No, Artificial Intelligence will not kill the smartphone: Apple’s Phil Schiller

Apple's Phil Schiller on why artificial intelligence-based assistants can't replace the mobile screen, just yet

Written by Nandagopal Rajan | Bengaluru | Updated: April 3, 2017 10:46:36 am

Apple, Apple Phil Schiller, Phil Schiller, Phil Schiller AI, Artificial Intelligence, Apple Siri, Apple AI assistant, Samsung, Samsung Galaxy S8 Apple’s Philip Schiller told that even as artificial intelligence becomes better, the value of the screen will remain very strong in our lives.

There has been far too much chatter on whether artificial intelligence and virtual reality could end up pushing the smartphone, which might still power them, into the background. However, not everyone seems to buy the argument that soon we will not the need a screen to interact with smart devices at all.

Philip Schiller, the senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing at Apple, told that even as voice interaction become more prevalent and artificial intelligence becomes better, the value of the screen will remain very strong in our lives.

“I can ask Siri for directions, but seeing the map on the screen helps me understand where I am going,” he explained. He said photography, which was such an integral part of smartphone usage will still need the screen and the written word is also getting more popular. Plus, the gaming, the largest app category, also cannot exist without the screen.

However, the apps on smartphones — a segment ushered in by Apple close to a decade ago with the launch of the iPhone — has the potential to change industries that have been around for centuries.

“Every company, every business, every education institution has something to improve through software and applications,” Schiller said. He added that with smartphone technology and applications becoming so pervasive in our lives, there are two magical things happening.

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“One, there is a technology adoption by consumers at a scale seen never before — these are almost supercomputers in our pockets; and at the same time you have software that can transform everyday businesses and services that we all rely on in new ways.”

In fact, he thinks they have the power to change societies and economies.

“One of the huge opportunities is building through technology for people from diverse backgrounds to get opportunities that might not have existed in old industries. Men and women, people from different ethnic and economic backgrounds… there is a great levelling through apps and technology where none of that matters, what matters is how good is your idea, how good is the opportunity you want to create and that increases diversity and the creativity of people from different perspectives.”

Schiller adds: “The whole world wins when that happens and the society can often change through that process.”

Schiller says Apple sees this with its developer communities that reach people from all over the world. “They get to influence all of us. I think that is a big way that society changes.”

He also underlines how software, “often best expressed as the apps on our devices”, has changed the way we interact with our governments, our places of work and places of education. “If you look at it at that scale, we have only just begun… the number of apps that are being created, the number of downloads and the amount of revenue being generated in this sector are all measures of this.”

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