Mobile’s Role in the Rise of Artificial Intelligence.

By Posted in - Development & Innovation Inspiration & Product Strategy on December 8th, 2016

Huge strides in research and development were made in the field of artificial intelligence, or AI, this past year. Cars, drones, buildings, speakers and industrial machinery are becoming smarter every day. There is talk that AI will take over mobile, but with two billion smartphone users worldwide, mobile products are still the dominant distribution method for introducing AI to consumers. 

We can split artificial intelligence into thousands of categories, but I am only going to separate the technology mentioned in this blog into two: mobile-based and mobile-assisted AI. In this blog, “mobile-based” will refer to AI developed for or used primarily in mobile devices. “Mobile-assisted” AI will apply to intelligent machines that are based outside of a mobile device but have an associated app.

Mobile-based AI

Apple

Siri was probably your first real interaction with a “virtual assistant.” Living in our beloved smartphone, Siri helps millions answer questions, contact friends, and even make jokes. Apple plans to develop Siri further with Vocal IQ speech AI software with the intention of making our iPhones our go-to assistant.

Apple's AI Siri

Poncho

Poncho is a “weather cat” chatbot that sends users personalized weather forecasts via push notifications. The idea is to use artificial intelligence to interpret the weather data in your area and turn that into information you care about. Poncho answers questions like: Should I bike to work today? Do I need to bring a coat to dinner? Will my hair frizz today? The company also has a kik integration that lets consumers chat with Poncho in the messaging app.

Screenshots of the Chat Bot Poncho

Facebook

Facebook recently inserted a photo-reading AI into its iOS app to help visually impaired users “see” photos. The AI analyzes a picture on the screen and reads aloud what is happening in the image. Facebook is working on extending the features to include: recognition of objects in videos and a “Visual Q&A” where users can ask questions about photos and receive answers from Facebook AI.

Facebook's Photo Reading Artificial Intelligence

Bank of America

Bank of America is launching a new digital assistant, called Erica, in their mobile app in 2017. Erica will use predictive analytics and cognitive messaging to send BofA clients personalized insight and recommendations based on their money habits. The goal is to help customers create better spending and saving habits.

Screenshot of Bank of America's New Virtual Assistant Erica

Mobile-assisted AI

Amazon

Amazon’s Alexa is the premier personal assistant available today. Alexa comes to life in a speaker placed inside your home or office and can respond when you speak to her. Alexa is “always on,” meaning that the device records everything around her so that when she is needed, she can answer immediately. You don’t need your phone to interact with her, but there is an app that users can download to setup and control the settings.

Amazon Go, the checkout-less convenience store, is an experience relying on AI. The store itself is set up with sensors and other technologies to track shoppers and their final purchases. Even though consumers don’t need to pull out their phone while in the store, the items purchased, the customer’s profile and their payment information are all stored on the Amazon Go app.

Amazon Go. No lines. No Checkout. No. Seriously.

Uber

Uber, a company who relies on a mobile app to deliver their service, has invested heavily in artificial intelligence. Specifically, self-driving cars. The AI is the car, but the self-driving Uber is useless without the associated mobile app.

User's Self-driving Fleet of Cars

Google

Google Assistant, is Google’s most consumer friendly AI. The difference between Google Assistant and all the other assistants out there is that Google’s is cloud-based. Google Assistant is accessible through a variety of devices: Google Watch, Google Home, your car and your smartphone.

Google's New Product Suite 2016

Zero Zero Robotics

Zero Zero Robotics’ first product is called Hover Camera. Hover Camera a lightweight drone camera that uses face-tracking and body-tracking technology to follow and record specific people. The flying camera lets consumers get aerial footage of live action without having to wear a tracking device or other accessory. The AI is in the drone, but a mobile app is required to select the individual that the camera follows.

Hover Camera taking a Photo


Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, says the world is moving from mobile-first to AI-first. Pichai’s vision will most likely come true, but we don’t know how far away that future is. There is no doubt that mobile plays an essential role in introducing AI to consumers, though. The mobile industry will continue to see a boost in innovative apps and other mobile products as the field of AI grows.

Many tech companies – like Google, Facebook and Amazon – are releasing and developing AI much more complex and unrelated to mobile. The products above are just a few examples of AI currently out there. 

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