Samsung acquires Viv, the brains behind Siri

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With all the three tech giants out with their own AI-powered digital assistants, the world’s largest seller of phones surely wouldn’t be sitting and just observing. Microsoft has Cortana, Apple has Siri and Google came out with its Google Assistant couple of days back. And now Samsung is looking to whet its appetite in dabbling in AI, and so it has agreed to acquire Viv, the brains behind Siri.

Viv is an AI and assistant system that was co-founded by Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham and Siri was their brainchild. Apple then acquired Viv in 2010, but the three co-founders then left Apple and went on to start Viv in 2012, and it is being touted as a powerful, more extensible version of Siri.

After the acquisition by Samsung Viv will continue to operate independently and provide services to Samsung.

Unlike the other AI-powered digital butlers, Viv’s specialty lies in its interconnectivity, which Siri and the rest are only starting to explore now. Siri opened up to developers to allow apps to make use to Siri.

Viv is also touted as the software that ‘builds itself’ because of its machine-learned based systems at the back-end. Viv’s AI is capable of writing its own code to incorporate more ways to serve the user. Viv calls the process ‘dynamic program generation’.

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

When asked why they chose Samsung, Kittlaus said, “They ship 500 million devices a year. You asked me onstage about what our real goal is, and I said ubiquity. If you take a look around what’s going on in the market these days, and our readiness to really expand on our distribution, it made perfect sense when we discovered that our visions are so completely aligned, and our assets using the core technology in this huge distribution, the opportunity that now is the right time, and Samsung’s the right partner.”

For Samsung, acquiring Viv will give them a real chance to take on Apple. So far, the smartphone sales for Samsung was highly mainly for the cutting-edge hardware it provides in its devices. With Viv, Samsung can finally make its software strong enough to take on Apple’s iOS.

And purchasing Viv will not only improve Samsung’s mobile sales. Samsung purchased for $200 million in 2014, and with the infusion of Viv’s AI into its smart home devices, Samsung can look to foray into Amazon and Google’s territory- building smart homes.

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Samsung acquires Viv, the brains behind Siri