In an ordinary-looking San Jose conference room, a group of hungry engineers gather to order pizza.
“Get me a pizza from Pizz’a Chicago near my office,” one of the engineers says to Viv, the artificial-intelligence technology that the team had been quietly building for more than a year. Everyone was a little nervous. Then, a text from Viv piped up: “Would you like toppings with that?”
The engineers, eight in all, started jumping in: “Pepperoni.” “Half cheese.” “Caesar salad.” Emboldened by the result, they peppered Viv with more commands: Add more toppings. Remove toppings. Change medium size to large.
About 40 minutes later — and after a few hiccups when Viv confused the office address — a Pizz’a Chicago driver showed up with four made-to-order pizzas.
The engineers erupted in cheers as the pizzas arrived. They had ordered pizza, from start to finish, without placing a single phone call and without doing a Google search — without any typing at all, actually. Moreover, they did it without downloading an app from Domino’s or Grubhub.
Google and Facebook have both already made offers to buy Viv. Watch this space and read the rest at the Washington Post.