Schlagwort-Archive: Siri

Samsung Plans To Give Galaxy S8 An AI Digital Assistant

All the cool companies have them: digital assistants. Apple has Siri, Microsoft has Cortana, and Google  has the cleverly named Google Assistant. Now, Samsung plans to bring its own iteration of a virtual assistant in the Galaxy S8 next spring, according to a new report from Reuters.

The assistant will be based on work by Viv Labs, a San Jose-based AI company that Samsung acquired this October (the move immediately fueled speculation that Samsung was moving into the AI space). The founders of Viv Labs already have a strong track record in the field as the creators of Siri, which Apple bought in 2010.

Samsung appears to be tapping into Viv’s existing strengths rather than aiming to revamp the platform. One of Viv’s hallmarks is that it is designed to be a one-stop-shop that works seamlessly with third-party services. “Developers can attach and upload services to our agent,” Samsung Executive Vice President Rhee In-jong said during a briefing, according to Reuters. “Even if Samsung doesn’t do anything on its own, the more services that get attached the smarter this agent will get, learn more new services and provide them to end-users with ease.”

If the digital assistant is a hit, it could help Samsung make up for its financial losses over the Galaxy Note 7 recall, which is projected to cost the company at least $5.4 billion. It could also rebuild consumer confidence after the Note 7 debacle and, more recently, a recall of a Samsung top-loading washing machine due to “impact injuries.”

But the company is entering a crowded market. Apple paved the way with Siri, though its early lead is shrinking after the launch of Google’s Assistant, which can tap into Google’s well-established knowledge graph and search capabilities. And there’s always Amazon Alexa, which already has a home in the smart-home devices the Echo, Dot and Tap.

„Every door can be unlocked.“  Ellen Fondiler

http://www.forbes.com/sites/shelbycarpenter/2016/11/06/samsung-plan-galaxy-s8-ai-digital-assistant

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Battle of the assistants

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Image: patrick lux/Getty Images

Despite what science-fiction wisdom says, talking to your computer is not normal. Sitting in the middle of a modern, open floor-plan office and saying „Hello, Computer,“ will garner some head-turns and a few scowls.

No matter. Companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Apple are convinced we want to talk to everything, including our desktop and laptop computers. Side-eye looks be damned.

Which brings us to today. Almost a year since Microsoft brought Cortana to Windows 10, Apple is following suit with Siri for the newly rechristened macOS.

Windows 10 with Cortana is, obviously, a shipping product, while macOS with Siri integration is in early beta. Even so, I can’t look at Siri’s first desktop jaunt in a vacuum, so when Apple supplied me with a MacBook running the beta of macOS Sierra (due to come to consumers in the fall), I compared the two desktop-based voice assistants. As you might surmise, they’re quite similar, but they have significant and strategic differences.

Where did they come from?

Siri arrives on the desktop as the oldest of the growing class of digital assistants, appearing first on the iPhone 4S in 2011. It’s long been rumored that it would eventually come to the Mac, so no one was surprised when Apple announced exactly that earlier this month at its Worldwide Developers Conference.

Cortana (which was named for the synthetic intelligence in Microsoft’s popular Halo game series), arrived with Windows 10 in 2015, a year after the digital assistant’s formal introduction on Windows Phone at the 2014 Microsoft Build conference.


Siri macOS

Siri lives in two spots on the desktop and asks you to let the system know your location.

Image: Apple

Like Cortana, Siri has a permanent place on the macOS desktop. Actually, it has two. A tiny icon in the upper right corner and then another in the macOS dock. Both launch the familiar Siri „waiting to help you“ wave.

On Windows, Cortana sits next to the Start Button. it has a circular halo icon and, next to that, the ever-present „Ask me anything.“


cortana

A click on the Cortana logo opens this Cortana window.

Image: microsoft

It’s at this point that the two assistants diverge. Cortana is a voice assistant, but, by default, it’s a text-driven one. Most people who use it will type something into the Cortana box. If you want to speak to Cortana — as I did many times for this article — you have to click the little microphone icon icon on the right side of the Cortana box.

While Cortana combines universal search with the digital assistant, Apple’s Siri drawn a line between the two.

Importantly, you can put Cortana in an always-listening mode, so it (she?) will wake when you say „Hey Cortana.“ Even though you can also wake the mobile Siri with „Hey Siri,“ macOS offers no such always-listening feature. For the purposes of this comparison, I left „Hey Cortana“ off.

Siri is a voice assistant. It has no text box. A click on either Siri icon opens the same black box in the upper right-hand side of the macOS desktop (it actually slides in from offscreen — a nice touch). As soon as you hit that button, Siri is listening, waiting for you to ask a question.

Sitting right next to Siri is Spotlight, which last year got a significant update. It’s a universal search that can pore over you Mac, the Web, iTunes, the App Store, maps.

So while Microsoft’s Cortana combines universal search with the digital assistant, Apple’s drawn a line between the two — sort of. Spotlight can perform many of the same searches as Siri. However, if you type a question into Spotlight, it may launch Siri. A trigger word appears to be „What’s.“

I really don’t know why Apple chose to keep Spotlight and Siri separate, but they may reconsider in future versions of macOS.

Battle of the assistants

It’s early days for Siri on the desktop, but I’m already impressed with its performance and intelligence — especially as it compares to Microsoft’s Cortana.

To test the two voice assistants, I first closed my office door. I wanted to speak in a normal voice and didn’t want to attract any annoyed stares.

Both Siri on macOS and Cortana start by asking you to open up your privacy settings a bit. They simply do their jobs better if they know where you are. So I followed Siri’s instructions and turned on location services on the macOS.


Here’s something else Siri on macOS and Cortana have in common: Both can tap into your system to, for example, find files and make system-level adjustments, but they’re both pretty inconsistent. Siri on macOS, obviously, is still a work in progress, so take these criticisms with a grain of salt. Even so, I suspect that there will, at least for some time, be limits to what Siri can do even after the forma macOS launch, especially as long as Spotlight survives.

When I asked Siri to „increase my screen brightness,“ it opened a System Preferences: Brightness slider box within Siri and told me „I made the screen a little brighter.“

Impressive.

When I asked Cortana the same question, it opened a Bing search result inside the Cortana box, which told me how to adjust screen brightness, but didn’t do it for me.

On the other hand, when I told Cortana to turn off my Wi-Fi, it turned it off, it returned a message of „Wi-Fi is now off“ and showed the setting to confirm.


Cortana and Siri Wi-Fi

On the left is how Cortana handles voice commands for turning on and off Wi-Fi. On the right is how Siri does it. When you turn off Wi-Fi (networking), you basically disable Siri.

Image: APPLE/MICROSOFT/COMPOSITE/MASHABLE

Siri can turn off Wi-Fi, too, but doing so also renders Siri for macOS useless. Unlike Cortana, it needs an Internet connection to work, which means once Siri on macOS has turned it off, you can’t use it to turn Wi-Fi back on. Even if you turn off network connectivity, Cortana will still be able to search your system.

Siri and Cortana excel at natural-language queries (asking questions in sentences), but Siri comes across as the smarter system.

It’s easy to check your schedule through both systems — you just need to ask one of them about your next appointment. However, Siri goes a big step further.


Siri on macOS

Changing you schedule should be this easy everywhere.

Image: apple

When I asked it about my next appointment, it showed me one for Thursday at 11:00 a.m. I then clicked the microphone icon below the calendar result and asked Siri, „Can you move that to 11:10.“ Siri responded, „Okay, I’ll make that change to your event. Shall I reschedule it?“ It then offered the option of confirming the change or cancelling it with my voice. Siri on macOS actually maintains the context between queries — that feels more like the future.

When I asked Cortana to make a similar change, it sent me to a Bing search result. (By the way, both voice assistants use Bing and neither will let you change it to Google.)

The level of conversational prowess in Siri could be a real game-changer and certainly puts Microsoft on notice.


macOS Siri

These are questions I can’t just ask Cortana.

Image: apple/composite/, mashable

Cortana and Siri on macOS both boast system access, but Siri does a better job of keeping track of system specs. I can ask about the speed of my system and how much iCloud storage I have left in Siri. Cortana, unfortunately, has no clue about my OneDrive storage and when I asked „How fast is my PC?“ I only got a Bing search result.

Where’s my stuff and who are you

Siri and Cortana each do a good job of finding system files that contain a keyword. For both, I asked, „Find me files with [keyword],“ and they both quickly showed me local, relevant results. Siri, however, excels at making results persistent. You can pin whatever you find to the notification center.


Cortana and Siri on macOS

On the left you can see that Cortana does a good job with image search, but won’t let me drag and drop from the window. On the right, Siri on macOS found me puppy pics and let me drag and drop one into an email that I plan to send to you.

Image: apple/microsoft/composite/mashable

Similarly, both voice assistants do a good job of finding images, but only Siri on macOS lets me drag and drop one of the image results into a document or email. When I tried to do the same thing with a Cortana result, it only dragged and dropped the HTML for the original query.

Siri did struggle with contacts. I tried initiating a text and got stuck in a sort of infinite loop — it just kept going back to asking me which of my duplicate contacts I wanted to text. This felt like a pre-release bug.

No winners yet

Since Apple is still working Siri for macOS, it’s way too soon to crown a voice-assistant champion. Even so, Siri on mac OS is already faster (Cortana’s voice recognition seems plodding by comparison) and it’s already outstripping Cortana on the intelligence front. On the other hand, Cortana truly shines when you can type into it, a feat impossible in Siri for macOS, unless you start in Spotlight and use one of the magic words to auto-launch Siri.

Microsoft, of course, has its own big Cortana update in the wings as part of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update due later this summer. It will increase Cortana’s intelligence and utility (order plane tickets, shop), but based on what I’ve seen in Siri for macOS, it may only help Cortana achieve parity on some features, while still leaving it trailing in others.

mashable.com/2016/06/22/siri-macos-vs-cortana

Apple will open Siri to developers

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Apple has big plans for Siri that will make the company’s famous assistant a lot more useful, according to a new report.

The company will soon open up Siri to developers with new software tools that will allow Siri to tap into more third-party services, according to a new report in The Information. Apple is also working on a new pice of a hardware, an Amazon Echo rival that will work with Apple’s smart home platform.

Apple plans to put Siri in the hands of developers with a new software development kit (SDK) that will reportedly be called the Siri SDK. The Siri SDK could launch at next months’s World Wide Developer Conference, where Apple typically previews the newest version of IOS and its latest developer tools.

The SDK will require „some work“ by developers to make their apps accessible by Siri, the report says.

Siri already works with a few third-party services, like Yelp and Bing, but hasn’t been widely available to developers since it was acquired by Apple in 2010. Prior to its acquisition, Siri worked with many third-party services. (Some of the original Siri team is now working on a new AI Assistant called Viv, which will also work with third-parties like Uber.)

Apple is also reportedly working on a new speaker that allows people to use voice commands to play music and control HomeKit-enabled smart home devices, like lights, locks and thermostats. It’s unclear if the speaker will also be unveiled at WWDC in June, as Apple typically reserves new hardware for other events.

Though the new smart speaker sounds a lot like Amazon’s Echo and Google’s recently unveiled Google Assistant, Apple’s device predates both, according to The Information’s sources.

The report is just the latest sign that Apple has big plans for Siri next month. Earlier reports have suggested Apple will bring Siri to the Mac and — in what could very well be a hint of a Siri-themed WWDC — the company used Siri to reveal the dates of this year’s developer conference.

http://mashable.com/2016/05/24/apple-siri-sdk-report

Adam Cheyer, you just made Siri 10 times better – VIV Technologies

In the Interview with Adam Cheyer from Late 2013 TheIdea Innovation Agency asked Adam Cheyer, what’s next, we said, Viv, coming up soon. https://dieidee.eu/2013/10/30/siri-and-google-now-what-would-have-happened-to-siri-if-steve-jobs-was-still-alive/

See for yourself, how Viv is the future of Chatbots and personal digital Assistants,
Disrupt-Conference TechCrunch Siri-CEO Dag Kittlaus „Viv“ Technologies

How does it work?
It’s patented technology is called „dynamic program generation“.  The Bot does programming real-time, in the background. And it does integrate interfaces to other data sources and bots too.

The full video goes here:

Siri creator Adam Cheyer nets $22.5 million for an Artificial Intelligence that can learn on its own

Viv Labs, a startup launched by a team that helped build Siri, just pulled in $12.5 million to finance a digital assistant that is able to teach itself.

TechCrunch first reported that Viv Labs has closed a Series B round led by Iconiq Capital that pushes the company’s valuation to „north of nine figures.“

A spokesperson for the company confirmed the investment to Mashable but declined to comment further.

According to TechCrunch, the company was not in need of new capital but was interested in the possibility of working with Iconiq, which Forbes has described as an „exclusive members-only Silicon Valley billionaires club.“ Together with a previous $10 million Series A round, the company has now raised a total of $22.5 million.

Unlike other digital assistants like Siri or Cortana, Viv can make up code on the fly, rather than relying on pre-programmed directives from developers.

Whereas Siri may be tripped up by questions or tasks it is not already programmed to understand, Viv can grasp natural language and link with a network of third-party information sources to answer a much wider range of queries or follow complex instructions.

Viv co-founders Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham previously served on the team that created Siri, which started as an iPhone app before Apple acquired it in 2010 for a reported $200 million.

“I’m extremely proud of Siri and the impact it’s had on the world, but in many ways it could have been more,” Kittlaus told Wired last year.

The cofounders told Wired that they hope to one day integrate Viv into everyday objects, in effect making it a voice-activated user interface for the much-hyped „Internet of Things.“

The company plans to widely distribute its software by licensing it out to any number of companies, instead of selling it to one exclusive buyer. One potential business model mentioned in the Wired report is charging a fee when companies using the service complete transactions with customers.

Viv Labs is reportedly working towards launching a beta version of the software sometime this year.

Source: http://mashable.com/2015/02/20/viv-funding/

The company behind Viv, a powerful form of AI built by Siri’s creators which is able to learn from the world to improve upon its capabilities, has just closed on $12.5 million in Series B funding. Multiple sources close to the matter confirm the round, which was oversubscribed and values the company at north of nine figures.

The funding was led by Iconiq Capital, the so-called “Silicon Valley billionaires club” that operates a cross between a family office and venture capital firm.

While Iconiq may not be a household name, a Forbes investigation into its client list revealed people like Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz and Sheryl Sandberg, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman and other big names were on its roster.

In addition to Iconiq, Li Ka-shing’s Horizons Ventures and Pritzker Group VC also participated along with several private individuals. This new round follows the company’s $10 million Series A from Horizons, bringing the total funding to date to $22.5 million.

Viv Labs declined to comment on the investment.

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 11.29.57 AM

We understand that Viv Labs was not in need of new capital, but was rather attracted to the possibilities that working with Iconiq Capital provided. It was a round that was more “opportunistic” in nature, and was executed to accelerate the vision for the Viv product, which is meant to not only continue Siri’s original vision, but to actually surpass it in a number of areas.

Viv’s co-founders, Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham, had previously envisioned Siri as an AI interface that would become the gateway to the entire Internet, parsing and understanding people’s queries which were spoken using natural language.

When Siri first launched its product, it supported 45 services, but ultimately the team wanted to expand it with the help of third parties to access the tens of thousands of APIs available on the Internet today.

That didn’t come to pass, because Apple ended up acquiring Siri instead for $200 million back in 2010. The AI revolution the team once sought was left unfinished, and Siri became a device-centric product – one that largely connects users to Apple’s services and other iOS features. Siri can only do what it’s been programmed to do, and when it doesn’t know an answer, it kicks you out to the web.

Siri

Of course, Apple should be credited for seeing the opportunity to bring an AI system like Siri to the masses, by packaging it up and marketing it so people could understand its value. Siri investor Gary Morgenthaler, a partner at Morgenthaler Ventures, who also invested personally in Viv Labs’ new round, agrees.

“Now 500 million people globally have access to Siri,” he says. “More than 200 million people use it monthly, and more than 100 million people use it every day. By my count, that’s the fastest uptake of any technology in history – faster than DVD, faster than smartphones – it’s just amazing,” Morgenthaler adds.

But Siri today is limited. While she’s able to perform simpler tasks, like checking your calendar or interacting with apps like OpenTable, she struggles to piece information together. She can’t answer questions that she hasn’t already been programmed to understand.

Viv is different. It can parse natural language and complex queries, linking different third-party sources of information together in order to answer the query at hand. And it does so quickly, and in a way that will make it an ideal user interface for the coming Internet of Things — that is, the networked, everyday objects that we’ll interact with using voice commands.

Wired article about Viv and its creators described the system as one that will be “taught by the world, know more than it was taught and it will learn something new everyday.”

Morgenthaler, who says he’s seen Viv in action, calls it “impressive.”

“It does what it claims to do,” he says. The part that still needs to be put into action, however, is the most crucial: Viv needs to be programmed by the world in order to really come to life.

Beyond Siri

While to some extent, Viv is the next iteration of Siri in terms of this vision of connecting people to a world of knowledge that’s accessed via voice commands, in many ways it’s very different. It’s potentially much more powerful than other intelligent assistants accessed by voice, including not only Siri, but also Google Now, Microsoft’s Cortana or Amazon’s Alexa.

Unlike Siri, the system is not static. Viv will have memory.

“It will understand its users in the aggregate, with respect to their language, their behavior, and their intent,” explains Morgenthaler. But it will also understand you and your own behavior and preferences, he says. “It will adjust its weighting and probabilities so it gets things right more often. So it will learn from its experiences in that regard,” he says.

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 11.29.04 AM

In Wired’s profile, Viv was described as being valuable to the service economy, ordering an Uber for you because you told the system “I’m drunk,” for example, or making all the arrangements for your Match.com date including the car, the reservations and even flowers.

Another option could be booking flights for business travelers, who speak multi-part queries like “I want a short flight to San Francisco with a return three days later via Dallas.” Viv would show you your options and you’d tell it to book the ticket – which it would proceed to do for you, already knowing things like your seat and meal preferences as well as your frequent flyer number.

Also unlike Siri today, Viv will be open to third-party developers. And it will be significantly easier for developers to add new functionality to Viv, as compared to Siri in the past. This openness will allow Viv to add new domains of knowledge to its “global brain” more quickly.

Having learned from their experiences with Apple, the Viv Labs team is not looking to sell its AI to a single company but instead is pursuing a business model where Viv will be made available to anyone with the goal of becoming a ubiquitous technology. In the future, if the team succeeds, a Viv icon may be found on Internet-connected devices, informing you of the device’s AI capabilities.

For that reason, the investment by Iconiq makes sense, given its clients run some of the largest Internet companies today.

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We understand that Viv will launch a beta of its software sometime this year, which will be the first step towards having it “programmed by the world.”

Morgenthaler says there’s no question that the team can deliver – after all, they took Siri from the whiteboard to a “world-changing technology” in just 28 months, he notes. The questions instead for Viv Labs are around scalability and its ability to bring in developers. It needs to deliver on all these big promises to users, and generate sufficient interest from the wider developer community. It also needs to find a distribution path and partners who will help bring it to market — again, things that Iconiq can help with.

But Viv Labs is not alone in pursing its goal. Google bought AI startup DeepMind for over half a billion, has since gone on to aqui-hire more AI teams and, as Wired noted, has also hired AI legends Geoffrey Hinton and Ray Kurzweil to join its company.

Viv may not deliver on its full vision right out of the gate, but its core engine has been built at this point and it works. Plus, the timing for AI’s next step feels right.

“The idea of embedding a microphone and Internet access is plummeting in price,” says Morgenthaler. “If access to global intelligence and the ability to recognize you, recognize your speech, understand what you said, and provide you services in an authenticated way – if that is available, that’s really transformative.”

Source: http://techcrunch.com/2015/02/20/viv-built-by-siris-creators-scores-12-5-million-for-an-ai-technology-that-can-teach-itself/

Siri’s Inventors Are Building a New Artificial Intelligence That Does Anything You Ask

Siri14_1

Viv was named after the Latin root meaning live. Its San Jose, California, offices are decorated with tsotchkes bearing the numbers six and five (VI and V in roman numerals). Ariel Zambelich

When Apple announced the iPhone 4S on October 4, 2011, the headlines were not about its speedy A5 chip or improved camera. Instead they focused on an unusual new feature: an intelligent assistant, dubbed Siri. At first Siri, endowed with a female voice, seemed almost human in the way she understood what you said to her and responded, an advance in artificial intelligence that seemed to place us on a fast track to the Singularity. She was brilliant at fulfilling certain requests, like “Can you set the alarm for 6:30?” or “Call Diane’s mobile phone.” And she had a personality: If you asked her if there was a God, she would demur with deft wisdom. “My policy is the separation of spirit and silicon,” she’d say.

Over the next few months, however, Siri’s limitations became apparent. Ask her to book a plane trip and she would point to travel websites—but she wouldn’t give flight options, let alone secure you a seat. Ask her to buy a copy of Lee Child’s new book and she would draw a blank, despite the fact that Apple sells it. Though Apple has since extended Siri’s powers—to make an OpenTable restaurant reservation, for example—she still can’t do something as simple as booking a table on the next available night in your schedule. She knows how to check your calendar and she knows how to use Open­Table. But putting those things together is, at the moment, beyond her.

Now a small team of engineers at a stealth startup called Viv Labs claims to be on the verge of realizing an advanced form of AI that removes those limitations. Whereas Siri can only perform tasks that Apple engineers explicitly implement, this new program, they say, will be able to teach itself, giving it almost limitless capabilities. In time, they assert, their creation will be able to use your personal preferences and a near-infinite web of connections to answer almost any query and perform almost any function.

“Siri is chapter one of a much longer, bigger story,” says Dag Kittlaus, one of Viv’s cofounders. He should know. Before working on Viv, he helped create Siri. So did his fellow cofounders, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham.

For the past two years, the team has been working on Viv Labs’ product—also named Viv, after the Latin root meaning live. Their project has been draped in secrecy, but the few outsiders who have gotten a look speak about it in rapturous terms. “The vision is very significant,” says Oren Etzioni, a renowned AI expert who heads the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. “If this team is successful, we are looking at the future of intelligent agents and a multibillion-dollar industry.”

Viv is not the only company competing for a share of those billions. The field of artificial intelligence has become the scene of a frantic corporate arms race, with Internet giants snapping up AI startups and talent. Google recently paid a reported $500 million for the UK deep-learning company DeepMind and has lured AI legends Geoffrey Hinton and Ray Kurzweil to its headquarters in Mountain View, California. Facebook has its own deep-learning group, led by prize hire Yann LeCun from New York University. Their goal is to build a new generation of AI that can process massive troves of data to predict and fulfill our desires.

Viv strives to be the first consumer-friendly assistant that truly achieves that promise. It wants to be not only blindingly smart and infinitely flexible but omnipresent. Viv’s creators hope that some day soon it will be embedded in a plethora of Internet-connected everyday objects. Viv founders say you’ll access its artificial intelligence as a utility, the way you draw on electricity. Simply by speaking, you will connect to what they are calling “a global brain.” And that brain can help power a million different apps and devices.

“I’m extremely proud of Siri and the impact it’s had on the world, but in many ways it could have been more,” Cheyer says. “Now I want to do something bigger than mobile, bigger than consumer, bigger than desktop or enterprise. I want to do something that could fundamentally change the way software is built.”

Viv labs is tucked behind an unmarked door on a middle floor of a generic glass office building in downtown San Jose. Visitors enter into a small suite and walk past a pool table to get to the single conference room, glimpsing on the way a handful of engineers staring into monitors on trestle tables. Once in the meeting room, Kittlaus—a product-whisperer whose career includes stints at Motorola and Apple—is usually the one to start things off.

He acknowledges that an abundance of voice-navigated systems already exists. In addition to Siri, there is Google Now, which can anticipate some of your needs, alerting you, for example, that you should leave 15 minutes sooner for the airport because of traffic delays. Microsoft, which has been pursuing machine-learning techniques for decades, recently came out with a Siri-like system called Cortana. Amazon uses voice technology in its Fire TV product.

But Kittlaus points out that all of these services are strictly limited. Cheyer elaborates: “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?’” The system may have the data for both these components, but it has no ability to put them together, either to answer a query or to make a smart suggestion. Like Siri, it can’t do anything that coders haven’t explicitly programmed it to do.

Viv breaks through those constraints by generating its own code on the fly, no programmers required. Take a complicated command like “Give me a flight to Dallas with a seat that Shaq could fit in.” Viv will parse the sentence and then it will perform its best trick: automatically generating a quick, efficient program to link third-party sources of information together—say, Kayak, SeatGuru, and the NBA media guide—so it can identify available flights with lots of legroom. And it can do all of this in a fraction of a second.

Viv is an open system that will let innumerable businesses and applications become part of its boundless brain. The technical barriers are minimal, requiring brief “training” (in some cases, minutes) for Viv to understand the jargon of the specific topic. As Viv’s knowledge grows, so will its understanding; its creators have designed it based on three principles they call its “pillars”: It will be taught by the world, it will know more than it is taught, and it will learn something every day. As with other AI products, that teaching involves using sophisticated algorithms to interpret the language and behavior of people using the system—the more people use it, the smarter it gets. By knowing who its users are and which services they interact with, Viv can sift through that vast trove of data and find new ways to connect and manipulate the information.

Kittlaus says the end result will be a digital assistant who knows what you want before you ask for it. He envisions someone unsteadily holding a phone to his mouth outside a dive bar at 2 am and saying, “I’m drunk.” Without any elaboration, Viv would contact the user’s preferred car service, dispatch it to the address where he’s half passed out, and direct the driver to take him home. No further consciousness required.

Siri14_2

The founders of a stealth startup called Viv Labs—Adam Cheyer, Dag Kittlaus, and Chris Brigham—are building a Siri-like digital assistant that can process massive troves of data, teach itself, and write its own programs on the fly. The goal: to predict and fulfill our desires. Ariel Zambelich

If Kittlaus is in some ways the Steve Jobs of Viv—he is the only non-engineer on the 10-person team and its main voice on strategy and marketing—Cheyer is the company’s Steve Wozniak, the project’s key scientific mind. Unlike the whimsical creator of the Apple II, though, Cheyer is aggressively analytical in every facet of his life, even beyond the workbench. As a kid, he was a Rubik’s Cube champion, averaging 26 seconds a solution. When he encountered programming, he dove in headfirst. “I felt that computers were invented for me,” he says. And while in high school he discovered a regimen to force the world to bend to his will. “I live my life by what I call verbally stated goals,” he says. “I crystallize a feeling, a need, into words. I think about the words, and I tell everyone I meet, ‘This is what I’m doing.’ I say it, and then I believe it. By telling people, you’re committed to it, and they help you. And it works. ”

He says he used the technique to land his early computing jobs, including the most significant—at SRI International, a Menlo Park think tank that invented the concept of computer windows and the mouse. It was there, in the early 2000s, that Cheyer led the engineering of a Darpa-backed AI effort to build “a humanlike system that could sense the world, understand it, reason about it, plan, communicate, and act.” The SRI-led team built what it called a Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes, or CALO. They set some AI high-water marks, not least being the system’s ability to understand natural language. As the five-year program wound down, it was unclear what would happen next.

That was when Kittlaus, who had quit his job at Motorola, showed up at SRI as an entrepreneur in residence. When he saw a CALO-related prototype, he told Cheyer he could definitely build a business from it, calling it the perfect complement to the just-released iPhone. In 2007, with SRI’s blessing, they licensed the technology for a startup, taking on a third cofounder, an AI expert named Tom Gruber, and eventually renaming the system Siri.

The small team, which grew to include Chris Brigham, an engineer who had impressed Cheyer on CALO, moved to San Jose and worked for two years to get things right. “One of the hardest parts was the natural language understanding,” Cheyer says. Ultimately they had an iPhone app that could perform a host of interesting tasks—call a cab, book a table, get movie tickets—and carry on a conversation with brio. They released it publicly to users in February 2010. Three weeks later, Steve Jobs called. He wanted to buy the company.

“I was shocked at how well he knew our app,” Cheyer says. At first they declined to sell, but Jobs persisted. His winning argument was that Apple could expose Siri to a far wider audience than a startup could reach. He promised to promote it as a key element on every iPhone. Apple bought the company in April 2010 for a reported $200 million.

The core Siri team came to Apple with the project. But as Siri was honed into a product that millions could use in multiple languages, some members of the original team reportedly had difficulties with executives who were less respectful of their vision than Jobs was. Kitt­laus left Apple the day after the launch—the day Steve Jobs died. Cheyer departed several months later. “I do feel if Steve were alive, I would still be at Apple,” Cheyer says. “I’ll leave it at that.” (Gruber, the third Siri cofounder, remains at Apple.)

After several months, Kittlaus got back in touch with Cheyer and Brigham. They asked one another what they thought the world would be like in five years. As they drew ideas on a whiteboard in Kittlaus’ house, Brigham brought up the idea of a program that could put the things it knows together in new ways. As talks continued, they lit on the concept of a cloud-based intelligence, a global brain. “The only way to make this ubiquitous conversational assistant is to open it up to third parties to allow everyone to plug into it,” Brigham says.

In retrospect, they were re-creating Siri as it might have evolved had Apple never bought it. Before the sale, Siri had partnered with around 45 services, from AllMenus.com to Yahoo; Apple had rolled Siri out with less than half a dozen. “Siri in 2014 is less capable than it was in 2010,” says Gary Morgenthaler, one of the funders of the original app.

Cheyer and Brigham tapped experts in various AI and coding niches to fill out their small group. To produce some of the toughest parts—the architecture to allow Viv to understand language and write its own programs—they brought in Mark Gabel from the University of Texas at Dallas. Another key hire was David Gondek, one of the creators of IBM’S Watson.

Funding came from Solina Chau, the partner (in business and otherwise) of the richest man in China, Li Ka-shing. Chau runs the venture firm Horizons Ventures. In addition to investing in Facebook, DeepMind, and
Summly (bought by Yahoo), it helped fund the original Siri. When Viv’s founders asked Chau for $10 million, she said, “I’m in. Do you want me to wire it now?”

It’s early May, and Kittlaus is addressing the team at its weekly engineering meeting. “You can see the progress,” he tells the group, “see it get closer to the point where it just works.” Each engineer delineates the advances they’ve made and next steps. One explains how he has been refining Viv’s response to “Get me a ticket to the cheapest flight from SFO to Charles de Gaulle on July 2, with a return flight the following Monday.” In the past week, the engineer added an airplane-seating database. Using a laptop-based prototype of Viv that displays a virtual phone screen, he speaks into the microphone. Lufthansa Flight 455 fits the bill. “Seat 61G is available according to your preferences,” Viv replies, then purchases the seat using a credit card.

Viv’s founders don’t see it as just one product tied to a hardware manufacturer. They see it as a service that can be licensed. They imagine that everyone from TV manufacturers and car companies to app developers will want to incorporate Viv’s AI, just as PC manufacturers once clamored to boast of their Intel microprocessors. They envision its icon joining the pantheon of familiar symbols like Power On, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.

“Intelligence becomes a utility,” Kittlaus says. “Boy, wouldn’t it be nice if you could talk to everything, and it knew you, and it knew everything about you, and it could do everything?”

That would also be nice because it just might provide Viv with a business model. Kittlaus thinks Viv could be instrumental in what he calls “the referral economy.” He cites a factoid about Match.com that he learned from its CEO: The company arranges 50,000 dates a day. “What Match.com isn’t able to do is say, ‘Let me get you tickets for something. Would you like me to book a table? Do you want me to send Uber to pick her up? Do you want me to have flowers sent to the table?’” Viv could provide all those services—in exchange for a cut of the transactions that resulted.

Building that ecosystem will be a difficult task, one that Viv Labs could hasten considerably by selling out to one of the Internet giants. “Let me just cut through all the usual founder bullshit,” Kittlaus says. “What we’re really after is ubiquity. We want this to be everywhere, and we’re going to consider all paths along those lines.” To some associated with Viv Labs, selling the company would seem like a tired rerun. “I’m deeply hoping they build it,” says Bart Swanson, a Horizons adviser on Viv Labs’ board. “They will be able to control it only if they do it themselves.”

Whether they will succeed, of course, is not certain. “Viv is potentially very big, but it’s all still potential,” says Morgenthaler, the original Siri funder. A big challenge, he says, will be whether the thousands of third-party components work together—or whether they clash, leading to a confused Viv that makes boneheaded errors. Can Viv get it right? “The jury is out, but I have very high confidence,” he says. “I only have doubt as to when and how.”

Most of the carefully chosen outsiders who have seen early demos are similarly confident. One is Vishal Sharma, who until recently was VP of product for Google Now. When Cheyer showed him how Viv located the closest bottle of wine that paired well with a dish, he was blown away. “I don’t know any system in the world that could answer a question like that,” he says. “Many things can go wrong, but I would like to see something like this exist.”

Indeed, many things have to go right for Viv to make good on its founders’ promises. It has to prove that its code-making skills can scale to include petabytes of data. It has to continually get smarter through omnivorous learning. It has to win users despite not having a preexisting base like Google and Apple have. It has to lure developers who are already stressed adapting their wares to multiple platforms. And it has to be as seductive as Scarlett Johansson in Her so that people are comfortable sharing their personal information with a robot that might become one of the most important forces in their lives.

The inventors of Siri are confident that their next creation will eclipse the first. But whether and when that will happen is a question that even Viv herself cannot answer. Yet.

Siri14_3

Source: http://www.wired.com/2014/08/viv/

Siri challenges Google’s entire search empire and shakes it to the foundation

Noch vor zwei Wochen gab Steve Wozniak in seinem Interview bekannt, er wünsche sich „Answer Engines“. Jetzt ist dieser Begriff das Buzz Word im Silicon Valley.

Apple brachte mit der Einführung des Iphone 4S (for Steve) die Spracherkennungssoftware Siri unter die IOS 5 Nutzer.

Welches Innovationspotential liegt dahinter? Mr. Morgenthaler klärt auf.

  • „Siri’s threat to Google could reach further than Android. In fact, Siri challenges Google’s entire search empire and shakes it to the foundation“
  • “Google has made a huge contribution to all of our lives … they’ve made search comprehensive and instantaneous … but the whole paradigm is wrong,” “[People] don’t want a million blue links, they want one correct answer. All the rest is noise that you’d rather have go away.“
  • “Apple has the opportunity to really understand the question that you’re asking, and apply semantic knowledge such that [Siri] will deliver you the right answer, or a small set of highly relevant answers.”
  • When that happens, Morgenthaler says, all the steps that typically comprise an online search, including the ads served against search results, become completely irrelevant.
  • He believes Apple can and will circumvent this search experience, passing consumers to merchants by way of Siri — and earning a finders fee for doing so. Under this paradigm, Google could be completely forgotten.
  • In short, forget the search engine — Siri will be an answer engine. She can perform executable actions and change consumer expectations in the process.

Was ist siri? Welche technik steckt dahinter?
Die Technologie, die Apple vor einiger Zeit erwart, stammt aus militärischer Forschung und sollte Soldaten erlauben, im Kampf die Hände frei zu halten und trotzdem ihre Ausrüstung steuern zu können.

Seit wann spukt der Spirit von Siri schon in den Köpfen der Apple Entwickler?
ein sehr interessanter Fund aus dem Jahr 1987 (!), eines offiziellen Apple-Produktvideos

 

 

  • the “Knowledge Navigator” — a suped-up, tuxedo-ed personal assistant that users manipulate by way of voice and touch. According to the video, the personal assistant connects with all the major networks, features two-way videoconferencing, and helps you keep appointments, find, converge, and share documents — the works. It’s quite a feat considering the Apple IIGS had just been released the previous year.
  • Basically, The Knowledge Navigator predicts touch technology, the iPad, iPhone, Skype, FaceTime — and Siri. All in one talking, well-dressed device. The savvy technologists among us may be well aware of the progenitors and technological precursors to these devices and services, but here we have very real confirmation that Siri (and Apple products as a whole) have been in gestation in the minds of Apple’s wizards since (at least) 1987.

Quellen:
http://mashable.com/2011/10/28/apple-google-smartphone-war/
http://derstandard.at/1319181424202/Verkaufsstart-iPhone-4S-Siri-tritt-ihren-Dienst-an
http://techcrunch.com/2011/10/05/siri-ous-mind-blowing-video-evidence-of-apples-prophetic-past-circa-1987/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGYFEI6uLy0