Could Wearable AI Soon Render Smartphones Obsolete?

Wearable artificial intelligence (AI)-powered tools could potentially make smartphones obsolete. The modern smartphone is a major technological marvel that allows us quick access to our friends and family as well as the internet and all the knowledge it holds.

In slightly more than two decades, touchscreen smartphones have gone from clunky pieces of technology with barely any market penetration to minicomputers capable of accessing petabytes of online data and connecting people all over the world with a simple tap. There are now more than 310 million smartphone users in America and an estimated 6.84 billion smartphones globally, making the technology one of the most ubiquitous in human history.

However, constant advancement in the emerging artificial intelligence space could threaten the global supremacy of the modern smartphone due to the convenience the technology could offer. Instead of pulling your phone out of your pocket, unlocking it and launching your application of choice to either send an email, plan a fun meeting with your friend, or catch up on a previous meeting, you could simply say what you want to do out loud and your wearable AI tool will do all these tasks for you.

This almost sci-fi level of technology could allow you to perform all the actions you normally do on your mobile phone without having to tap on a screen, giving users an unprecedented level of utopian convenience. AI-powered tools are already allowing people to engage in activities they previously couldn’t or that would have required enormous amounts of time.

Generative AI tools can quickly create text and generate images — even photo-realistic video — with minimal human input, making it possible for activities that previously required skill, practice and time to be done with just the tap of a button. Companies have already begun integrating generative AI tools such as ChatGPT into their systems, especially social media companies such as Snapchat, search engines such as Google and messaging applications such as Slack. Their next step is now integrating this technology into hardware to create AI-powered devices for the consumer market and compete with smartphones.

California-based startup Humane will be the first company to combine AI software with hardware to create wearable tech via a small, AI-powered device that can make calls, send text messages, play music and even take pictures. Called AI Pin, the device attaches to the shirt with a magnet and has an inbuilt artificial intelligence chatbot that can listen to simple voice commands, answer queries and search the internet similar to ChatGPT. Interestingly, AI Pin projects a simple interface onto the user’s palm using a laser instead of providing a screen and app support.

Meta has also partnered with Ray-Ban to debut AI-powered smart glasses while China’s Oppo and TCL have each developed their AI-powered spectacles that respond to voice commands.

Companies that make smartphones and are also on the cutting-edge of developing AI technologies, such as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), could soon find ways to leverage the best of both technologies in order to deliver superior products that address the needs of consumers.

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