Siri’s sequel beats the heck out of Apple’s AI assistant

Viv is going to blow you away!
Photo: Viv

Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer, creators of the artificial intelligence technology that brought Siri to the iPhone, today showcased a new virtual assistant that’s even more amazing.

Viv, which has been secretly in development for the past four years, is a much more open platform that works closely with a whole bunch of different services to be even more powerful than its predecessor, and to take AI to a whole new level.

Top venture capitalist says Apple should be focused on AI

Prepare for the Woz-pocalypse
The Apple execs of the future?
Photo: TriStar Pictures

Rightly or wrongly, Apple’s stock taking a prolonged plunge has opened the floodgates for people to hold court about what it is that Apple’s apparently doing wrong — and how the company can be righted again.

Today it was the turn of venture capitalist Fred Wilson, founder and managing partner of Union Square Ventures. His answer: that Apple is failing to invest enough in artificial intelligence and cloud cloud computing.

Ex-Apple designer builds easy-to-use artificial brain


The Brain by Mike Matas
Good call. We definitely want to teach the machines love before they become self-aware.
Photo: Mike Matas (via YouTube)

We may be a small step closer to the robot wars thanks to former Apple designer Mike Matas.

Matas’ previous work includes user interfaces for Apple’s Maps, Photos, and Camera apps, as well as the Nest smart thermostat. And he showed off his latest creation, an artificial brain called (appropriately enough) The Brain, via a quick demo on YouTube. It’s a neural network that with an expectedly sharp and clean interface, and in the video, he shows how he can teach The Brain to spit out emojis based on different shapes that he draws.

Check it out below.

RealDoll maker envisions a day your ‘companion’ will talk back to you


Her film Joaquin Phoenix
We don't know if A.I. plus RealDolls would make Spike Jonze's film Her more or less creepy.
Photo: Warner Bros.

This might be the most divisive news of the day: RealDoll creator Matt McMullen is currently working with artificial-intelligence scientists to create a fusion between digital assistants like Apple’s Siri and synthetic companions. It could be the most amazing news you’ve ever heard, or it might be terrifying and make you feel like spiders are crawling on you.

Regardless of how much or little it creeps you out, however, it’s definitely interesting.

Apple scoops up A.I. startup that analyzes users’ emotions


Less emojis, more AI.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

Apple’s latest acquisition is of a small artificial intelligence company called Emotient. The startup has technology that analyzes people’s emotions through their facial expressions.

Apple “buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” Apple’s spokeswoman told The Wall Street Journal. That’s the typical statement Apple gives when snatching up small companies.

It’s not clear yet what Apple has in mind for Emotient, but we sure can speculate.