Artificial Intelligence Vendor Viv Labs Acquired by Samsung

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2016-10-07 Print this article Print
Viv Labs, AI, artificial intelligence, Samsung, Siri

Samsung bought Viv Labs to add more AI capabilities to its product line as the technology gathers more interest from consumers.

Samsung has acquired Viv Labs, an artificial intelligence company started by the creators of Apple's Siri digital assistant, to bolster AI capabilities in its smartphones and other consumer products.

The deal, which was announced by Samsung on Oct. 6, will be used to broaden an AI-based open ecosystem across all of its devices and services, the company said in a statement. "With Viv, Samsung will be able to unlock and offer new service experiences for its customers, including one that simplifies user interfaces, understands the context of the user and offers the user the most appropriate and convenient suggestions and recommendations," the company said.

Viv Labs' open AI platform lets third-party developers use and build conversational assistants and integrate a natural language-based interface into applications and services, which can extend mobile devices and services for users. Viv's platform allows developers to "teach" the system how to create new applications or to work with existing applications, according to Samsung.

The acquisition price for Viv Labs, which was created by two of the co-creators of Apple's Siri digital assistant, was not disclosed. Viv will remain a separate operation and will continue under its existing leadership, Samsung said. Viv was founded by Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham. Kittlaus and Cheyer co-created Siri.

"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," Injong Rhee, CTO of Samsung's mobile communications business, said in a statement. "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."

Viv is named after the Latin root for the word, live, and essentially writes its own code as it operates to generate its answers to inquiries, according to an earlier eWEEK story.

Viv uses a technology called Dynamic Program Generation to grasp the context of a question, and then creates word clouds and relationships between the items to figure out the information needed to answer it, the story reported. With each query, it has more to work with and grows smarter.

"At Viv, we're building the simplest way for anyone to talk to devices and services everywhere," Kittlaus said in a statement about the Samsung acquisition. "We see a future that is decidedly beyond apps—where you can get what you need quickly and easily no matter where you are, or what device you are near. Samsung offers us a unique opportunity to deliver a single conversational interface to the world's apps and services across a diverse range of products, at global scale."

Apple's Siri was introduced on Oct. 4, 2011.


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