Samsung Announces Bixby Virtual Assistant

Almost every top-tier company have a smart digital assistant, except for Samsung. The South Korean tech giant was rumoured to launch its vision of virtual assistant alongside Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, but the Bixby virtual assistant came a few days earlier.

Samsung had a different approach to an AI assistant than Google, Apple and others. The idea is to have Bixby to learn and adapt to the user instead of being a database that you ask questions at or tell to do specific things.

At first, the assistant will be limited to a handful of preinstalled apps, but will expand over time. It will be activated by physical, dedicated button on new devices. For example, instead of unlocking phones and finding a contact you want to call, you can simply press the dedicated button and say a simple command.

According to Samsung, Bixby offers a deeper experience thanks to proficiency in the following three properties:

1. Completeness

When an application becomes Bixby-enabled, Bixby will be able to support almost every task that the application is capable of performing using the conventional interface (ie. touch commands). Most existing agents currently support only a few selected tasks for an application and therefore confuse users about what works or what doesn't work by voice command. The completeness property of Bixby will simplify user education on the capability of the agent, making the behaviors of the agent much more predictable.

2. Context Awareness

When using a Bixby-enabled application, 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. Bixby will allow users to weave various modes of interactions including touch or voice at any context of the application, whichever they feel is most comfortable and intuitive. Most existing agents completely dictate the interaction modality and, when switching among the modes, may either start the entire task over again, losing all the work in progress, or simply not understand the user's intention.

3. Cognitive Tolerance

When the number of supported voice commands gets larger, most users are cognitively challenged to remember the exact form of the voice commands. Most agents require users to state the exact commands in a set of fixed forms. 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. This makes the interface much more natural and easier to use.