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Brace Yourself, Disruption (Viv)

is coming.

1st June

“Today when I saw Viv on Tech crunch. I couldn’t help, but pull out my wallet throw money at my computer.”

If you don’t know what Viv is, check out their demo at tech crunch. But essentially Viv = Siri +Slack + Alexa.  Discovering Viv today, reminded me of when I first saw Slack. A powerful communication platform / interface that made my life simpler. It was an AI platform, I heard my colleges at work repeatedly say things like “There is a slack bot for everything” and to my amusement there literately was.


Then I could combine slack with tools like Zapier and IFTTT and suddenly, I had super powers, I could automate tasks that normally took hours.

But Slack had it’s share of problems. Firstly, I needed a screen and a keyboard, whether it was mobile or desktop. I still needed to type stuff. Considering the rise of IoT and the trend towards working anywhere. Slack wasn’t thinking end game. You can’t get a slack-enabled smart-car or slack enabled wearable.

Additionally chat bots didn’t care who the end users were, they were all the same in it’s opinion. There was very little context around the user.


As a huge fan of Gary Vaynerchuk I can already hear him screaming. Context is everything.

“If Content is King, then Context is God." — Gary Vaynerchuk

This is why Viv is different.

Viv took the best of Slack. The best of Alexa. The best of Siri and made it open to developers like the app store, then said context is king and used exponential technology to continually learn about it’s user. Think about the following request.

“Have the car pick me up, I’m heading to my brother house and I need to pick up some cheap wine that goes well with lasagna.”


Viv knows where I live. Knows where my brother lives. Is connected to my smart watch and my car. So it can turn my car on and tell the self driving software where to go and when. It can find local red wines that are highly rated within my budget and go well with pasta dishes and then it can purchase the bottle of wine from a drive through bottle store, and pick me up.

Here’s why Viv is different:

From Brian Roemmele’s Quora Answer:

Viv Does Things For You — Task completion:

  • Multiple Criteria Vertical and Horizontal searches
  • On the fly combining of multiple information sources
  • Real-time editing of information based on dynamic criteria
  • Integrated endpoints, like ticket purchases, etc.

Understands What You Say — Conversational intent:

  • Location context
  • Time context
  • Task context
  • Dialog context

Understands To Know You — Learns and acts on personal information:

  • Who are your friends
  • Where do you live
  • What is your age
  • What do you like

Viv experiences do not require:

  • Finding the App, downloading it
  • Learning the App, come up the learning curve
  • Trying to move info or context from one App and apply it to your next task or planning endeavor

Viv integrates all on-line tasks into one AI experience. Viv is built around three principles or “pillars”:

It will be taught by the world

It will know more than it is taught

It will learn something every day.

The experience with Viv will be far more fluid and interactive than any system publicly available. The results will be a system that will ultimately predict your needs and allow you to almost communicate in the shorthand dialogs found common in close relationships.


But how did they pull it off?


“Exponential Programming”. Adam and Dag have filed many patents central to this concept. As Viv is used by thousand to millions of users, asking perhaps thousands of questions per second, the learning will grow exponentially in short order. Siri and the current voice platforms currently can’t do anything that coders haven’t explicitly programmed it for. Viv solves this problem with the “Dynamically Evolving Systems” architecture that operates directly on the nouns, pronouns, adjectives and verbs.


race yourself, Apps, Advertising and payments. Disruption is coming.


As a Marketing Manage myself, I’m already pondering how much of a rival this will be to ad-sense. What will happen to SEM and the search ad model? How can publishers and brands optimize content for voice search? The entire advertising industry stands to be hugely disrupted.


Apps will become become more and more redundant, as we move away from screens. Viv’s ability to gather the information we need without signing up for a yelp account, a trip adviser account, a account. Viv will take care of it in less than 1/20th of a second.


The race for mobile payments has been full throttle with Paypal, Uber and Apple pay all trying to gain the majority of users. But Viv has something they don’t. Because Viv isn’t trying to sell you a wallet to hold your money. No, She’s your personal assistant and what do all personal assistants need access to?


Your Money.


Viv will undoubtedly integrate with Master card, American express and Visa. The points and reward system should see some interesting innovations. Viv will record all our points and keep track of them, it may even find Online coupon codes and automatically apply them on our behalf, Viv will be able to sign up for rewards programs with every vendor we use. Then do what most of us struggle to do. Find valuable things to spend those points on.


The giants Facebook, Google, IBM and Apple are in big race to be the gatekeeper to worlds information and data. Hence why the big offers to buy Viv. I haven’t seen the numbers but I can only begin to imagine the size.


Viv is the biggest disruptive threat on table right now. Viv would have access to the most incredible personal data, it would know you better than you know yourself. Facebook has a good level of personal data about behavioral decisions and our preferences. But on Facebook we pretend a lot, we like things so that others see we liked it not necessarily because we actually like it. Same applies for sharing. The data is biased and it’s limited.


You should be worried, if you have a job that could be replaced by the next wave of AI assistants. Call operators? Booking agents? News reporters? Store assistants? Fuel station assistants? What about when Viv learns more about law than lawyers? $400 an hour to talk with your lawyer will be a thing of the past. Same applies to any consulting business. If Viv can master context and continually learn.


The age of context arrived when Facebook and Google started building context into their news feeds and algorithm. One message fed the thousands is long dead. A simple human like answer to any question I have, delivered instantaneously without screens, without irrelevant results, without clutter is the future. The age of context is about to reach its exponential growth stage.


Since the beginning, humans have built tools and services to assist them in their daily life. The spear to hunt food. The print mill to distribute news. Then eventually the Internet and the computer.


Now we are in a time where AI is here and it works. We also have Robotics, VR, 3D printing, Deep Learning, Sharing Economy and Crowd-funding.

Where does this take us? Who really knows, but it will be fast. The recent achievement of AI AlphaGo beating a grandmaster at the game Go was predicted to happen 10 years from now and it just happened. AI won not by using brute force to calculate every move but instead used human thinking skills to guess the best move. Imagine what is to come.


The data from Viv in the hands of marketing will be a whole new era of consumerism. Product marketers will have god like super powers and consumers will be left powerless and feel everything they see or touch was made just for them, hyper targeted advertising will become so native we might even enjoy it. Brand storytelling will continue to become the pivotal force that marketing is built around. Interruption marketing is long dead as predicted by Seth Godin.


I can confidently guess that people like Robin Chase are thinking deeply how they will use this tectonic shift to help the shared economy. Elon musk would have something up his sleeve with his movement against fossil fuel. The time old question is finally here. Will AI be our friend or enemy. So far it looks safe to say, our friend.


Another question, what becomes of the device, visual operating system, and the app, when there is little or no need to touch it? You can see just how disrupted the future is for just about every element of technology and business.


“The last 60 years of computing humans were adapting to the computer. The next 60 years the computer will adapt to us. It will be our voices that will lead the way; it will be a revolution.” — BRIAN ROEMMELE



Izac Yeaman

May 11, 2016

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