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Huawei's futuristic vision of an AI-focused 'Superphone' will be a “double of you”

HUAWEI CEO Richard Yu has outlined a compelling vision for a futuristic AI-driven 'Superphone', a device HUAWEI is already working towards making.

Published onNovember 19, 2016


Speaking at the World Internet Conference in China recently, HUAWEI CEO Richard Yu delivered a futuristic keynote speech on artificial intelligence. In that speech, Yu outlined his concept of an AI-centric ‘Superphone’ that ultimately would be a “double of you”.

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Not surprisingly, Yu detailed the ways in which HUAWEI is already heading in that direction, with investments in four key areas: device, connectivity, the cloud and chipsets. Yu then discussed the emergence of the “information civilization” which he says is “evolving in two areas: richer information and more convenient access”.

Touching on the increasing digitization and convergence of information we are now witnessing, Yu quite accurately sees the expansion of the digital world as an overwhelming and ultimately unmanageable trend.

The increasing digitization and convergence of information we are now witnessing is an overwhelming and ultimately unmanageable trend, but it is a problem that AI can solve.

According to Yu, this exponential data growth is becoming incomprehensible to humans, a problem in dire need of a solution. The solution Yu envisions is a smartphone powered by advanced AI: what he calls a Superphone.

As Yu says, “a Superphone goes far beyond making calls and browsing the internet, it’s not only your personal, go-to assistant for daily tasks, but even a double of you. The Superphone will introduce a new information-management architecture.”

This AI-focused Superphone will no longer be a passive device meant only for interactions between the user and the device, “the Superphone will be special because it will proactively interact with the physical world.” Yu sees the Superphone interacting with the real world with “abilities matching or exceeding those of a human’s eyes, ears, tongue, nose, body and mind.”

Think of it like this: The eyes are computer vision, ears are smart voice, tongues are a taste sensor, noses are an air sensor, other various robotic technologies will represent the body, and the mind is informed local decision-making – not intuitive responses, but well-reasoned decisions. All of these sensors combined with device-based AI will be able to fully replicate the human ability to comprehend the physical world.

It’s a pretty compelling vision from one of the leading figures in the mobile industry. But this isn’t just navel-gazing futurecasting, HUAWEI is already committed to creating the Superphone. “In order to realize our vision,” Yu concluded his keynote, “we need to continue to create innovative technologies that fuel the development of the Superphone, a goal that is rooted in our lifeblood.”

This isn't just navel-gazing futurecasting: HUAWEI is already committed to creating the Superphone.

As you may recall, one of the main software selling points for the recently announced HUAWEI Mate 9 is its ability to learn over time and be “born fast, stay fast.” The Mate 9 does this through machine learning that picks up on your behaviors and preferences and predicts what you’re likely to do and when.

Using this information, the Mate 9 might, for example, prepare an app it thinks you’ll use next, periodically defragment your storage for faster access or manage system resources according to your usage habits. This may just be the early stages of an AI-driven Superphone, but the future, at least in HUAWEI’s eyes, is already knocking.

How do you think AI will improve smartphones in future?