contact info and filling out all the billing information automatically. Sending a friend money for drinks was an even easier transaction, and he even booked a hotel and hailed an Uber driver all from within the assistant’s interface.


Since Viv is platform agnostic, we’re looking forward to seeing this technology in the hands of Android developers. The future of interacting with our devices is looking to be increasingly conversational, and this might be the assistant that makes it a reality. There’s little wonder that Viv is one of the companies we’re most excited about in 2016, but what are your thoughts regarding this new technology? Let us know in the comments below!

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