VIV: Siri 2.0

Steven Levy, Wired:

But Kittlaus points out that all of these services are strictly limited. Cheyer elaborates: “Google Now has a huge knowledge graph—you can ask questions like ‘Where was Abraham Lincoln born?’ And it can name the city. You can also say, ‘What is the population?’ of a city and it’ll bring up a chart and answer. But you cannot say, ‘What is the population of the city where Abraham Lincoln was born?’” The system may have the data for both these components, but it has no ability to put them together, either to answer a query or to make a smart suggestion. Like Siri, it can’t do anything that coders haven’t explicitly programmed it to do.

Viv breaks through those constraints by generating its own code on the fly, no programmers required. 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.

This article, Siri’s Inventors Are Building a Radical New AI That Does Anything You Ask was published several months ago in August of 2014, but I just got to it because of the news that the company closed US$12.5 million in Series B funding.

Self-learning makes artificial intelligence less artificial. If VIV can become a personal AI that is always with me, and helps me get through the day… well, that might be like having Samantha from the movie Her. Crazy.