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Siri’s creators poised to unveil Viv, a smart new virtual assistant

Viv Labs is set to debut its virtual assistant this Monday (9 May), promising a leap forward for artificial intelligence and a service to rival the likes of Siri, Cortana, and Google Now.

With so many companies competing to create the best digital assistant, why should we care about a new face on the block? Viv Labs co-founders Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham were responsible for birthing Apple’s own Siri – so we know they have a track record in this field. The trio left Apple shortly after to work on this project. “Viv” is intended to be an open platform which could span all kinds of technologies, unlike existing assistants such as Siri which is tied exclusively to iOS.

The other key difference that sets Viv apart from other personal assistants is its focus on natural human speech and its ability to teach itself. CEO Kittlaus says “it’s about taking the way that humans have naturally interacted with each other for thousands of years and applying that to the way they interact with services.” The team feel it’s important to create an intelligence that can understand normal speech and respond in an unscripted, conversational manner.

The Washington Post has a great long read about Viv Labs, showcasing how the team successfully initiated a complex pizza order through Viv without having to type a single word or use any third-party apps. Hopefully we’ll see more of these kind of real-world benefits demoed when Viv and the gang take the stage at Disrupt NY next week.

Read more: digital assistant revolution: what’s next for Siri & co?