Viv: Global AI Platform That Treats Intelligence as a Utility

The people who created Siri are now working on a new project called Viv – an AI that aims to understand and combine complex tasks.

Their goal is to turn their version of AI into something like a utility; people (as well as devices) would draw on Viv in the same way we draw on electricity.

A recent Wired article gives an interesting glimpse into the types of problems Viv aims to solve, and the team that’s trying to put all the pieces together.

He [cofounder Dag Kittlaus] envisions someone unsteadily holding a phone to his mouth outside a dive bar at 2 am and saying, “I’m drunk.” Without any elaboration, Viv would contact the user’s preferred car service, dispatch it to the address where he’s half passed out, and direct the driver to take him home. No further consciousness required.

I’ll skip over the usual Skynet jokes here, but want to pause briefly because there’s a reason we make those sorts of jokes. As excited as I am by the technology and the article, there’s a small part of me that hesitants and wonders if this is all a great idea or not.

This, of course, coming from a guy who’s going to try Soylent (well, whenever it arrives ) and who’s basically logging every iota of his car data.

I’m pretty fascinated by what Viv is aiming to do, and there’s a part of me that’s a little terrified of it. Right now I’m trying to figure out where I fall on AI in general. Will I always want a human to perform surgery on me? Probably. Were I to have lived at the advent of automobiles, would I have balked at a horseless carriage?

There’s a lot of trust we’d have to put into Viv (or some other AI), before it becomes an everyday common thing. A large part of that, I suppose, comes from the fact that whatever AI we interact with will have been crafted by regular people. Regular people who are, from time to time, fallible people.


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