Samsung Acquires Viv AI Assistant from Creators of Siri

Samsung has agreed to acquire Viv, the next-gen AI assistant that was developed by Siri co-founders Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer. TechCrunch reports that it will continue to operate as an independent company, providing services to Samsung and its platforms.

They called it Viv, and they showed it off to the world earlier this year. Viv is an AI-based assistant, by default, but it’s one that’s built on bringing together as many third-party resources as possible. In the demo earlier this year, Kittlaus showed how easy it is to pay a friend, simply by telling Viv to execute the action. He just had to tap a pay confirmation and the $20 was sent.

These ideas have been adopted by other assistants, of course, but Viv’s strengths have always been the open platform, in which any company can be tapped, and their platform or resources mined, for the best possible results for the user. It’s been billed as a more powerful version of Siri, which makes sense, as Viv was put together by the creators of Siri.

Here are some excerpts from Kittlaus’ Medium post regarding the acquisition:
Samsung, as you surely know, is the market leader in smart devices across a wide range of use cases and industries. They ship 500 million devices a year. They also sell more smartphones and TVs than any other company in the world, not to mention a hundred million appliances, and their ambitious Virtual Reality product line. Their product mix naturally fits Viv’s “simplify your interactions through conversation.”
[…] In order for Viv to utilize the incredible scale Samsung offers, and in order to achieve our ultimate goal of redefining the way people interact with the digital landscape, it would be essential for Viv to be available across morethan just Samsung devices. Our vision requires that Viv be everywhere.
Samsung is with us. We share a mutual vision to leapfrog the current state-of-the-art in AI, ushering in a new era.
Viv will live on as an independent subsidiary of Samsung, able to both meaningfully integrate intelligence across a wide variety of products at scale in ways never before seen, and eventually fulfill the vision of the “everywhere assistant” as a major paradigm in its own right.
Samsung’s acquisition of Viv is being handled by the mobile arm of the company, but, according to Samsung Senior Vice President Jacopo Lenzi, the reaches of Viv are being considered for other areas the company has covered. Essentially, it sounds like while Samsung will put a focus on mobile for Viv moving forward, Samsung’s other platforms and markets might see the assistant adopted in the future:
“This is an acquisition that is being done by the mobile team, but we clearly see the interest across our devices,” says Samsung SVP Jacopo Lenzi in an interview. “From our perspective and from the client’s perspective, the interest and the power of this really comes from taking advantage of the Samsung scale overall, as well as the richness of the touch points we have with consumers.”
Google is pushing forward with Assistant, an AI- and machine learning-based platform that will be available on its new Pixel smartphones, but also roll out to support other platforms in the future. Siri, Apple’s digital personal assistant, is available on iOS and now macOS as well, making it possible to access the platform from a variety of devices.


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