Samsung snaps up Siri makers’ new rival AI

6 Oct 2016

While most attention towards Samsung is focused at faulty phablet shenanigans of late, the South Korean tech giant has just made one of the more interesting AI acquisitions in recent years.

The last we heard from the makers of Siri was news of Viv, an artificial intelligence (AI) platform created by Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer after their surprise exit from Apple.

Siri is now a household name and, as Tim Cook’s company ploughs forward into an AI-backed world, it’s destined to reach greater heights of fame.

Samsung Siri Viv

However, when Siri joined the Apple empire in 2010, a lack of progression irked Kittlaus and Cheyer. They subsequently left and five years later, in May, revealed Viv as a very impressive rival.

Despite many liking what they saw, it was hard to know what something like Viv, or Siri, or any other equivalent could do on its own.

With Viv we can wonder no more, as Samsung has swooped in to buy the company this week to “showcase its commitment to virtual personal assistants”.

“Unlike other existing AI-based services, Viv has a sophisticated natural language understanding, machine learning capabilities and strategic partnerships that will enrich a broader service ecosystem,” said Injong Rhee, CTO of the mobile communications business at Samsung.

“Viv was built with both consumers and developers in mind. This dual focus is also what attracted us to Viv as an ideal candidate to integrate with Samsung home appliances, wearables and more, as the paradigm of how we interact with technology shifts to intelligent interfaces and voice control.”

Rhee said Samsung wants to introduce Viv into its smartphones in the second half of 2017, eventually extending it to other Samsung devices, including home appliances – which is where this type of technology will ultimately dominate.

Siri. Image: Hadrian/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic