Adam Cheyer Co-founder of Siri and Viv Labs on Assistants, AI, and ChatGPT – Voicebot Podcast Ep 324
I wouldn’t put direct manipulation buttons and GUIs as less than conversation. I said this to Steve Jobs the very first day we met. I said, ‘Many people think voice and conversational interfaces will replace the GUI, the map, the keyboard. But that’s not how it works at all.’ I said, ‘If it’s on the screen, the easiest way it to directly manipulate it, to touch it, click it. The iPhone really created multitouch, so it gave a new way to directly manipulate information and that took off.
But, despite designers best work to get the content and the actions that you need on the screen, where you can click it with a mouse or your finger, there are always some things you will want to do that can’t fit on that screen. In that case, the best way is to ask for it. For me, hyperlinks and GUIs and buttons, those are great. And language is great. And I said to Steve, ‘The ultimate interface is if it’s on the screen you click it. If it’s not, you ask for it. It is so seamless, and in my definition, multimodal, meaning it’s part of the gestures, the language, it’s all seamless towards a conversation. I go, ‘That’s the perfect experience. And sometimes the screen or keyboard is not available. If you are driving a car, if you are washing dishes, at that moment, then language is the predominant method.’
ChatGPT melted my mind.
My guest today is a giant in the world of voice assistants and AI. Adam Cheyer is the co-founder of Siri, which was originally an app that, as you know, was acquired by Apple and launched as the key feature of the iPhone 4s in 2011. That is how Siri came to define expectations for modern-day voice assistants.
However, Cheyer and one of his Siri cofounders Dag Kittlaus, were disappointed that Apple decided to dramatically narrow the scope of the assistant to better align with its goal of making Siri a feature of the iPhone as opposed to a general purpose assistant.
Cheyer and Kittlaus founded Viv Labs, which eventually sold to Samsung and, after a few years, became the technology behind the new Bixby after Samsung’s initial voice assistant flopped. A key part of the story here is that Cheyer was the visionary behind 50% of the four leading voice assistants to emerge over the past 15 years. You can imagine that gives him unique insights into what is happening today with the rise of generative AI and ChatGPT in particular.
Cheyer and I speak at length about his initial reaction to ChatGPT, what he thinks OpenAI got right, and foreshadows an emerging issue about how the company applies Plugins.
In addition, you will want to hear more about Cheyer’s four critical elements for an assistant and the difference between a knowing and doing assistant. This creates a stark contrast between ChatGPT and Alexa. Sit back and get ready for some gems of insight.
Adam Cheyer Interview – Show Notes
- Follow Adam Cheyer on Twitter and the web: @acheyer adam.cheyer.com
- Read about Adam Cheyer on Voicebot: Adam Cheyer has left Samsung
- Listen to Adam Cheyer on the Voicebot Podcast in 2018 and 2020: Episode 69, Episode 109