AI is coming to smartphones – the good and the bad about that
AI or artificial intelligence is everywhere now. We have smart home speakers that can always be listening to you, waiting to do what you might want them to do. AI as a technology is the step towards making machines more intelligent so that the help they offer to reduce human efforts would be more sensible and human like. Though there are still some limitations in the development of AI we have come a long way. While we have been talking about major organizations tapping the benefits of AI to help them analyze the data at hand more accurately and take better decisions AI has slowly made its way to the smart phones as well. There has been a lot of buzz about AI and ML capable processor chips for smartphones. We find all the new phones being released in the market coming with sophistication of being able to run intelligent apps.
You might already be using the virtual assistants on your smartphones. But how many of them can really understand the natural language? The semantics of the language is quite complicated and unless the context is analyzed, some statements might be interpreted in a million different ways. So we cannot still talk to virtual assistants the way we naturally talk to other humans. This would change if natural language processing abilities on the smartphone are strengthened. Have you tried the AI beauty recognition feature on the Oppo F5? This is a very basic application of artificial intelligence to enhance the performance of the smartphone and thus enhance the user experience altogether. Imagine being able to tap into this potential to add that smartness to every small thing that the smartphone does. That would be the day it would truly become a “smart”phone, a useful personal assistant in your pocket. As of now we only have efficient phones whose uses depend on how smartly we tap into the potential of they possess. This would change if AI is incorporated and smartphones would be able to understand what is really expected of them and would thus make the interaction between the user and the system more fun and engaging.
Hardware to support the research
As a first step towards the incorporation of AI in smartphones, popular chip designers are now working on chips that can handle sophisticated AI and ML algorithms. Remember that the accuracy of the decisions and the predictions that the AI systems make are dependent on the underlying algorithms. And for these algorithms to run there should also be the hardware to support sophisticated computations. Such hardware would understand the users better as well as the system. So users would be able to get work done easily without increasing the energy consumption or compromising overall efficiency or user-friendliness of the system.
Where are we now?
If we look at the possible benefits of AI in smartphones there are many. And the AI-friendly chips are also being designed to handle much more than the current applications being used. If you consider the artificial intelligence in the top model smartphones, here are some of the benefits that this technology offers:
- Better facial recognition- as with the Face ID from the iPhone X for example, it can map the face accurately and thus identify the face even with few changes in the physical appearances or features.
- As an extension of the above feature comes the superior camera capabilities. Camera apps can identify the face, and compare the ambient light and smartly compose the photo so as to give a better picture.
- The smart music apps can track the user preferences and provide recommendations.
Consider the permissions that you entrust
No matter how many benefits AI can deliver it is not a perfect technology, at least, not yet. The larger the volume of data that AI systems get the better would the systems be trained and the better would their decisions be each time. So incorporating AI would mean giving the system the permission to access a lot of data. Be wary of the data being collected by the system and the data that is being shared with any third party applications. AI also has an upper hand when it comes to improving the security of the system. So if you choose a reliable AI system then you would be able to truly secure the data being gathered. The decision about the smartphone maker or the app developer plays a crucial role here. While most of the trusted names have suitable levels of encryption to handle all the sensitive data being gathered some might increase the possibility of the data being leaked. So be cautious about the type of AI apps that you choose and the smartphone brand’s reliability as well.
FOMO should not be your only push
Do not simply try an Artificial Intelligence powered smartphone due to the fear of missing out. It is a technology that deserves to be clearly understood before being used. Besides not being able to put the technology to the best use you would also end up sharing more data than required. Smartphones carry sensitive information like the user’s location, personal contacts as well as the messages and mails that are to be secure. With the work going on in making AI systems emotionally intelligent as well, the smartphone would also include the data about your mood and your preferences. So how much of information you disclose to create your digital identity and how well you secure that information is the key. The real deal is for smartphone makers to utilize the real strength of AI to address all the challenges and thus create something that is more dependable rather than something that is fancy with a lot of features.
There is a lot happening around and some companies simply use the term AI as a gimmick to lure users to buying a new product. So increasing your awareness about the technology and understanding the real applications and the real benefits would be the place to start with. And we are a long way from actually reaching a stage where we have a truly intelligent smartphone that can promptly perform every single task without any error while also keeping the user data absolutely secure. The science-fiction like smartphone technology is yet to be developed but we are on the way! Whether it is AI or any technology for that matter, if we try to merely scratch the surface there might also be a lot of vulnerabilities to address. The key is to wait till the technology stabilizes and becomes robust. This is why the major smartphone manufacturers are still not releasing work-in-progress features in their smartphone, but working on delivering a reliable solution in the end.