After an enormous $200 million buyout from Apple, Siri skyrocketed to fame. Today, the iPhone app is used by more than 100 million people daily, and over 500 million have basic access to the information-based services Siri provides. Even though we hear little about the brilliant team responsible for Siri’s development, their dreams shine brighter than ever. Their next creation, Viv, might just reduce Siri to a mere historical footnote.
Viv Labs recently acquired a $12.5 million investment from Iconiq Capital, often referred to as the Silicon Valley billionaire’s club and backed by tech names such as Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and Reid Hoffman. More importantly, Viv’s creators don’t even need the extra cash. Instead, the investment represents an opportunity which could allow them to accelerate Viv’s development.
What is Viv?
The founders of Viv–Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer, and Chris Brigham–are working to create an interface capable of solving complex problems and even writing its own code in a matter of seconds.
When the same team originally invented Siri, they imagined something quite a bit different from what Apple eventually presented alongside the iPhone 4S. In fact, their vision was significantly watered down from the original concept, something which led most of the team to part ways with Apple soon after.
Siri was always meant to be a fuel which could drive artificial intelligence forward for years to come, and its creators hoped it would expand to include tens of thousands of APIs and hundreds of other devices and platforms. Initially, Apple intended to launch Siri for Android and Blackberry devices, but even those plans were scrapped.
If Kittlaus, Cheyer, and Brigham have their way, Viv will succeed where Siri failed.
Not only will Viv have access to those innumerable APIs and devices, but it will also make adjustments based on personal interaction. Given enough time, Viv should be able to understand and respond to an individual’s patterns of speech or behaviors. The ultimate goal is the creation of an intelligent helper which can truly learn about you and respond to your needs.
Check out this video interview with Stephen Levy, the man behind a crazily in-depth Wired article about Viv’s potential: