Apple's Siri voice recognition technology may be the culmination of the efforts from a long list of engineers, but it's also just the beginning. Part of the Siri development team has spun off to form their own company where they're working on a new voice recognition system that's more like Tony Stark's J.A.R.V.I.S. than asking your iPhone for a weather update.
The voice control technology, dubbed Viv, is in development at Viv Labs, co-founded by Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer, and Chris Brigham. All three were part of the original Siri team, but left after iOS 6 rolled out, according to Wired. The three had a vision for the next level in computer voice control, a system that can learn, and have been working on making that a reality for the past two years.
Tony Stark has J.A.R.V.I.S. and soon we may have Viv
The idea behind Viv is that by developing an artificial intelligence system, our smartphones and computers can interact with us more efficiently and handle tasks that are currently beyond Siri's scope -- like sorting out our schedules and then booking a dinner reservation without our interaction. Currently Siri can look at your schedule, and make reservations through OpenTable, but it can't put the two tasks together.
Assuming Viv Labs can bring its vision to life, so to speak, our electronic devices could reach a point where interacting with them is more like dealing with a real personal assistant instead of speaking basic commands to our smartphones.
"Siri is chapter one of a much longer, bigger story,” Mr. Kittlaus said.
The next chapter goes beyond Siri's reaction-based system, meaning it performs tasks after we give it commands instead of anticipating our needs. Viv intends to take that to the next level where the system learns about us so it can predict our needs and actively work to help us instead of merely responding to our requests.
Imagine being able to say, "Viv, I have a meeting at the New York office next Tuesday. Can you take care of my flight and hotel?" Or even better, Viv could see a meeting request in your incoming email, and then ask if it should book your flight and hotel now.
The team is designing Viv as an open platform so it won't be limited to a single device or company. Where Viv is limited, at least for now, is to the company's labs. The system is still in development and the team isn't saying when they think Viv will be ready to venture outside of their own offices.
For now, we'll have to make due with Siri. That said, only two years ago the idea of speaking conversationally to our smartphones every day was still little more than science fiction.