Ahead of the March 29 launch of its next flagship smartphone, Samsung has confirmed that the Galaxy S8 will have a new voice-driven digital assistant named Bixby, molded by artificial intelligence. S8 owners will be able to summon Bixby on the phone at the press of a button.
Samsung revealed some general details on Bixby in a blog posted Monday by InJong Rhee, the company’s executive vice president and head of R&D, for software and services.
Rhee did not mention in his post whether Samsung will leverage the conversational-based voice technology developed by Viv Labs, a startup Samsung bought in October. Viv was co-founded by the human brains behind Siri.
Rhee promised that Bixby will be “fundamentally different from other voice agents or assistants in the market,” without explicitly mentioning rivals Siri, Cortana, Alexa and the Microsoft Assistant, or even the S-Voice feature on current Samsung handsets.
“Instead of humans learning how the machine interacts with the world (a reflection of the abilities of designers), it is the machine that needs to learn and adapt to us,” Rhee wrote. “The interface must be natural and intuitive enough to flatten the learning curve regardless of the number of functions being added. With this new approach, Samsung has employed artificial intelligence, reinforcing deep learning concepts to the core of our user interface designs. Bixby is the ongoing result of this effort.”
According to Rhee, “users will be able to call upon Bixby at any time and it will understand the current context and state of the application and will allow users to carry out the current work-in-progress continuously.”
What’s not known now, however, is how many applications at the outset will be able to take advantage of Bixby. Rhee said there will be a subset of preinstalled Bixby-enabled apps at launch, with more to come over time, especially as Samsung releases a tool that will let third parties develop their own Bixby-capable apps and services.
“Bixby will be smart enough to understand commands with incomplete information and execute the commanded task to the best of its knowledge, and then will prompt users to provide more information and take the execution of the task in piecemeal.”
While Samsung unleashes Bixby on the phone, it plans to spread the AI assistant in the future to all of its appliances, from air conditioners to TVs.
“Since Bixby will be implemented in the cloud, as long as a device has an Internet connection and simple circuitry to receive voice inputs, it will be able to connect with Bixby,” Rhee wrote. “As the Bixby ecosystem grows, we believe Bixby will evolve from a smartphone interface to an interface for your life.” Source: usatoday