Siri's maker finally unveils dev-tastic universal AI interface Viv

Hops over Apple's garden wall to do it

CEO and co-founder of Apple’s Siri, Dag Kittlaus, has launched a demo of his 2012 project with co-founder Adam Cheyer – a new virtual AI platform named Viv.

Viv, which stems from the Latin word for life, is similar to Siri in that it is activated by voice and powered by AI and machine-learning. Unlike Siri, however, Viv will allows developers to add their own third-party integrations.

This opens up the number of functions Viv can do – as demonstrated in the video. Using an integration with Venmo, a money transfer service, as an example, the user could command Viv to make a payment which would bring up Venmo’s service and the user could finish the job by tapping the pay button. Viv would also act "an intelligent, conversational interface" to "distribute products", says Viv Labs.

Kittlaus said that “perfecting the third-party ecosystem” will be key to Viv’s success in the future.

In an onstage demo at TechCrunch's conference in New York, Kittlaus said the real power of Viv lies in its “dynamic program generation” – which he described as a "computer science breakthrough" which Viv Labs was patenting. He said that "when it [understands] the intent of the user it generate[s a] program. This is software that is writing itself." Kittlaus said the functionality is not hard-coded, as that “doesn’t scale”. He said that, instead, “it is a dynamic program that in 10 milliseconds writes itself, that creates an execution program that goes out and ties the pieces of the services that you need, generates the dialogue, generates the layouts - does everything that happens after the intent.

“Instead of having to write every code instructed, you’re really just describing what you want it to do,” said Kittlaus. “The whole idea of Viv is that developers can go in and build any experience that they want.”

Kittlaus hopes Viv will be available to use by the end of this year and sees it as something that can be integrated with many devices. It aims to be “the intelligent interface for everything”, unlike Siri which is locked inside Apple’s ecosystem.

Siri was co-founded by Kittlaus in 2008 and raised $25m through venture funding before it was purchased by Apple in 2010.

You can watch the demonstration below. ®

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