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.
Misunderstandings and repeated requests are among the hurdles that everyone who uses Siri — or any digital assistant, for that matter — have to deal with to run things with their voice, but some groups have it even harder than others.
If I want to make the smartbulb in my bedroom lamp turn white, for example, Siri always interprets “Make the Bedroom white” as “Make the Bedroom light,” and I can’t even imagine why I would be saying that. I can say, “Make the Bedroom green” or any other color, and it will work. But in order to get that direct-sunlight jam happening, I have to be more specific, like, “Make the bedroom light white.” And that’s not the worst problem to have with miraculous future-tech, but it is kind of hard to say.
But it could be worse; I could belong to one of the groups that have difficulty having even the most basic of interactions with Siri. And their problems don’t stem the program’s occasional deafness but rather its inherent incompatibility with how they speak.
Microsoft Cortana is now officially available on Android and iOS following its beta run. The digital assistant, which has long been baked into Windows Phone and now Windows 10, hopes to compete with Siri and Google Now for a place on your device.
Microsoft released a completely revamped Bing app for iPhone today with a redesigned home page and a much larger emphasis on instant answers to search queries. Finding what you’re looking for now takes much less time. It’s possible that this release is a stepping stone to the iOS debut of Cortana, Microsoft’s answer to Google Now.