The team behind Siri have a new idea: a voice-controlled personal assistant – linked to all your devices – that will take care of your every need
So I’ve arrived late at the office of Viv, an artificial intelligence company based in San Jose, California. I missed my train from San Francisco after dawdling leaving my apartment and then finding the taxi service app on my phone wouldn’t work. Dag Kittlaus, who I’ve kept waiting, looks on the bright side. “Your trials of getting here are a perfect illustration of how Viv will be helpful,” he says. “Wouldn’t it be nice to say ‘I need to get to San Jose, give me my options’ and Viv would know how close you are to the train station, when the next train is coming, where the nearest cars, how much it was going to cost…”
Kittlaus is the co-founder and CEO of Viv, a three-year-old AI startup backed by $30m, including funds from Iconiq Capital, which helps manage the fortunes of Mark Zuckerberg and other wealthy tech executives. In a blocky office building in San Jose’s downtown, the company is working on what Kittlaus describes as a “global brain” – a new form of voice-controlled virtual personal assistant. With the odd flashes of personality, Viv will be able to perform thousands of tasks, and it won’t just be stuck in a phone but integrated into everything from fridges to cars. “Tell Viv what you want and it will orchestrate this massive network of services that will take care of it,” he says.