Forget Smartphones, the Future Belongs to Intelligent Devices

Nov 15, 2017
By: Marissa Camilli

Thanks to rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, the smartphone is on the verge of a massive evolutionary leap forward. Forget smartphones, the future almost certainly belongs to intelligent devices.

While manufacturers, including Samsung and Apple, are investing heavily in technologies to power more powerful AI features, the Chinese tech giant Huawei has recently claimed its stake in the future by proudly unveiling its new Kirin 970 chipset with built-in AI and proclaiming it as “the future of smartphones”.

The Future is Now

AI is already driving a great deal of functionality on smartphones and other devices. It has helped turn voice recognition from something of a gimmick into a highly useable and incredibly useful interface between man and machine. It enables our smartphones to help us track our exercise regimes, make informed decisions about our commute and manage our busy work schedules. AI-powered technologies like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have even begun to blur the boundaries between physical and digital environments. It’s helping us to take better photographs, create immersive gaming experiences and guide our online shopping habits – but it has the potential to do so much more.

Truly intelligent devices will essentially become an extension of the user, helping them to become more efficient and informed. By pulling data from the cloud, the local environment and matching it with previous actions, devices will be able to make intelligent decisions and carry out specific tasks autonomously.

Imagine being able to schedule a meeting without having to invite attendees, compare and juggle schedules, find a suitable venue, take minutes and create and assign follow-up tasks. Imagine knowing the exact questions to ask a potential employee and having the resource to check facts and match skillsets and personality traits with your wider team.  Imagine being able to hold a “real time” conversation across multiple languages without the need for a translator. A truly intelligent device could do this all for you.

But AI-enabled devices won’t just make you more efficient – they could actually save your life.

Intelligent Health Trackers

An intelligent device monitoring its user’s vital signs along with movement, balance, reaction time, etc. could be used to help maintain existing medical conditions (managing drug therapies, diet and exercise) or even flag up early-stage precursors for conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease or cardiovascular issues.

The combination of big data and highly sensitive environmental scanning, will undoubtedly mean your intelligent device will have a better understanding of your wellbeing than even the most skilled healthcare professional.

What’s Holding AI Back?

As processing power on mobile devices becomes ever more powerful, it’s hard to imagine anything that could prevent AI becoming the norm.

The success of products like the Galaxy Note 8 and Apple X, demonstrates that price is not a roadblock, with millions of people happy to pay upwards of $1,000 for the latest mobile device. It’s also worth noting the technology on this year’s premium products will pretty much be standard on more affordable devices within 12 to 24 months.

There is of course an ethical question about how much influence machines should have over humans. Technology will undoubtedly disrupt numerous industries (even, as in the aforementioned case, professions like medicine).

Note: As we enter an era many are referring to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a lot of creative and smart people will have to give serious thought to the concept of work. Could we be about to enter a utopian age where leisure is our primary activity, paid for by taxing the technology that does all (or most) of the work for us? There’s a whole series of blog posts we could write about this – and still be miles off target. Rest assured, someone, somewhere is employing AI to envisage the future.

Do You Have a Charger?    

Currently, the one thing that will slow down AI’s progress is much more mundane – battery life.

AI consumes a considerable amount of power and battery technology is going to have to become a lot more powerful when intelligent devices become the norm. Even here, AI comes to the rescue, helping devices manage power use, extending the potential of existing power sources.

What Do Intelligent Devices Mean for App Developers?

AI represents an amazing opportunity for app developers who, with increased processing power and the ability to incorporate data into their apps’ functionality, will only be limited by their imagination.

What is certain is the opportunity presented by AI goes beyond the app and even the device. It offers the potential of an all-encompassing, multi-faceted, immersive experience.

The British science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke once said: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” As AI continues its path unabated, perhaps we are reaching this conclusion.

How do you foresee AI changing the app landscape? Share your comments below or get in touch with one of our “intelligent device” experts to share your vision

Marissa Camilli
By Marissa Camilli
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