Offline AI Revolution Awaits Smartphones

Offline AI Revolution Awaits Smartphones

Published By:, 2/27/2017

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A number of smartphone manufacturers are attempting to improve devices’ offline functioning by using artificial intelligence (AI) and onboard data storage that leverages faster processors. Other companies are focusing on AI technologies that let phones predict users’ behavior and what they want to do. For example, the startup Neura is developing an AI that uses data about users’ routine behaviors to predict their habits, with the goal of making smartphones more helpful to users.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of Article: 11.5

Extended Discussion Questions

  • If your phone could perform more functions offline, how would it impact the way you use it?
    • What are some possible benefits of using your phone offline for more functions?
    • Would there be any potential disadvantages for you?
  • The article discusses how a smarter phone could better predict what a user is doing or will do next. What predictions would you want your phone to make about you?
    • Do you think this would be more convenient for you? Why or why not?
    • Do you think most people would want their phone to predict their behavior and desires? Or might people be concerned about losing control over their phones?
  • The article also discusses the possibility of smartphones making their own decisions based on their predictions.
    • What potential issues could arise if a phone were to make a decision before you told it to?
    • Is this potential situation fundamentally different from long-established technology that makes decisions based on predictions about your behavior? (For example, motion sensors that turn on lights or open doors.) If so, how?
  • If voice recognition becomes more prominent and convenient in phones, could this influence the way people use speech to interact with vehicles?
    • What effects might this have? (Example to start: Do you think it could affect the accident rate?)
  • One technologist quoted in the article mentions that better onboard AI could lead to a decrease in the use of external servers, meaning less access to user data for the tech firms.
    • What other disadvantages might there be for tech firms in developing better onboard AI?
    • What are the potential advantages for them?

Relating This Story to the CSP Curriculum Framework

Global Impact Learning Objectives:

  • LO 7.1.1 Explain how computing innovations affect communication, interaction, and cognition.
  • LO 7.3.1 Analyze the beneficial and harmful effects of computing.
  • LO 7.4.1 Explain the connections between computing and real-world contexts, including economic, social, and cultural contexts.

Global Impact Essential Knowledge:

  • EK 7.2.1A Machine learning and data mining have enabled innovation in medicine, business, and science.
  • EK 7.3.1A Innovations enabled by computing raise legal and ethical concerns.
  • EK 7.3.1G Privacy and security concerns arise in the development and use of computational systems and artifacts.

Other CSP Big Ideas:

  • Idea 3 Data and Information

Banner Image:Network Visualization – Violet – Offset Crop“, derivative work by ICSI. New license: CC BY-SA 4.0. Based on “Social Network Analysis Visualization” by Martin Grandjean. Original license: CC BY-SA 3.0.

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