The term Artificial Intelligence is intimidating to many – primarily due to its villainous nature depicted in pop culture. However, the reality of AI is far from how it is portrayed in Terminator or 2001: A Space Odyssey. From education to healthcare, AI is making the world a better place.
We interact with intelligent machines on a daily basis – starting from its algorithms in emails, social media and web searches to voice assistants like Alexa, which has almost 66,000 unique skill counts as of 2019.
In mobile apps, AI has played a crucial role in the way we interact and consume these apps. In this article, we will cover some of the notable features offered by AI in smartphones and how you can use it in your apps to enhance user experience.
What Is Artificial Intelligence in Mobile?
Artificial intelligence can be defined as the ability of a system to learn and copy intelligent behaviour and use it to make autonomous decisions. If a system is capable of solving problems, completing tasks or exhibiting human-like cognitive behaviour, then it is said to have artificial intelligence.
However, the type of artificial intelligence in mobile is often misunderstood. In almost every mobile app, Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI), also known as weak AI, is used.
Weak AI is capable of performing single tasks like setting reminders, checking the weather or making web searches. Even though many regard narrow AI to be highly-intelligent, in reality, it isn’t. It operates within a predefined set of data, and it isn’t able to perform anything beyond that.
Strong AI has the ability to reason, solve problems and make judgements with the help of prior knowledge. This AI has the ability to think creatively and is known to exhibit human intelligence.
On the other hand, super AI is a hypothetical agent that will exceed human intelligence in all aspects. It will have the ability to think and create beyond human capabilities. This is the type of AI that many people, including Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk, have predicted will lead to the extinction of the human race.
Uses of Narrow Artificial Intelligence in Mobile
Even though narrow AI seems weak compared to Strong or Super AI, it is capable enough to make our lives easier. Here are some of the many ways we use AI in day-to-day life through smartphones.
1. Voice Assistants
When was the last time you had a conversation with Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa? Probably a few hours ago! They are a great example of what narrow AI can do – automating monotonous tasks. You can set a reminder, enquire about the weather or make a call with the help of these “wingmen”.
2. Adaptive Battery
If you are an Android user, you must be familiar with a feature in Settings labelled “Adaptive Battery”. However, did you know that narrow AI powers this feature?
Since Android 9 (Pie), the Adaptive Battery feature closely monitors the battery consumption of Android devices and user preferences. By combining these data, the feature identifies apps that you rarely use and prevents them from running in the background.
3. Google Lens
Even though a Google product, the Google Lens is available in iPhone as well. You just need to download the Google app to access this feature. The app, backed by AI, uses image processing and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to identify entities, including text, buildings, animals and almost anything, from a picture or your smartphone’s camera.
4. Face Lock
Several face recognition apps were available in the Play Store before Apple unveiled its Face ID technology with the iPhone X in 2017. However, these apps just compared images of the user, whereas the Face ID in the iPhone uses 3D mapping to pull this feat off.
The AI behind Face ID is capable of recognising a user’s face, even if they put on a pair of glasses. It can also detect whether someone is holding up a photo to unlock the phone or if someone is using a 3D-printed mask to illegally unlock the phone.
5. Smart Reply
Another impressive feature powered by AI is the smart reply which determines the best reply suggestions by analysing the context of the message and the previous replies of a user. The Gmail app extensively uses this feature and is now becoming part of other messaging apps as well.
6. Adaptive Brightness
Just like the Adaptive Battery feature, the Adaptive Brightness feature uses AI to learn how a user changes their display brightness in different settings, and will automatically make these changes on behalf of the user.
7. AI-Powered Personalization
One of the biggest reasons why you like Netflix is because of how well it knows you and recommends content to watch each time you log in. This same feature is available on YouTube, and not surprisingly, it is powered by AI.
How to Implement Artificial Intelligence in Mobile App Development
The application of AI in mobile is limitless. Using AI in mobile app development, you can offer highly-personalised content, automate mundane tasks and enrich the user experience.
AI is becoming more affordable than ever before with companies like Qualcomm increasingly incorporating it in their 5th generation mobile processor series Snapdragon 865.
Most social networking platforms like Facebook or Instagram use AI to fight cyberbullying, prevent spam and make the platform a safer place for users of all ages.
AI recognises offensive comments and posts with the help of a list of terms or phrases that have been reported as derogatory in the past.
If you are planning for an artificial intelligence-based mobile app, these are some of the ways you can implement it.
Image / Video / Audio Recognition
One of the most notable advantages of AI is how voice assistants like Siri or Google Assistant are agile enough in recognising a user’s voice and automating several mundane tasks such as booking a cab or setting reminders.
Likewise, you can include AI-based image recognition technology in your app for identifying, sorting and retrieving images or videos. For example, Google Photos identifies elements within images or videos and classifies them into different categories with the applications of ML and AI. You can also search for people, places or objects in the Photos app.
Analyse User Behaviour
One of the best means to boost user engagement and retention is by knowing the in-app behaviour of your users. Fortunately, using AI, you can suggest app content to users based on their preferences.
For example, Google Maps app learns from the day-to-day activities of users and sends traffic updates and route suggestions. Based on a user’s travel history and preferences, the app also offers personalised recommendations on new things to try out, such as nearest restaurants, parks, or events.
Along with analysing user behaviour, AI is extensively used for proactive detection of self-harming behaviour. For example, in 2017, Facebook launched a feature that scans posts of every user to detect patterns that may indicate the user is involved in self-harming.
According to a video shared on Facebook Newsroom, Facebook’s AI-driven detection program was able to identify a woman in upstate New York, threatening to harm herself. The local police were notified and were able to locate the woman using a cell phone ping. The police were able to rush her to the hospital on time, thus saving her life.
Offer Recommendations and Predictions
A striking characteristic of Netflix, as well as YouTube, is the personalised content recommendations it offers. It takes into account your past viewing history, likes and dislikes, the total duration of a particular video you watched, along with the number of times you fast forwarded and paused it.
In a way, these AI algorithms know you better than yourself. For e-commerce apps, product recommendations have proven to increase sales by 30%.
Just like recommendations, your AI mobile app can have predictive features based on contexts, just like the Android keyboard. Using AI, the predictive keyboard knows what you are about to say by analysing your past conversations, context and even the language you are typing in.
Deliver Custom Notifications
As crucial as recommendations are for better user engagement, custom notifications are equally vital for drawing a user to your app. These notifications can be segmented or prioritised based on user behaviour and can be adapted based on how a user interacts with them.
You can use personalised push notifications for the following instances.
- To promote personalised offers which expire soon.
- To recommend potential partners in dating apps.
- In social networking platforms, when a page posts content that the user would find interesting.
Here’s an example of how the mobile game Pokémon GO uses personalised notifications to boost engagement.
Advanced Search Engine
An advanced search engine powered by AI will help in shaping results for queries, based on the user’s previous interaction with the mobile app. This feature is especially useful if you are planning for an e-commerce, travel or entertainment app.
For example, the online booking platform Airbnb uses not just one, but several AI-powered algorithms that rank search results based on user preferences and 195 relevance features.
The features analysed by the algorithms include price, amenities, booking history and the similarity of listings recently viewed by a user.
By displaying highly relevant results, users are more likely to convert.
Airbnb is also known for its AI-enabled trait analyser, which checks whether a customer is genuine or not by using a background check technology. This technology is known to scan social media sites of a user and determine whether they are credible or not.
Even though a weak AI, chatbots are capable of answering most of the user’s queries and adapt with each answer. Chatbots are especially useful if you are planning for an e-commerce AI mobile app – helping users get relevant information without any human assistance.
Chatbots can also be used for helping with routine tasks such as booking an appointment, ordering, status enquiry, or any basic to moderately-complex clarifications.
In a press release announcing the implementation of AI, Mastercard explains how it can help in understanding user purchase behaviour and thereby helping to prevent fraudulent activities.
In the same way, AI in mobile banking will be useful to analyse log-in patterns of users and notify if anything suspicious happens.
AI-powered security features can be employed to detect malware as well. The Google Play Protect feature in the Play Store offers malware protection for Android devices and will notify users to take action upon detecting unusual behaviors by apps.
For instance, if an app steals personal information from a user, or adds hidden charges to the mobile bill, the Play Protect feature will detect and remove the app.
Top AI Apps for iOS and Android
To give you some insights on AI mobile app ideas, here are some of the best AI-powered apps in iOS and Android.
1. Google Assistant
Google Assistant needs no introduction as most Android users start their day off with the phrase “Ok Google”. Since its inception, Google Assistant has evolved to perform complex tasks like taking notes and storing secret codes or passwords. In general, Google Assistant can help you make calls, set reminders, navigate and browse the web.
Since its initial release in 2008, Siri has been one of the biggest reasons why most iPhone users are loyal fans of the series. Siri was the general public’s introduction to how narrow AI can make lives easier. Siri can answer questions, make calls, send text messages, and even browse the web for you.
As its name suggests, Socratic is an intelligent AI mobile application, capable of solving problems across various subjects. All you need to do is take a photo of a question, and this homework helper will help you with instant explanations. The app is available on both iOS and Android.
Elsa is a speaking assistant that helps users to speak English fluently. This AI mobile app is capable of identifying pronunciation mistakes and rectifying them. It also helps the user to practise frequently-used phrases and obtain feedback. The app is available on both iOS and Android.
Robin is a fun-to-use infotainment assistant, capable of learning and adapting with each interaction. It can be used to set alarms, get information on traffic and weather, and also offers personalised playlists.
Youper is an AI assistant which helps in monitoring and improving the emotional health of its users. The application uses techniques such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to assist users. The app is available on both iOS and Android.
7. Microsoft Pix
Microsoft Pix is an intelligent camera capable of capturing stabilised images. The app, with the help of AI, automatically changes the camera settings to best suit an environment – creating a perfect picture.
The AI used in Pix enhances the image by boosting colour and tone, cropping edges, and sharpening the focus. Currently, Microsoft Pix is available only on iOS.
Fyle is an AI mobile app that helps users to manage and track their expenses. The app makes expense reporting a one-click process and can even retrieve data from email receipts. It can also be integrated with ERP, accounting and HRMS software. The app is available on iOS and Android.
DataBot is an AI-based virtual assistant capable of answering questions and learns each time you use it. You can instruct it to perform a voice search, image search or even multimedia presentations. It is also capable of improving its vocabulary, each time you interact with it. DataBot is available on Android and iOS.
Wysa is an AI-powered chatbot, capable of providing emotional support to its users. The app tracks the mood of its users based on the chats and recommends audios to improve mindfulness and optimism. The app is available on iOS and Android.
AI doesn’t have to be feared at all – contrary to what years of films and television made us think. Instead, artificial intelligence is making our lives easier by relieving us of monotonous tasks and improving our online security.
With AI, mobile apps are witnessing tremendous growth in functionalities and personalisation for users. Voice assistants like Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa are just the beginning of what AI is capable of doing.
In the near future, with the assistance of strong AI, we might be having a personal assistant on our smartphones capable of imagination, creation, and decision-making – like Jarvis in Iron Man.