Samsung Nabs Original Apple Siri Developers In Acqusition Of Viv AI Startup

Samsung could use a win right about now and it may have gotten one by agreeing to acquire Viv Labs, an interesting startup that developed a unique, open artificial intelligence platform that could end up putting Siri to shame. It's a valid comparison both because Viv is on track to become another digital assistant for mobile devices, and because Dag Kittlaus, one of the developers responsible for Siri (before Apple acquired it), co-founded Viv.

Kittlaus and fellow co-founders Adam Cheyer and Chris Brigham will work closely with Samsung's mobile communications team as part of the deal, but also independently under its existing leadership. So in other words, they'll continue to develop and flesh out a very promising AI platform, and Samsung will reap the rewards by integrating it into future devices.


"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," said Injong Rhee, CTO of the Mobile Communications business at Samsung Electronics. "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."

Consumer interaction with AI is becoming more commonplace by the day, though the technology can feel rough around the edges at times. This is one of the highlights of Viv. It has natural language recognition capabilities that allow it to follow a conversation, even when many different elements are involved. For example, Kittlaus earlier this year demonstrated Viv during a public unveiling  He asked Viv, "Will it be warmer than 70 degrees near the Golden Gate Bridge after 5 PM the day after tomorrow?," to which the AI tapped into Weather Underground to provide an answer.

"At Viv, we’re building the simplest way for anyone to talk to devices and services everywhere. 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," said Kittlaus. "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."

An obvious destination for Viv is in smartphones, though it appears Samsung also wants to integrate the technology into a range of smart devices for the home.