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Future Phones Will Be Intelligent, Not Just Smart

For years now, we carry little computers in our pockets, our phones that help us do everything like make calls, search online for that lasagna recipe you’ve been meaning to cook, set the timer, set an alarm, make a calendar entry, send an email, read a book, play a game, and whatever else you may want to do. Huawei, however, wants to turn the “smart” into “intelligent.” The natural step in the evolution of our smartphones is coming and Huawei is betting on artificial intelligence. The company’s Felix Zhang, head of the Consumer Software Engineering department and director of Intelligence Engineering, says that mobile AI will change the way users interact with the devices. This will make the relationship between humans and machines more effective across text, image, voice, video, and even sensors. AI will also help with personalizing the information each user gets based on context. For instance, users will be able to get aggregated information across apps, content, and native features within the phone’s OS.

The Intelligent Phone

During an event in Kuala Lumpur, Zhang said the company he represents is committed to developing smart devices into intelligent devices by building end-to-end capabilities that support coordinated development of chips, devices, and the cloud. Of course, this comes just a couple of months after Huawei unveiled a new chipset, the Kirin 970, with built-in AI. The on-device AI will fix some issues regarding latency, stability, and privacy, that cloud AI came with. There were still challenges, however, in implementing on-device AI, Zhang admitted, such as perception, power usage, security, and cognition. The results, however, are worth noting. the new EMUI 8.0 OS in the upcoming Mate 10 and Mate 10 Pro devices comes with intelligent user behavior prediction, intelligent resource allocation, and context awareness. The camera will also get to benefit from the AI-featuring chipset as the device will be able to recognize objects to ensure the camera knows what to focus on. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about AIs on device, but it’s certainly a great addition to the discussion about what AI can help us with next and how we can evolve from here. Cyber-secret futurist Arthur Keleti writes in his book that one great implementation for mobile AIs would be to hold on to our secrets. The AI would learn everything it can about the owner of the phone from their interaction with the device and figure out what type of data they’d want to keep hidden from others. Perhaps it’s the browsing history, perhaps it’s a conversation they had, or certain emails and photos. Then, the AI would become the keeper of secrets, the one thing standing between the world and our secrets, whether we’re talking about nosy friends snooping in our device, a thief having stolen our device, or law enforcement asking for access to our phones in an investigation. The latter application would be great to create some balance between our need for privacy and the law enforcement’s need to resolve cases. The AI would be able to pull up the necessary data without giving agents access to anything private. Blockchain expert Ken Bodnar, inspired by Keleti’s work, has already gotten to work on such an AI, although the work is still in its early stages. The biggest issue, he said, was getting an AI to work on a mobile device. With Huawei’s technology, this seems like a great starting point. Perhaps we’ll see more uses for Huawei’s AI in the future, such as the one Keleti thought of.

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