The Next Generation Of Apple's 'Siri' Touted As Much Smarter

Aug 13, 2014

The people behind Apple's digital assistant Siri claim they are building a new version with "almost limitless capacities."

Some of the key features of the new version of the Apple iOS' artificial intelligence (AI) app, dubbed "Viv," Latin for 'alive,' have been publicly promised by its creators Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham.

The trio told US tech mag Wired last week that they aim to create a "global brain" that "radically simplifies the world by providing an intelligent interface to everything."

For users of the Apple platform, what this translates into is a digital assistant that can answer much more complex questions and deal with complex requests.

Highlighting a frustration with the current digital assistants, Cheyer is quoted as saying, "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?'" However Viv, once completed, will be able to facilitate requests like "On the way to my brother's house, I need to pick up some cheap wine that goes well with lasagne."

Aiming High When It Comes To AI

But the team are not just content with building a great AI: they'd like to be the only AI, Kittlaus said.

"Let me just cut through all the usual founder b******t. What we're really after is ubiquity. We want this to be everywhere, and we're going to consider all paths along those lines."

Ultimately Viv will be a service that earns its keep through referrals, taking cuts from the services and items users ask Viv to purchase. George Morgenthaler, the original Siri funder, has "very high confidence" for the service but highlighted the challenge of making all the third-party services and components work together as a major roadblock for the fledgling AI.

Obviously there's no release date yet for Viv (the website is just a splash page)... but nevertheless Scarlett Johansson's supersmart virtual character in "Her" may soon be a reality.

Author: Nathan Chai
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