Viv Creators Aim to Take Digital Assistants to Higher Level

Today's topics include the introduction of Viv, a next-level digital assistant, news that Apple's CEO traveled to China to improve business relations, the rollout of a new vulnerability scanning tool from Docker and the launch of Microsoft's Project Server 2016 project and portfolio management tool.

Since Apple's introduction of Siri on Oct. 4, 2011, a handful of tech companies— including Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook—have introduced competing artificial intelligence-guided digital assistants.

But who better to outdo Siri than Siri's own creators, AI experts Dag Kittlaus and Adam Cheyer. On May 9, at TechCrunch Disrupt New York, Kittlaus gave a 20-minute presentation of Viv, a digital assistant that has, far more than its competitors, a life of its own.

Viv, said Kittlaus during his demonstration, doesn't just follow a path to get to where it intellectually needs to go, in the way that Siri, when asked the time a store opens, may pull up the Website of the store. Viv instead writes her own code.

Apple CEO Tim Cook will travel to China later this month for talks with government leaders as the company works to resolve ongoing crackdowns and sales disruptions in what is its second-largest market in the world.

Cook's trip is one of many he has made to China since becoming Apple's CEO five years ago, but this one is more significant because of actions taken against the company in recent months.

"During his China visit, Cook plans to meet senior government and Communist Party leaders—including officials in charge of propaganda," said a source who is familiar with the matter but who declined to be named as the plan is not public yet, according to a May 6 story by Reuters.

Among the big pieces of news that Docker Inc. announced at its DockerCon EU conference last November was its Project Nautilus effort to scan Docker repositories for security vulnerabilities.

Now six months later, the company is making Nautilus generally available under the product name Docker Security Scanning with the goal of helping developers and enterprises find and identify known vulnerabilities in Docker container images.

And Docker is complementing the new security product with an update to Docker Bench, a container best practices security tool, further improving the overall security tooling for Docker.

Project Server 2016, Microsoft's project and portfolio management software, is generally available, the company announced on May 5, just a day after the official launch of its cloud-inspired SharePoint Server 2016.

The timing is somewhat fitting, considering that both platforms are now tightly linked, speeding deployments and enabling organizations to consolidate the number of systems required to run both.

"In Project Server 2016, all the project data is stored alongside the SharePoint data in the SharePoint content database," wrote the Microsoft Project team in a blog post.

"This simplifies the administration of the SharePoint farm since each Project Web App site no longer requires a dedicated database that needs to be maintained. This reduces IT overhead and improves the backup and restore story."

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