Your Smartphone Is About to Become As Smart As You

AI has gripped the public imagination and attention for years now. Quite literally— making decisions for us and about us behind the scenes, in supercomputing core nodes on the cloud network.

It influences what we see and think when we use our devices, an influence that is increasingly more intertwined with our “real” lives this side of the screens and all the databases and all that computing power.

But as computer microchip makers consistently fit more computational circuits into the same amount of space, the superpowers of high-density digital computation increasingly live in our hands and pockets.

That’s both frightening and promising. It means our smartphones, tablets, and computers are emerging as qualitatively equivalent in capability to ourselves. The most vexing philosophical problems are here for humanity to confront when $1,000 USD can buy something capable of making as many computations per second as a human brain.

It calls into question entirely, and with new relevance and urgency— the age-old questions: What is the value of human life? And what is the value of a dollar? 

This “future” event horizon of technological singularity isn’t near. It’s here. And it also means that computational devices available at a price point accessible to nearly anyone are also, somehow emerging as qualitatively equivalent in salient ways to the capability of corporate and government supercomputers.

This is a democratization of the power of computation that levels the playing field and gives all the little people with scarce resources more than enough to hold our own in an ocean of supercomputer-wielding, corporate leviathans. We all have supercomputers now.

With the right understanding of how high tech change practically changes our world and our lives, and with the right tooling from software and hardware developers to implement solutions to the problems posed by this brave new world, our smartphones have the potential to be something like the guardian angels that past called on to watch over them and keep them safe.

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