Big Data and AI Are About to Make Your Phone Scary Smart

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How convenient would it be to have a smart superphone that can carry out tasks autonomously — even while offline? We’re not just talking about random tasks like updating email or displaying social alerts. We’re talking about full-blown actions like making calls, sending messages and more.

The idea sounds pretty crazy, right? Believe it or not, it may soon be a reality.

Smartphones are poised to enter a whole new world of interaction and engagement thanks to artificial intelligence. They’ll be able to learn your habits and preferences and carry out actions based on collected data. Technically, it will be possible through a combination of both big data systems and AI, not the latter on its own.

What Is a Superphone?

And so the phrase is coined. “Superphone” is an early label for these future smartphones, which will be packed to the brim with automation and AI tools. “Superphone” is a fitting name, too. By all rights, modern smartphones should have been named this, as there’s little they can’t do. But the built-in autonomy and AI will allow future phones to transcend modern limits.

According to Deloitte, over 300 million smartphones — which equates to nearly a fifth of all units sold globally — will have AI support by 2017. Imagine a phone that knows exactly what you need, before even you do.

What Does Big Data Have to Do With It?

These days, you can’t have intelligent systems, namely AI, without big data to back it up. This is the information that allows systems to predict, engage and carry out actions.

The best way to describe it is this. Facebook collects massive amounts of data on its user-base. One great example is internet search and browsing history. When you look at products or websites online, Facebook immediately recognizes this. Once you return to the social network, it will begin suggesting, through promotions, advertisements and content, the products you’ve shown interested in.

In other words, Facebook seems to know exactly what you want and what you’re after.

This is possible through big data. The necessary information is collected from your end and stored on a server that’s accessible by Facebook’s algorithms. The important part to remember is that once that data is archived, it’s available pretty much forever, barring a severe hardware failure or an Act of God.

Over time, Facebook can build a scary-accurate portfolio of the things you’re interested in — and, more importantly, the products you’re interested in spending money on. It can then take this data and mix it with the data from others and start identifying patterns.

This data can then be leveraged for a great many things. With AI, it can be used to predict your behaviors and actions. By 2020, well over 50 billion smart and connected devices globally will be collecting, sharing and analyzing data. That’s a lot of information being stored.

The ultimate takeaway is that smartphones — which will soon be called superphones — are going to get crazy smart. Thanks to AI and big data, they’ll be able to predict and carry out actions to make your day better. That’s the beauty of “smart” technology: it has a real chance to offer convenience in our lives.

Gartner predicts that by 2018, digital assistants will truly “know you” and a great many details about you. Your phone could decide on the best place for you to eat, what movie you’ll enjoy most and what route you should take to work in the morning. Heck, some GPS apps already use big data to send you real-time updates about driving conditions. What not take the next step and let your GPS pilot your autonomous car for you?

Isn’t Artificial Intelligence Bad News?

We’re not going to say AI won’t ever be a problem, because we simply don’t know. But for the most part, the dangerous AI systems you see in films and television are largely exaggerated.

We’re still technically in control of AI and have a direct influence over what it’s doing and what decisions it makes.

The AI that exists today can be found in the form of Apple’s Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. They are intelligent, yet still limited in many ways by their platform.

Another major concern is that AI and automated systems will replace the human workforce. This is not likely, especially when there are regular stats like a 22 percent job growth by 2020 for the technology industry. In many markets, new opportunities are appearing faster than old ones can go away. Sure, you may have to retrain or rethink a career eventually, but AI won’t be taking over our jobs anytime soon.

However, the technology is advancing rapidly.

During the Mobile World Congress, Huawei unveiled a smartphone with powerful AI tech built right in.

Exciting, isn’t it?

Contributed by: Kayla Matthews, a technology writer and blogger covering big data topics for websites like Productivity Bytes, CloudTweaks, SandHill and VMblog.


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