Larry Heck CEO of Viv Labs and SVP at Samsung Talks Bixby and 30 Years in Voice – Voicebot Podcast Ep 121

Dr. Larry Heck is CEO of Viv Labs and a Senior Vice President at Samsung. In that role, he oversees all things Bixby. Prior to his work with Bixby, Larry served as head of Samsung’s Silicon Valley Artificial Intelligence Center. He has a deep background and distinguished career in both voice and AI technologies. Prior to Samsung, he was a Research Director at Google leading the Deep Dialogue project. Earlier in his career, he was chief scientist for Microsoft Speech, a Vice President of R&D at Nuance, and a Senior Research Engineer at SRI International. Larry earned his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Texas Tech and his Ph.D. from Georgia Tech.

In addition, Heck has over 60 patents to his name and 150 scientific journal publications. He was named a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering in 2016 and has received awards from both Georgia Tech and Texas Tech. In 2019, Voicebot named heck one of the Top 44 Leaders in Voice. DARPA and NSA funded some of Heck’s early work in speech recognition in the 1990s which became one of the earliest applications of deep neural networks for natural language processing. That work resulted in winning the NIST speaker recognition evaluation in 1998.

The interview covers his early days in sound recognition in the 1980s and on speech recognition for an early voice assistant in the 1990s that laid the foundation for much of what we experience today with voice assistants. Microsoft’s Satya Nadella hired Heck in 2009 and had him develop a strategy that was eventually used to guide Cortana’s development, which he led for several years. His work at Google around Deep Dialogue was incorporated into Google Assistant. Now, he has a leadership role overseeing Samsung’s Bixby and as a result, has worked directly with three of the five leading consumer voice assistants in the market today. He even was an advisor to Yap which eventually became the speech recognition solution behind Alexa. So, indirectly, he had a role in four of the five leading assistants. Enjoy the interview.

Show Notes – Larry Heck Interview 2019

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