Siri's creators are working on an even more powerful AI


If you think AI you probably think Siri, but for all its success it's incredibly limited compared to Viv, a new AI by some of Siri's creators.

We say new, but actually Viv has been in the works since 2003, before Siri ever existed, and according to a report from the Washington Post the Viv Labs team's vision for it is close to what they originally had planned for Siri, before Apple bought it.

Because Siri was never meant to rely on apps, instead it was an open system, which could accomplish tasks - from booking a table at a restaurant to buying a ticket for a concert – on its own, without users ever having to download or open a single app.

That's what Viv should be able to do, along with any number of other things, such as turning smart lighting on and off, or ordering a taxi.

To do this it still needs to be able to tap into data from the relevant companies and platforms, but it doesn't need apps, just for the likes of Uber and OpenTable to partner with it.

Already operational

In fact, Viv Labs has already partnered with a number of companies, including SeatGuru, Uber, Ivee, FTD, Grubhub and Zocdoc and the team has already demonstrated that they can successfully order a pizza with custom toppings, just by talking to Viv.

Using the data from these companies, it can also better understand requests, such as the various ways people can ask it to buy them a movie ticket.

It's understandable that Apple didn't want to go in this direction with Siri, as Viv could completely take apps out of the equation, which would surely only be a bad thing for Apple and Google. But for users it could be beneficial, as they'd no longer need to find and download the right apps to get specific functionality from their AI assistants.

What's interesting is that both Google and Facebook have already made offers for Viv, according to the Washington Post. With it set to be publicly demonstrated on Monday, there's every chance that it will get snapped up soon. Hopefully if and when that does happen the team's vision will remain intact and Viv won't just become another Siri.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.