Can an AI Device Replace the Smartphone?

This wearable is probably the progenitor (and as such has several limitations) of a new type of product.
Do you think these new devices can replace smartphones in the near future?
Will the new operating systems be revolutionised by integration with artificial intelligence?

I think it’s a good candidate to replace phones, but I prefer the approach of a cellular smartwatch. A watch’s display is more useful but less obtrusive than a smart pin’s because of its orientation to the user rather than to the world. A watch also provides better privacy guarantees to those around than the transparency lights on the pin because it usually isn’t in a position to record video. So it’s acceptable to bring a smartwatch to many situations where a pin’s not going to fly.

The pin being a nice camera is the biggest advantage; it’ll be a long time before watches can do more than lofi aesthetic if they have cameras at all.


(That’s pretty much all I want to say :vulcan_salute:)

(That and that I agree with @cornchip. It would be cool if the Apple Watch could be an independent device that had all the functionality of an iPhone. I can’t see myself wearing a “pin”, but the watch people got me as an child and I will probably wear a watch in some format until I die.)

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Why does the smartphone need to be replaced? I don’t feel any particular need to be liberated from my screens.



I think AI can help create a really useful personal assistant, like Bill Gates discusses in this article (originally posted by @Bmosbacker). And I think we will interact with them using speech, rather than goggles, for the next several years.

But I think the rounded rectangles in our pockets will still look much the same as they do today, even if they turn out to be cloud connected thin clients. And people will still call them phones.

I agree with Marco’s view on the latest ATP… don’t bet against the smartphone.

Personally, I don’t see it succeeding. But I also accept that predicting such things is nigh on impossible.

If the only thing AI did was to liberate a hapless Siri from responding to every other question with “Here’s something I found on the web,” it would be enough.


I don’t rule out anything for the future, but the sticking point for me is the input.

If you’ve been in an open plan office lately, you will see maybe half the people there in headsets, and hearing their end of whatever video call they are on. Now imagine the other half using voice commands to to their work - I would go absolutely bonkers :slight_smile:

I also think it’s super weird to use voice commands in public, like adding reminders or notes via voice. Frankly, it’s none of their business, they also don’t care and I would feel disruptive. Composing text is still going to be a valid use case, and I certainly isn’t one who can just dictate a well-composed message in one go. I need my editor to check that my words say what I meant to say.

In private or in an office where you can close the door, this would be different, but those are increasingly scarce for most knowledge workers today.

I’m all for futuristic and better solutions, but “private input” is a feature that’s deeply rooted with me.


How about an open plan area surrounded by offices facing inward? I was able to hear both ends of a conversation when managers called each other on speaker phones.

We will hopefully have multiple forms of input in the future. I don’t see navigating an interface using my eyes and hand gestures working in a lot of situations either.

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Agreed. The whole world could use a quiet car. And don’t get me started about blaring TVs in every public place … especially now that no one is ever watching them.


It’s easy to see how this type of thing might bring us closer to a Star Trek-like world of computing. One thing that keeps nagging at me though was the fact that all of the voice stuff was done as a way to help move the story along. It was a way for a single actor in a scene to interact on their own but still allow the viewer to know what was going on. Since it was TV, they never had to worry about the realities (privacy, rudeness in public spaces, accuracy, efficiency) or any of the challenges we were facing with these screen-less interfaces.

I’m intrigued by the concept but think it’s likely to be a flop when faced wtih the real world.

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This reminds me of the scenes in Galaxy Quest where Sigourney Weaver’s character explains her role:

Voice of Computer: Enemy is matching velocity.
Gwen DeMarco: The enemy is matching velocity.
Sir Alexander Dane: We heard it the first time.
Gwen DeMarco: Gosh, I’m doing it. I’m repeating the darn computer.

Voice of Computer: Negative, there is no replacement Beryllium Sphere on board.
Gwen DeMarco: [to crew] No, there is no replacement Beryllium Sphere on board.
Tommy Webber: You know, that is really getting annoying!
Gwen DeMarco: [shouts] Look! I have one job on this lousy ship, it’s stupid, but I’m gonna do it! Okay?
Tommy Webber: Sure, no problem.


This is my new favourite thread. A Star Trek reference (not mine) AND a Galaxy Quest reference. Good work everyone!

By Grabthar’s hammer, by the suns of Worvan, you shall get as many Galaxy Quest references as I can reasonably muster.