In 2016 at TechCrunch Disrupt New York, several of the original developers behind what became Siri unveiled Viv, an AI platform that promised to connect various third-party applications to perform just about any task. The pitch was tantalizing — but never fully realized. Samsung later acquired Viv, folding a pared-down version of the tech into its Bixby voice assistant.
Six years later, a new team claims to have cracked the code to a universal AI assistant — or at least to have gotten a little bit closer. At a product lab called Adept that emerged from stealth today with $65 million in funding, they are — in the founders’ words — “build[ing] general intelligence that enables humans and computers to work together creatively to solve problems.”
It’s lofty stuff. But Adept’s co-founders, CEO David Luan, CTO Niki Parmar and chief scientist Ashish Vaswani, boil their ambition down to perfecting an “overlay” within computers that works using the same tools people do. This overlay will be able to respond to commands like “generate a monthly compliance report” or “draw stairs between these two points in this blueprint,” Adept asserts, all using existing software like Airtable, Photoshop, Tableau and Twilio to get the job done.