Siri Creators Sell Viv AI Platform to Samsung

Samsung has acquired artificial intelligence platform Viv Labs.

Co-founded in 2012 by Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyer, and Chris Brigham—creators of Apple's Siri—the Viv voice-activated digital assistant debuted at May's TechCrunch Disrupt. Going forward, Viv will continue operating as an independent company, providing services to Samsung.

"AI will make mundane tasks easier to do, and approach user experience in a more personalized way," Viv CEO Kittlaus said in the spring. "When you ask your app or device for something, you won't have to explain every bit of detail each time. It starts to know you."

The AI platform gives developers and hardware makers the ability to infuse any product or interface with a conversational user interface: Less Facebook or Microsoft chat bot and more friendly robot communicator.

"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," Injong Rhee, CTO of Samsung's Mobile Communications business, said in a statement.

Exactly what the new partnership means for Samsung remains unclear. The Korean tech titan plans to integrate Viv into home appliances, wearables, and other devices for "conversational, personalized, and contextual" interactions.

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

"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," he added.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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