Smartphones: Getting Smarter, Perhaps Even Intelligent

There’s no denying that smartphones have made our lives easier. The capabilities of our phones and apps improve by the day. Some people even theorize that they could become functionally AI. Here are some examples of artificially intelligent apps you might already be using.

Digital Personal Assistants

Google Now, Siri and Cortana are the 3 main examples. These apps make finding information as simple as asking your phone a question. It will either tell you verbally what you want to know, display the info on your screen or both. Early versions were a little sketchy – you had to speak very clearly or your phone wouldn’t get what you were saying.

This is where machine learning comes in. As technology has improved, these programs are better able to recognize and interpret human speech in general, but they can also adapt. They collect information about your requests and preferences to give you tailored results. They also “learn” from your speech, adjusting to your specific voice, accent etc. The more you use your digital PA, the less you’ll have to repeat yourself.

Shopping Apps

Like most “Artificial Intelligence,” this is algorithm based. Apps track your browsing and purchasing and market similar products directly to you. If you browse baby-related items, chances are the next time you open the app, there will be baby products advertised on the home-page, or in any email marketing you receive from the same company.

Anticipatory buying is also on the cards. If you buy a new set of razor blades every 2 months, or a new pillow every 6 months, retailers hope to be able to anticipate this and either advertise or send the product to you before you need it.

Recommended for You

Apps like Netflix, YouTube and Spotify will usually show you a list of “recommended” videos, movies and songs. This is one of the most basic “A-I’s.” They simply keep a track of the videos you watch most often, the songs you listen to and what you give a thumbs up or a thumbs down. If you watch a certain category frequently or give a song a good rating, the app will recommend things in the same category.

Trading Apps

Though still relatively new, trading apps like profess some level of AI capability. When you buy and sell stocks, the app picks up on behavioral patterns and trends that might be losing you money. When they come across these biases, they let the user know and provide educational content that, if you read it, will make you less likely to make the same mistakes in the future.

Though smartphones aren’t about to take over the world, some of them could certainly outperform your average human on a standard IQ test. AI enhanced devices could have some amazing benefits for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia – Siri could be telling you that you left the stove on – children with learning difficulties and communication problems like autism, and lots more.

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.