6 AI-based apps making smartphones smarter

Kids from the 80's and 90's would recall that there were

  1. Floppies for data storage with a capacity varying from 90 KB to 240 MB
  2. Walkman and cassettes for listening to music
  3. Camera films that needed several days to be developed just to discover that most of the pictures were not good

All of these have been replaced by a single device. Yes, you guessed it right. Smartphones! We now have phones with a memory of 128GB (=128000 MB). There are 41 MP cameras in smartphones (Nokia Lumia 1020) where we can instantly get to know the quality of the picture. Smartphones have been referred to as the most popular innovation in the field of technology over the last decade. With apps like Whatsapp, we have almost forgotten SMS text messages and MSN messenger.

Nowadays, it is difficult to imagine life without smartphones. But how can we make the smartphones smarter? Artificial Intelligence is the answer. There is nothing to fear because it is already there on phones. AI is no longer only a part of movies as fictional characters, it is ubiquitous now. We are leveraging it through smartphones and mobile apps.

The impact that artificial intelligence has in our everyday lives is similar to that of smartphones. The need to reduce human error has led to the rise of artificial intelligence. AI means to develop systems that exceed or at least equal human intelligence. To know more about AI, you can refer to Artificial Intelligence 101: How to Get Started.

Here we have listed 6 apps that make your life simpler and your phones smarter. This will surely give you some ideas for building your own solution for IndiaHacks 2017.

India Hacks 2017-Artificial Intelligence

Allo

Allo is an AI-centric messaging app developed by Google. It was launched on September 21, 2016, and is available for both Android and iOS. At first glance, you'll feel that it is very similar to many other messaging apps out there. Be it sign up with the phone number, one-on-one or group chats, voice messages, themed stickers, or images with a doodle, it is pretty much what any messaging app offers.

What is new in Allo? Allo hints at Google's vision of an AI-filled future. Allo showcases its smartness through a feature called Smart Replies. The app suggests words or phrases throughout a conversation.

What's even more exciting is its image recognition feature. It is able to suggest replies not only based on the text but also the images shared within the conversation. But this is just a beginning of what Allo has to offer.

Google Assistant is an AI-based chatbot. You can interact with it in two ways:

  1. Direct chat: Assistant appears along with other conversations in the app.
  2. Within a chat: It can be called while chatting with friends with a message that starts with @Google.

In both cases, it can be used for quick Google searches, translations, directions, conversions, and advanced features such as image recognition.

Socratic

Every kid wishes that somebody could tell the answers to all the homework questions. There you go! Socratic is an app that says "Homework in a Snap."

Socratic is a free app available on iOS for Apple devices. It is a tutor app that can give answers to math homework problems and also explain how to solve it just by taking a picture of the problem. Not only math, it currently provides help in 23 different subjects, including Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, Physics, English grammar, Calculus, History, and Psychology.

It uses AI to analyze the information required and then returns explanations along with videos to give step-by-step help.

The company explains that "Socratic’s AI combines cutting-edge computer vision technologies, which read questions from images, with machine learning classifiers built using millions of sample homework questions, to accurately predict which concepts will help you solve your question."

Microsoft Pix

Microsoft Pix is a smartphone app that helps click better photographs automatically without extra effort. Its tagline is "Point. Shoot. Perfect." It is only available for devices running on iOS 9 or newer such as iPhone 5s and newer, iPad Air & Air 2, and iPad Mini 2, 3, 4.

Some of its features include

  1. Smart Settings: It automatically checks the lighting and scene between each shutter tap and updates settings in between shots.
  2. Live Image: It creates a short looping video by joining together the frames from the burst into a live image. But it happens only when some motion is sensed in the shot so that it doesn't waste the phone's memory.
  3. Face recognition: It optimizes capture settings automatically when a face is detected in the shot to help people look their best.

Microsoft Pix captures 10 frames with each shutter click and uses AI to pick up to three best and unique shots.

The Roll

The Roll is an app released by EyeEm, a German startup. It is an intelligent camera roll that helps in finding the best shots by assigning scores. It uses image recognition technology which helps group the photos based on their content and highlights the best ones.

Photos get automatically tagged and are displayed in groups according to these categories. It helps in searching and sharing without any confusion.

The scoring technology uses the EyeEm Vision algorithm which combines the artistic principles in photography with cutting-edge deep learning technology. EyeEm Vision uses millions of assisted photos to learn and replicate the choices of professionals and applies scores to photos from 0 to 100.

The Roll is current an iOS-only app but is anticipated to come to Android phones soon. It is an app that gives a critique in terms of the score and helps you become a better photographer.

EasilyDo

EasilyDo is an app which helps you manage calendar, contacts, and to-do lists. The tagline is "Easily Do: Your Smart Assistant. Never Miss Anything." It tries to do some jobs that a real-life assistant would do by offering an artificial intelligence-based organization.

It directly connects to email accounts such as Gmail and Exchange and to many other services and apps such as LinkedIn, Evernote, and Facebook.

Some of its features are

  1. It sends cards in the feed with any photos of you tagged on Instagram from the last 24 hours. Any of the photos can be liked or shared from the gallery view.
  2. All the email attachments received within the past 7 days are collected and placed in a card in the feed which helps you search for an attachment required for quick reference.
  3. It automatically creates a digital boarding pass from an online check-in confirmation email in the EasilyDo feed.

Apart from these features, there are more such as Facebook birthday reminders and track packages. It helps complete the action for any actionable email.

EasilyDo is available on both Android and iOS. Most of the features are free, but the access to the full range starts at around $5 per month.

ELSA

ELSA stands for English Language Speech Assistant, and it is a mobile app which uses AI to help people improve their pronunciation. It is the first and the world’s smartest AI pronunciation tutor. This app was co-founded by Vu Van and Xavier Anguera. Vu Van herself suffered with pronunciation issues while she was studying at Stanford.

Different curriculum options can be accessed based on interests, such as professional or travel settings. Users are then lead through a series of vocabulary phrases and words, and ELSA's algorithms analyze their speech. In case, ELSA detects a mispronunciation, it tells the user the correct pronunciation and also teaches the user how to move the tongue and lips to form the word correctly.

It is available on Android as well as iOS and is absolutely free. It won the award at SXSWEdu Launch 2016, the world’s largest startup competition.

This is not an exhaustive list of apps that have used Artificial Intelligence to make life simpler. There are many more AI-based apps out there.

Hope you could find your source of inspiration for the solution you want to build for IndiaHacks 2017.

About the Author

Rashmi Jain
I am trained to be a mathematician. I love teaching and music. When I am not at work you will find me cooking.
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