The contemporary smartphone is a miracle in your pocket, packing far more computing power than the multimillion dollar supercomputer Deep Blue that defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997.

The list of devices and functions that the smartphone has replaced is long and still growing. In daily life, the smartphone has mostly replaced what were previously stand-alone devices—still cameras, video cameras, audio recorders, music players, radios, personal computers, internet browsers, video game players, roadmaps and navigators, calendars and planners, address books, printed books, even the humble flashlight. And yes, the telephone!

AI is a key part of the smartphone story—from its manufacturing to its day-to-day functioning—and it is also the result of the smartphone explosion in the following ways: 

  1. AI is used to design smartphones—especially in the design and circuit mapping of the complex and extraordinarily powerful computer chips at the core of current smartphones.

  2. New model smartphones are designed to run AI software (particularly neural networks) very quickly and efficiently, turning them into powerful and specialized AI computers. The monitors in this exhibition highlight just a few of the apps that run neural networks locally on the smartphone.

  3. Smartphones are the eyes and ears of the AI revolution. The neural networks at the centre of current AI practice are trained with data—images, text, sound—from the real world. People don't just take trillions of photos on smartphones per year, they upload them, meaning that billions of smartphone users worldwide are creating the data that trains modern AI software. Any smartphone app that uses AI to analyze and process images (such as Snapchat Lens, RefaceAI and Google Lens) utilizes neural networks that were trained by this vast and growing ocean of data uploaded from smartphones around the world.

Text To Speech

Devices and functions replaced by the Smartphone, Infographic by Susan Perrigo