Will.i.am ventures into AI world with Omega, potential rival to Siri, Alexa

Grammy award-winning artist, will.i.am, hasn’t recorded an album in six years. Instead, he's dedicated all of his attention to artificial intelligence (AI).

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“I’ve been focused on traveling around the world raising money, going out hiring awesome talent and executing the vision of AI for people and communities,” he said.

His tech start-up, i.am+, has developed a voice-activated personal assistant called Omega, which he said is more advanced than Siri or Alexa. Unlike other devices, users can have a normal conversation with Omega when making requests, he said.

“You shouldn’t have to then talk like a robot to get things done,” Will “will.i.am” Adams said. “You should talk the way we are talking now, natural, and the system should understand you.”

The tech entrepreneur and Black Eyed Peas member showed off Omega during a live demo at Dreamforce, the annual Salesforce conference. During the demo, will.i.am displayed Omega’s ability to multitask by requesting information on singer-songwriter Rihanna. From there, he requested her next concert date and a restaurant reservation near the venue.

“I should be able to be listening to music and then find out information of who I’m listening to and that connects to maps and news,” he said. “And then, I should be able to shop and buy tickets or merchandise or products all in the form of a conversation.”

Omega’s “cross-domainability” is another selling point, he said. The seamless AI platform is intended to make life easier for businesses and employees.

“It’s like a whole new playing field for it to birth a whole new herd of innovation-solving problems,” he said.

His Los Angeles-based start-up, i.am+, has secured $117 million in new venture funds.

While some tech luminaries like Elon Musk and Bill Gates have warned of the dangers of AI, T-Mobile’s parent company Deutsche Telekom is embracing the technology by using Omega to provide online support for its customers.

“We’re building AI not to replace jobs, but to augment jobs. Not to replace people, but to amplify people,” will.i.am said.

With AI becoming a reality in the modern world, will.i.am is banking on Omega’s future growth.