Samsung has officially announced its new virtual assistant, called Bixby, through the voice of InJong Rhee, Executive Vice President and Head of R&D, Software and Services.

"InJong Rhee"
InJong Rhee, Executive Vice President, Head of R&D, Software and Services

It is a new way to interact with your phone. The company says its philosophy is to make the machines learn and adapt to humans, instead of humans learning how the machine interacts with the world. With this new approach, Samsung has employed artificial intelligence, reinforcing deep learning concepts to the core of our user interface designs. Bixby is the ongoing result of this effort,said Samsung.

"Samsung Bixby on Galaxy S8"

Samsung said, Bixby will be a new intelligent interface on our devices. Fundamentally different from other voice agents or assistants in the market, Bixby offers a deeper experience thanks to proficiency in these 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.

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Bixby will come with a dedicated button that will be located on the side of the next Samsung device (Galaxy S8), which will make your smartphone easier to use overall, reducing friction and creating a more rewarding user experience. For example, instead of taking multiple steps to make a call – turning on and unlocking the phone, looking for the phone application, clicking on the contact bar to search for the person that you’re trying to call and pressing the phone icon to start dialing – you will be able to do all these steps with one push of the Bixby button and a simple command.

Also, Samsung has announced that at the launch of the Galaxy S8, a subset of pre-installed applications will be Bixby-enabled. And it plans to eventually release a tool (in SDK) to enable third-party developers to make their applications and services Bixby-enabled easily.

Starting with the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ flagship smartphones, Bixby will be gradually applied to all their appliances. In the future you would be able to control your Samsung Air conditioner or Smart TV through Bixby. Since Bixby will be implemented in the cloud, as long as a device has an internet connection and simple circuitry to receive voice inputs, it will be able to connect with Bixby.

The Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2017 event will take place at 11:00 am EDT (9:30 pm IST) in New York on March 29, 2017.