Artificial intelligence to replace smartphones by 2021: Report

Published Dec 11, 2015, 3:20 am IST
Updated Mar 26, 2019, 7:06 pm IST
More than 100,000 consumers across 40 countries participated in the survey.
(Representational Image)
 (Representational Image)

Mumbai: A survey conducted by Ericsson owned ConsumerLab, as part of its fifth annual report on consumer trends, indicated that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will replace smartphones in the next five years.

The Sweden-based communication technology provider questioned more than 100,000 consumers across 40 countries, enquiring their views on the future of technology. Interestingly, one in two smartphone users who took part in the survey favoured AI interfaces over devices with screens.


According to the report, AI would enable interaction with objects without the need for a smartphone screen, which can greatly reduce human effort. Additionally, established companies in every sector are heavily investing on AI technologies to develop futuristic cars, computers, home appliances and even personal assistants. 

Michael Björn, Head of Research, Ericsson ConsumerLab, said, “Some of these trends may seem futuristic. But consumer interest in new interaction paradigms such as AI and virtual reality (VR), as well as in embedding the internet in the walls of homes or even in our bodies, is quite strong.”


"This means we could soon see new consumer product categories appearing - and whole industries transforming - to accommodate this development." he added.

Users’ view on AI technology

The report said: “After 60 years in the screen age, 1 in 2 smartphones users now think that smartphones will be a thing of the past, and that this will happen in just 5 years.”

Two prime reasons for the emergence of AI, as cited by the report, can be accounted to the battery and screen size in smartphones. It said: “Our research indicates that 31 per cent of smartphone users want a 7?8 inch screen and another 30 per cent want a 6 inch screen, while 78 per cent want to worry less about the battery dying.”


“The contradictory demands for power-draining larger screens and a longer battery life however, highlight a need for better solutions, such as the use of intelligent assistants to reduce the need to always touch a screen,” the report added.

Additionally, 85 per cent of smartphone users think that wearable electronic assistants will also become common in the next five years. The study also found out that one in two people want hope to interact with household appliances, which is only possible via AI interfaces.

Source: Ericsson ConsumerLab 


“Smartphone users believe AI will take over many common activities, such as searching the net, getting travel guidance and as personal assistants. These are areas already being addressed by current generation AI interfaces in smartphones.”

Around 44 per cent participants indicated that AI systems would be good teachers while one third would like an AI interface to keep them company. Around 29 per cent even agreed that they would feel more comfortable discussing their medical condition with an AI system.

Potentially hazardous concept


AI is a fairly new concept and it would take much more than five years to replace smartphones, which are the most used electronic devices in the world. Additionally, there are a lot of negativities that revolve around AI and has been a highly debated topic among scientists. 

Distinguished English scientist Stephen William Hawkings previously warned how AI can be potentially dangerous to the human race. Even Bill Gates and Elon Musk have discussed the threats of AI.  

Today, robots are being developed just like the ones shown in movies, and scientists are also giving them the ability to think and say 'no'. But there is only a thin line between great innovations and failed experiments.


In such scenario, scientists should cautious and develop AI technology to an extent where humans have the ability to control it. 

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