Artificial Intelligence (AI) is proving to be the next big thing in the world of technology. Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Chinese technology giants like Tencent and Baidu are investing heavily to advance their deep neural networks and power machine learning algorithms that underpin the AI boom. However, the AI-based technology and capabilities is not likely to become mainstream before 2020.
Gartner predicts that 80 percent of smartphones shipped will have on-device AI capabilities by 2022. The research firm observes that only 10 percent smartphones with AI capabilities were shipped in 2017 and the capabilities were mostly restricted to premium devices. It says on-device AI capabilities will bring better data protection and power management compared to cloud-based solution across a wide range of devices by 2022.
“With smartphones increasingly becoming a commodity device, vendors are looking for ways to differentiate their products,” said CK Lu, research director at Gartner. Here are the key use cases for AI-powered smartphones, according to Gartner:
Dedicated AI chipsets and Facial Recognition
The very early signs of AI becoming mainstream on smartphones is already evident with Huawei becoming the first chipset maker to add a dedicated neural processing unit on its Kirin chipset. The Chinese smartphone maker was followed by Apple which has a dedicated neural processing unit on its A-series mobile chipset. Samsung and Qualcomm have also added enhanced AI features with their own flagship chipsets. However, the features remain dedicated to chipsets that will power the most premium devices.
With dedicated processing unit for AI-related tasks, the smartphone makers stand to gain by offering more secure facial recognition system and ability to understand user behaviour and offer predictive future. “Future AI capabilities will allow smartphones to learn, plan and solve problems for users. This isn’t just about making the smartphone smarter, but augmenting people by reducing their cognitive load. However, AI capabilities on smartphones are still in very early stages,” Lu added.
The iPhone and Android smartphones already include digital assistants in the form of Siri and Google Assistant respectively. The on-device AI capabilities will help them process information faster. The smartphones with AI capabilities will be capable of recognizing them and predicting their next move.
Gartner says passcode and password-based simple authentication will get replaced with facial recognition and other security technology driven by machine learning to offer even safer user experience. Speech recognition and continuous training of AI module will mean digital assistants will be more adept to natural-language understanding. Gartner says AI-based assistants will be smart enough to “order a jacket” when the user says “the weather is cold.”
Google has already started integrating machine learning into its Pixel devices to offer better device management. Gartner says device management will expand with machine learning improving device performance and standby time with enhanced battery management.
The on-device AI capabilities will also help smartphone makers bring new features like augmented reality to a mobile device. Apple is leading with its ARKit that turns over a billion iPhones into AR-enabled device.
Google has also announced ARCore, a platform for developing AR applications for Android. Gartner predicts the feature will go beyond applications like Ikea that allow users to see how a furniture would look in their living and assist in diagnostic applications.
Personal Profiling and Content Censorship
Smartphones already collect user data for behavioural and personal profiling and Gartner says the collected data can be securely used to provide assistance depending on the activity. Gartner sees insurance companies tapping into the data and focusing on users rather than the assets. It also sees machine learning being used to automatically delete restricted content with ability to raise alarms when a content is being flagged.
Photography and Audio Analysis
AI-based chipsets are widely seen as the way to improve personal photography on mobile devices. The feature will allow smartphones to capture images with beautified effects and change complexion or aesthetic of the person in the image. The same technology will be used to differentiate between sounds and allow users to trigger events. For example, a smartphone hears a user snoring, then triggers the user’s wristband to encourage a change in sleeping positions.
Gartner says most use cases will still be centred around a single AI capability and technology and the real advancement will happen in the coming years. “Going forward, smartphones will combine two or more AI capabilities and technologies to provide more advanced user experiences,” said Roberta Cozza, research director at Gartner.