“Buy a present for my wife” said Jan to the phone


This year St. Valentine’s Day caught millions of men by surprise, again, leaving them wondering what present to buy for their partners. What if somebody or something could perform this burdensome task in a timely manner? There might be a solution…

Viv

Viv is an intelligent personal assistant introduced to the market on May 9, 216 and acquired by Samsung in October 2016. Similar products such as Siri, Google Now, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa can perform some basic tasks but nothing beyond the tasks they’ve been programmed to do. Due to artificial intelligence, Viv can generate code by itself and learn about the world as it gets exposed to more user requests and new information.

This makes it by no means a universal product. Viv is expected to learn and store information about every user, and learn with time how to serve him or her personally. For example, if the owner asks: “I need to buy a present for my life for St. Valentine’s Day”, Viv should be able to predict what a suitable present would be or perhaps book a table for two at a fancy restaurant downtown.

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Source: Financial Times

Some additional advantages of Viv are:

  • simultaneously connected to various platforms and online resources
  • available on all of the user’s devices
  • operates autonomously

Viv’s business model

Samsung plans to launch Viv on Galaxy S8 smartphone as a substitution of Samsung’s current virtual assistant. In the long-term, the assistant service will expand to other products such as home appliances and wearables.

The adopted business model is highly effective for all parties (value co-creators):

  • customers invest time but get a highly-personalized assistant
  • collaborating merchants (service suppliers) can attract more customers
  • the app is open to developers interested in contributing (unlike similar apps)

However, if Viv expands to other products and brands, as initially planned (also explained in the provided video), Viv’s creators should consider adopting a more profitable business model. The firm can either charge companies that incorporate the service into their products or charge merchants for ads/transactions. Viv has a potential to turn into a smart talking recommendation system similar to Google – offering advertisement together with regular recommendations. If it has the power to make some simple decisions, Viv will represent a huge potential for advertising as it will have the power to choose a service provider on behalf of the user.


Source: Tech Crunch

Legal and ethical questions

If Viv is as smart and autonomous as advertised, would it be held responsible for its decisions? As the technology gets more intelligent, what is the limit of intelligence it can reach before it starts thinking as a human or that it is a human? How about potential privacy and security issues? The current legal system needs to evolve to accommodate the changes Viv will bring.

Millions of questions regarding the novel technology remain unanswered. Until it starts functioning as intended and all legal and ethical questions get clarified, millions of men will just keep buying red roses for St. Valentine’s Day.

References

Ft.com. (2015). Artificial intelligence: A virtual assistant for life. [online] Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/4f2f97ea-b8ec-11e4-b8e6-00144feab7de [Accessed 15 Feb. 2017].

Kovach, S. (2016). Samsung’s latest purchase is its smartest yet. [online] Business Insider. Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com/why-samsung-bought-viv-2016-10?international=true&r=US&IR=T [Accessed 13 Feb. 2017].

Levy, S. (2014). Siri’s Inventors Are Building a Radical New AI That Does Anything You Ask. [online] WIRED. Available at: https://www.wired.com/2014/08/viv/ [Accessed 14 Feb. 2017].

Perez, S. (2015). Viv, Built By Siri’s Creators, Scores $12.5 Million For An AI Technology That Can Teach Itself. [online] TechCrunch. Available at: https://techcrunch.com/2015/02/20/viv-built-by-siris-creators-scores-12-5-million-for-an-ai-technology-that-can-teach-itself/ [Accessed 13 Feb. 2017].

Popper, B. (2016). The creators of Siri just showed off their next AI assistant, Viv, and it’s incredible. [online] The Verge. Available at: http://www.theverge.com/2016/5/9/11639992/viv-digital-assistant-ai-artificial-intelligence-siri [Accessed 13 Feb. 2017].

Reuters. (2016). Samsung to launch AI digital assistant service for Galaxy S8. [online] Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-samsung-elec-smartphones-idUSKBN13101Q?il=0 [Accessed 14 Feb. 2017].

YouTube. (2016). Beyond Siri: The World Premiere of Viv with Dag Kittlaus. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rblb3sptgpQ [Accessed 15 Feb. 2017].

Viv.ai. (2016). Viv. [online] Available at: http://viv.ai/ [Accessed 12 Feb. 2017].

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