Huawei Mate 10 was the first phone in the world to feature artificial intelligence. The Kirin home chip promised to increase computational capacity inside a very small device, but with much greater potential than many popular laptops on the market. Since then, smartphones with artificial intelligence have been popping up more than ever. Huawei’s spin-off company, Honor, has been able to rely on the same supply chain as its parent company, thus benefiting from Kirin. Both Samsung and Apple, on the other hand, have moved in this direction with the new generations of Exynos and Bionic processors respectively. In short, is this AI really the turning point for a more useful and optimized cell phone? Let’s take a look.
Smartphones with and without artificial intelligence: The difference
From what we’ve learned so far, the main difference between a smartphone without artificial intelligence and one with advanced chips is that, over time, the latter learns to better manage performance and respond more accurately to user needs. We aren’t yet at the point where technology anticipates requests as opposed to responding to them, but we’re getting close. Like the human brain, artificial intelligence can’t yield immediate benefits just by being integrated. Its task is to recognize images, voices, and languages, and process them as data – this means that these devices can, at least in theory, make decisions and optimize performance based on what they’ve learned from us.
These features are complemented by the ability to use algorithms to better understand the surrounding environment through the cameras, autonomously adjust light, colors, and exposure times, and take photos of almost professional standard. Nowadays, AI performs the essential task of an automatic “trainer” where needed, and only if needed.
On the iPhone XS, for example, AI algorithms are used to power Face ID facial recognition, the Animoji entertainment platform and augmented reality apps. On Google Pixel 3, on the other hand, one of the features enhanced by artificial intelligence is Now Playing – thanks to a database of 100,000 tracks updated every week and customized, the phone instantly recognizes the song that’s playing on the radio or in the background, with no latency time to retrieve all the data from the Internet. Artificial intelligence makes it possible to recognize objects and animals via Google Lens or Bixby Vision and to scan documents and convert them into text with much more fluency and precision than traditional OCR software.
Up to 300% more speed
But that’s not all – experts predict that AI will open the door to the development of innovative applications and the improvement of existing ones, including Microsoft Translator, which is 300% faster on a smartphone with AI. Of course, if the NPUs (neural processing units) can do most of the work themselves without always having to connect to the Internet, the exchange of data remains a crucial factor and will stay that way in the future too.
However, AI isn’t transforming just smartphones, but also business in many traditional areas, which are becoming more and more digitalized. Why? To promote the competitiveness of companies so that AI can reach its full potential. Take Google Duplex, for example – it’s a project that’s part of the Google Assistant and is permitted to make calls on behalf of a person through virtual intelligence, i.e. to book a table at a restaurant or make an appointment at the hairdressers. Google demonstrated the function during the Google I/O 2018 conference and it was so chillingly effective that Big G had to narrow the scope of action with some limitations. Duplex now has to “announce” itself before talking to anyone. You could say it’s human enough to seem real.