Samsung’s acquisition of Viv brings up questions about massive-scale AI
The war for mainstream AI dominance is raging. The latest episode was last week’s announcement of Samsung acquiring Viv, a hitherto under the radar startup working on building the next Siri. We take the opportunity to ponder on questions related to massive-scale AI.
The “ubiquitous” part of AI may sound visionary or scary, depending on which way you look at it. But it is in any case the end game for Viv, according to Viv’s (and previously, Siri’s) founder, Dag Kittlaus. That’s why Viv has chosen to partner with Samsung, the #1 vendor in mobile devices sold, also present in the market with a number of other devices ranging from TVs to refrigerators.
But besides being present on as many devices as possible, Viv also intends to build a developer ecosystem and utilize as many data sources as possible, and this is where it gets interesting from the data point of view. One of the things that allegedly makes Viv better than Siri is the ability to utilize more data sources.
Whether Google has beaten Viv to it already is an open question, albeit not one Viv would care to comment on: when asked to elaborate on questions regarding Viv’s use of data, Dag Kittlaus responded they’re “going to get back to work at this point”. And it’s a lot of work indeed to try and catch up with Google in what basically is a quest to use the web as a knowledge base.
In traditional AI systems, knowledge bases were typically centralized and curated, and assertions could have provenance and trustworthiness assigned to them. That doesn’t mean reasoning was trivial, or there were no issues associated with consistency. But going from that to an open environment like the web or an ecosystem where developers will be able to plug in their own facts is a cambrian explosion indeed.