The term "artificial intelligence" has become somewhat of a buzzword in the past few years. But does this emerging technology have any tangible benefits for the everyday consumer?
It's a term cloaked in mystery, awe, and misunderstanding, and not much has been done to decipher this complicated technology for the layperson.
The evolution of our mobile phone experience
Perhaps the closest the average person gets to emerging AI technology is through their mobile phones. We've come a long way from the feature phones of the late 1990s, with their physical keyboards and very basic functionality. It was undoubtedly the smartphone that started a real mobile phone revolution late in the first decade of the 21st century, with its quick and convenient touchscreens and access to apps that grew exponentially in number and usefulness with every passing year.
Ten years later, and we find ourselves in the era of the intelligent phone as AI makes its debut on our mobile devices. Our interaction with our phones is no longer limited to swipes on a screen but now includes many more of our senses, making it more natural and intuitive. We can get information from Google on our phones by using our voice, our phones can identify how many steps we've taken in a day, and our phone cameras can recognise what we're taking a picture of, and apply the most appropriate settings.
AI can put health and fitness at the forefront
One of the most significant ways that advanced mobile technology has impacted our everyday lives is in the arena of health and fitness. Our phones can monitor our heart rate and warn us when it's too high, can check for irregularities in our sleep patterns, and track whether we are meeting our fitness goals - all in real time and with very little manual input.
Continuing this health and fitness trend is a fascinating feature on the new Huawei Mate 20 Pro, called HiVision. This tool has turned its attention to another vital aspect of health: food.
Medical and fitness professionals will tell you that, no matter how hard you exercise, your overall health and weight are primarily determined by what you feed your body. However, our good intentions are often derailed by tantalising sweet treats or greasy junk food - especially this celebratory time of year, when gluttony is gleefully sanctioned.
It is during these moments of weakness when a feature like the Huawei Mate 20 Pro's HiVision comes in handy.
What if you could find out the high number of calories in that freshly baked mince pie at your local supermarket before you are tempted to buy it? Or find out exactly how much fat is in your mother's famous beef lasagne before you reach for a second helping? The Huawei Mate 20 Pro can reveal this information to you within just one second when you point it at the food item.
HiVision goes as far to distinguish between a simple cheese burger and a double burger with all the trimmings. It even knows what kind of meat is in your curry and whether it’s a korma or a masala.
This tool will definitely be an advantage in January when people become more calorie conscious once again, and strictly follow their low carb or high fat eating plans.
Shopping, touring and translating
Other useful applications of Huawei's HiVision involve shopping and tourism, another two common activities in the festive season. Buying a great gift for your partner can often prove difficult. But what if you were to see a friend's necklace that would be just perfect for your wife, but your friend can't remember where she bought it?
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro's HiVision can solve this problem by easily scanning the necklace and identifying it in a matter of seconds, which enables you to search for it online.
Huawei's HiVision also comes in handy during the holiday season, whether you're travelling locally or overseas. It's able to identify well-known landmarks - from Table Mountain to the Eiffel Tower - and can then direct you to where you can find more information on this tourist attraction on the net.
Translation is also a key function of the Huawei Mate 20 Pro’s HiVision, as it can help you decipher unfamiliar signs and text almost immediately when you're in a foreign country.
So what's next?
The future possibilities of artificial intelligence are very exciting, especially when it comes to our health. Perhaps our phones will soon be able to monitor what we're eating daily and suggest what else we should eat that week to ensure we're getting a balanced diet. Or maybe our phones could monitor more aspects of our health, such as our blood pressure, and send a monthly report to our doctor so he or she can look out for warning signs of any diseases.
As AI continues to develop, there will be more and more practical ways that we can use it to help us live our best lives.