Samsung joins digital assistant race with acquisition of Viv

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SAN FRANCISCO — Samsung Electronics is joining the race to create the smartest digital assistant by acquiring Viv, a Silicon Valley startup launched by the same entrepreneurs who sold Siri to Apple.

The deal announced Wednesday provides Samsung with technology to compete against Google, Amazon.com, Microsoft and Apple in the increasingly important field of programming computers to learn and respond as if they were human.

The specialty, also known as artificial intelligence, has hatched a flock of voice-activated digital concierges such as Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s Assistant that work in personal computers, smartphones and internet-connected speakers.

Samsung plans to implant Viv into phones, televisions and a wide range of other devices. The South Korean company didn’t disclose how much it paid for Viv.