It’s been a dream of ours for a while now. We’ve been watching the AI space, salivating at systems like IBM Watson, and having some fun playing with Microsoft and Facebook bots. We’re still waiting though, waiting for a future where our phones are no longer a repository of tiny square icons delivering singular web connected experiences.
For this editor personally, at last count, my “must install” list of apps has grown to almost 80 services which I pile on every time I set up a new phone to review. Many of these programs are feature specific to a degree that they could be easily replaced by a more desktop grade browser. Some apps could easily be lumped into the core of the phone’s user interface. There’s been a lot of discussion about the benefits of consumer facing artificial intelligence, but we might be missing the forest for the trees.
The next stage of mobile computing needs to focus on streamlining.
The experience of using a smartphone has become fairly bloated. We live our lives out of tiny glowing rectangles that handle some computing tasks really well, but still stumble over some uses better suited to laptops and desktops. Making sense out of an incredible amount of user data, while acting as the gatekeeper to a myriad number of online services, and occasionally taking a phone call, is a tall order for a device that fits in your pocket.
Science fiction addresses this by creating super smart computer systems. How fantastic an idea, when Star Trek utilized speech controls for complex computing tasks 50 years ago on TV. The future we’re approaching is starting to resemble those Sci-Fi tropes found in Star Trek , 2001 A Space Odyssey , and countless other film and television properties.
Yes, AI can help you search through your photos better. Yes, AI will know which speakers to wireless stream your music to. Sure, AI can tell you jokes in your favorite messaging app. It’s less sexy to talk about, but could eventually be the biggest benefit over time, AI should be the death of the single purpose app. Think of how many services which could be completely uprooted by smarter search and suggestion systems.