comscore From Samsung Bixby to Apple Siri, is Artificial Intelligence ready for primetime?

From Samsung Bixby to Apple Siri, is Artificial Intelligence ready for primetime?

We love to talk about the future and how AI is going to be the next big thing. But is it ready to solve our problems in the present? Who has to evolve – humans or the machines?


Recently, I finished binge-watching the first season of HBO s popular series, Westworld. The show sheds light on machines coming of age and the extent humans can go to exploit technology. From Matrix to Ex Machina, all these sci-fi movies reveal a darker side of not only humans but also the machines. I dread the idea of machines becoming smarter than us or a day when machines lead our lifestyles. But that might or might not happen in the next century, most probably I will not live to see that time. Also Read - Samsung Galaxy Fold 2 launched alongside Galaxy Note 20 series: Check details

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“In short, the rise of powerful AI will be either the best, or the worst thing, ever to happen to humanity. We do not yet know which, Stephen Hawkings told BBC a couple of years ago. Humans want to excel, become smarter and even live longer with the help of artificial intelligence. And there is no reason to doubt that this will not become a reality in the near future. But at the moment, the artificial intelligence is at the nascent stage, yet it s quickly penetrating into our lives with us not even realising it. Also Read - Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, Galaxy Buds Live launched; check price, features and specifications

Smartphones, humans closest companion in the modern era, now come preloaded with services like Google Assistant and Siri on iPhone. Already, there are people who are now talking to their devices to set reminders, ask for directions and make calls among others. And then you have Google Home and Amazon Alexa for more interactive experience with an AI. Interestingly, these smart Home devices don t even have a display. It s just you and the machine. ALSO READ: 5 Things you could do with Siri

Speaking of smart and connected devices leveraging the AI, Facebook s Mark Zuckerberg is working on Jarvis, evidently inspired by Tony Stark s Jarvis AI. In a couple of videos, he showed how much progress he had made with AI. Prior to the unveiling of Jarvis, comedy legend Jeremy Seinfeld asked Zuckerberg in a Facebook Live interview, Isn t it funny how we work so hard to just eliminate a little bit of effort? To get the door is not that much work but we are going to put in a lot of work to save us from walking to the door and opening it.

The interesting part of this bit conversation is thatSeinfield talked human to Zuckerberg, who on the other hand believes, AI is the next big thing. ALSO READ: Mark Zuckerberg offers a sneak peek at Jarvis, the AI butler he uses to control his home

All the corporate giants including Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Apple and now Samsung are trying to build an AI solution that they can sell to users. And to a lot of extent, they have succeeded in creating a market for it, and more importantly educating customers. Perhaps in third world nations like India, AI is far from becoming a common phenomenon, but overall, there s an equal interest from companies, developers and even consumers. From users point of view, anything that makes their lives easier and increase productivity without spending an extra dime is a win.

But we keep saying that AI is the future and it s going to improve our lifestyle. How much has it been able to do so, yet? In my opinion, what current AIs do on the smartphones is too little. Siri just recently opened to third party developers where Google Assistant is getting better, albeit gradually. Google s another project, DeepMind, shows a more promising world of the artificial intelligence. DeepMind s capabilities are perhaps closest to what we have seen what our forefathers imagined AI to be. Back in 2016, Google s AlphaGo program beat a human professional Go player for the first time.

Speaking of smartphones, Samsung s Bixby, also, gives a promising outlook towards the artificial intelligence on the smartphones. The AI borrows elements from Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, or Apple’s Siri-like taking voice and text commands. But it sweetens with more features like image recognition and real-time language translation. It also has contextual understandings like you can simply ask it to take a screenshot and send to one of your friends. It can also talk to the connected devices in your home.

Since it s coherent to the Samsung native apps, it could work better than Google Assistant. But then again, it s selective to the Samsung ecosystem at the moment. Even before the thing goes mainstream, there s a growing fragmentation, and with more companies joining the bandwagon, it s highly unlikely to achieve consistency and universality that would make for a good AI in the near future. And ultimately it is going to become a huge corporate war as we have seen in different categories across segments. Most probably corporates see money in this and more importantly access to a goldmine of users data, which users are voluntarily giving out. ALSO READ: Samsung Bixby: If done well, it might leave people impressed yet again

Before you misjudge me, I am all rooting for AI to get better, smarter and help our productivity. Though the current version of the AIs doesn’t satiate my cravings of wanting more from technology. I don t want to invest more in buying new hardware or more expensive sophisticated devices. I wish the AI to come to affordable smartphones, work seamlessly across platforms, and more importantly understand my native language and accent.

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  • Published Date: March 30, 2017 5:20 PM IST

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