🔥Upside Chat: Adam Cheyer, Founder of Siri (Apple)

  
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Increasingly, our voice — and the voice of our apps, digital assistants and smartphones is having a larger role in the way we get things done both at home and in our professional lives.

Last year, we had the honor of chatting with Adam Cheyer, the founder of Siri (sold to Apple), Viv Labs (sold to Samsung), and known as a world’s pioneer in the world of AI.

📝Show Notes: Throughout our conversation, we touched on the legacy of digital assistants (and their role today), what it was like building Siri and working with Steve Jobs, and the implications AI will have for sports in the coming years, many of which will leverage the power of AR, VR, and more.

🚀Best Quotes: Here’s some of the key discussion points and best quotes from our conversation with Adam:

  1. On the internet:“I never conceived of the internet, as having hyperlinks, and multimedia web pages. I thought, you'd just have an assistant. And we worked on that with Luc Julia. So, in 1994 he came, and he was really the user interface guru”.

  2. On the digital assistants he built in the 90s“You could say to your TV, “Pull up my meeting notes from my two o'clock meeting today.” And you could browse your notes, picture and picture, while you continue to watch the game. You'd head to your car, and you'd be driving around, and we had a 3D model of the world that we could imprint. So, you would be looking out your windshield, and as you pulled up the hill, you'd see this building appear behind you.

  3. On digital assistants today: “The world that we imagined back at SRI in the 90s, still has not yet come to pass. I think, it's getting closer and closer every day”.

  4. On the haha moment when building Siri: “When we were now able to understand the complexity of all of these different requests from many different industries, and many different styles, in a robust way. I think, that was our aha moment, where we said, "You know, I think we've done something that no one thought was possible, and that's going to change the world."

  5. On working with Steve Jobs: The thing I loved about Steve, is that he had opinions, but he never felt that he was necessarily right. He was always open to hearing another perspective, and thinking about it. And if you couldn't defend your position in a reasoned way, he'd like, “I don't have time.” And he would knock you aside. But I never had a problem with Steve. He would ask me things, or we would talk about things..” (..) his method of always listening, and thinking about it, and hearing you. And then, saying, “No, we're going to do it this way, for this reason.” I'm like, I loved that about Steve Jobs”.

  6. On Steve Jobs being a great listener: “He was a great listener. So many leaders feel they're the smartest person in the room, and they're right, and they have their opinion, and it's very hard to change their opinion. He always was looking to learn from someone else, someone smart. He wanted to be right. He wanted to win, and that meant he had to learn, and think, and listen”.

  7. On the first time he saw the Siri logo at an Apple store: “And we walked up to that same Apple store, and now on the front door, next to the front door, they had this giant plasma display made up as an iPhone prototype. And above the plasma display, it said, “Introducing Siri.” And they had Siri use cases playing on the loop. And I got this chill, where I remembered so clearly wanting to be one of those advert icons on the wall, and now I was the front door”.

  8. On the killer AI sports experience: “I think AI, in general, will transform sports in so many ways. And AI being both optimizing decisions, and letting athletes be their best selves. (..) To understand when does this team play best against other teams, what defenses work best, what player combinations work best.So, I think AI, in general, will absolutely optimize both the individual, how they perform, and teams (..)

  9. On AI becoming a digital coach for players: “A coach will be able to say, “Bring up recommended plays that I should do in this situation.” Or, ask questions, “What is the success rate?” Players when they're working out, can have a little earbud in their ear that's giving them feedback based on how to shoot better, how to position better, what they're doing wrong. And almost, get this real time adjustment, where they can talk to the assistant, the assistant can talk to them. And the assistant becomes an automated data driven coach”.

  10. On the future of AI and betting together: “And as betting progresses, you're not just going to bet on the score of the game. But there will be bets of all different sorts, right? I'll bet that the first person to score a point in the half will be this person. And I bet that this person outscores the guy he's guarding by this many points”.

  11. On the future of digital assistants: “I believe ubiquitous assistant, that can do everything that we do on the internet today, or most things on the internet, will be here in full force within two years from now. (..) Whether I'm talking on a TV, or a refrigerator, or a smartwatch, or a phone, I want to know that Bixby knows me. If I told it something once on one device, it should know it over on a second device, it's the same assistant. And so, we've designed it in that way, that a user can just think of it as, “It's just my Bixby. And the fact that I'm talking to it over a phone or a TV doesn't really matter.”

  12. On the state of AR/VR: “For me, AR and VR are not ready to go mainstream right now. There's too much still to be figured out. But 10 years from now, I could see AR being the next interface paradigm. That, as you walk around in the world, literally, we can read and write every pixel that we're seeing, and really create the experience, the augmented experience that we want” (..) I'm kind of penciling out 10 years from now, that my next big user experience breakthrough will be based on AR”.

To read a transcript of our entire conversation with Adam Cheyer, be sure to check out our post here.