Mobile devices are becoming artificial-intelligence-centric, with AI playing a starring role in the user interfaces and location-based services in smartphones and tablets. However, cloud-based AI services may not always deliver the performance needed to run algorithms in real time. Because of that, tech companies are offering a new generation of artificial intelligence chips that can conduct AI processing on the mobile devices themselves.
The latest entry into this fast-growing market is Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, whose newly announced Kirin 970 artificial intelligence chip is designed to be used in smartphones. The Kirin 970 is custom-made to conduct tasks like sort images, translate text, and understand speech, according to Electronic Design.
Developed by Huawei’s semiconductor unit HiSilicon, the Kirin incorporates an eight-core CPU and 12-core GPU. Using its on-chip resources, Kirin can perform image recognition and other AI tasks about 25 times faster and 50 times more efficiently than a quad-core Arm Cortex A-73 processor, Electronic Design reports.
Mobile devices are employing AI as the chief means of user interface. Smartphones and tablets are employing voice-enabled digital assistants as the chief means of user interface. Combined with extensive sensor arrays, and object-recognition technology, these mobile devices are proactively anticipating users’ needs, providing context-based information that adjusts to users’ situations and locations.
In a paper titled “AI is the New UI,” consulting firm Accenture described how artificial intelligence technology is taking over the user interface.
“As AI matures, many of the problems that hindered adoption in the past are disappearing,” Accenture noted. It’s now consistently being used to add frictionless intelligence to people’s interactions with technology, creating opportunities to make any interface both simple and smart –driving wider, faster adoption of technology, and providing better outcomes for people.”
In pursuit of this goal, various companies are developing artificial intelligence chips for smartphones.
For example, Apple Inc. reportedly plans to introduce a microchip called the Neural Engine. Qualcomm Inc.’s newest Snapdragon smartphone chipset has a module for AI processing. Leading mobile device processor maker ARM Ltd. recently introduced the Cortex-A75 and A55, which include features designed to accelerate machine learning.
Implementing processing AI within mobile devices delivers multiple advantages compared to cloud-based solutions. Using an integrated artificial intelligence chip, smartphones could deliver insights without connecting to the internet. This enhances performance and privacy, while saving bandwidth and reducing power consumption.
Huawei hasn’t revealed which of its smartphones will use the Kirin 970. However, the company is planning to reveal a new flagship phone in October, Electronic Design reports.
Stephan Cunningham is vice president, product management at Veritone. Working in concert with core internal teams including industry-specific general managers and engineering as well as directly with clients and prospects, he leads the disciplines and business processes which govern the Veritone Platform.