A friend in your pocket
We know that Huawei is keen on adding as much artificial intelligence to its gadgets as possible, and its phones already ship with an AI assistant in China. That dedicated digital helper is eventually going to roll out elsewhere too, with one key improvement – better emotional interactions for users.
“We want to provide emotional interactions,” Huawei’s Felix Zhang told CNBC. “We think that, in the future, all our end users wish [that] they can interact with the system in the emotional mode. This is the direction we see in the long run.”
In other words, your phone will be able to read your mood and respond accordingly, rather than just feeding back programmed responses (though it’ll do that too). The tone of your voice, how you’re using your phone, and other bits of information could all be crunched to try and get a feel for how you’re doing.
Zhang pointed to the Samantha assistant in the 2013 movie Her as inspiration for what Huawei is working on. “Samantha is a dream for all the engineers,” he said. “Like in the movie, you can even get rid of your girlfriend. This is quite an emotional service providing.”
The idea is that the AI app would eventually evolve to the point where it can keep up a conversation with you and provide some emotional support as well as news on the weather and the current traffic conditions on the way to the office. Your phone could be your friend as well as your go-to gadget.
Exactly how long it’s going to take Huawei to get all this in place isn’t clear, but it certainly isn’t the only company in the race – the likes of Google Assistant, Cortana, Alexa and Siri will all become smarter and sophisticated over time.