Smartphone AI: Can Your Mobile Phone Really Become Self-Aware?

Smartphone AI Can Your Mobile Phone Really Become Self-Aware?

In the world of Smartphones and AI, we ask the question, “Can Your Mobile Phone Really Become Self-Aware?” We often use movie analogies when describing futuristic AI, which is the only medium we have to gauge or compare. If you have seen a video of a swarm of drones flying and thinking of that swarm being Self Aware and able to think on its own, it can be terrifying to some as it should be.

Today’s AI specializes in doing repetitive human mental thinking tasks rather than thinking like humans. But yes, there is a chance that your mobile phone can become self-aware in the future. Our current technology and capabilities in AI are accelerating every day and creating the possibility of making Self-Aware AI a reality.

The slippery slope of humanity losing control of its technology is all over the media today, from famous scientists and entrepreneurs who are familiar or deal with AI. So even if it is only as smart as a cockroach or a mouse today. You can imagine the evolutionary progress that can happen.

What Does It Mean for AI To Become Self-aware?

What Does It Mean for AI To Become Self-aware?
What Does It Mean for AI To Become Self-aware?

When we think of Artificial Intelligence or AI, we may be thinking about the Terminator and how Skynet took over the world when it became self-aware. And while our mobile phones might be too small to take the world over, is it possible for them to eventually become self-aware as smartphone chips are getting better and as technology progresses towards the future?

Self-awareness in machines and humans can be more of a philosophical and psychological topic than it is about AI. Still, it is worth discussing what it means to be self-aware. If ever our mobile smartphones can reach a point where they can become self-aware and think for themselves, can they truly have the consciousness and identity similar to actual humans?

Before we get to the point where we ask what it means for our AI to become self-aware, let us first discuss what self-awareness is from a general standpoint because it can be quite difficult for people to truly grasp self-awareness in machines without even understanding what it means to become self-aware in the first place.

Your Self Awareness 

Your Self Awareness
Your Self Awareness

The dictionary definition of becoming self-aware is concerned with experiencing one’s own individuality and personality. That means that you should be able to know for a fact that you are an entirely different and unique individual with his or her own personality.

Being aware of your own consciousness and how you can make use of your consciousness in different matters such as your own body and lifestyle is what makes you self-aware. Simply put, knowing that you are you and being aware of that fact is what self-awareness is all about.

One who is self-aware has a certain degree of introspection in the sense that he or she can focus his or her attention towards the inner self while comparing one’s behavior and actions with one’s internal beliefs standards.

The Ability To Self Analyze

This self analyzation is where one begins to re-evaluate his or her own life and grow from evaluating their actions from an internal standpoint. The degree of introspection we are talking about allows us to have our own personal identities and set of standards and values.

Knowing what the philosophical definition of self-awareness is all about, you may begin to wonder right now whether you are self-aware or not. The very fact that you are internally thinking about your own self-awareness proves that you are self-aware.

Humans still struggle to identify other species that may be self-aware, let alone identify consciousness or self-awareness in a machine. The only species we are certain to be self-aware of is us.

What Does It Mean for AI and Machines To Become Self-aware?

What Does It Mean for AI and Machines To Become Self-Aware?
What Does It Mean for AI and Machines To Become Self-Aware?

An artificial intelligence that is self-aware means that it knows what it is and its identity. It continues to develop the same kind of cognitive reasoning and intelligence similar to that of a human. 

For AI to be self-aware, it has to be able to think for itself without being confined to a set of logical conclusions and mental actions that are encoded to it by its developers or programmers. It means that the AI should discern what it wants for itself depending on its internal thoughts and how its environment affects its thinking. 

This behavioral concept is the most challenging (and the most frightening) about the future of AI. If AI becomes Self Aware, then what? Does it have a conscience and know the difference between right and wrong? Does it decide to do the right thing based on its capability to be Self Aware? The capacity of AI and machines to outperform humans in many tasks they have already learned is changing the landscape of Humanity.

Consciousness As It Relates To Self-Awareness

Now that we know more about what being self-aware is and what it means for AI in general or in our smartphones to be self-aware, let us talk more about consciousness and how it relates to self-awareness both in the broad sense and concerning Mobile AI.

Just to be clear, consciousness is not the same as self-awareness, although, in most cases, they go hand in hand. When you say that you are conscious, it relates to your sentience or your awareness of your own self and the things around you.

While consciousness is often a debatable and still a growing topic among psychologists and philosophers alike, we currently relate it to experience, cognition, and perception. That means that your consciousness and the existence of such are based on your experiences, cognitive prowess, and how you perceive the experiences and things around you.

Is Your Cell Phone Conscious?

Is Your Cell Phone Conscious?
Is Your Cell Phone Conscious?

Now, when we relate Consciousness to how our Cell Phones work and function in today’s digital world, we may begin to wonder whether or not these mobile devices have developed their own sense of consciousness.

Some of us might think that our phones are truly conscious. After all, they know what time it is, and if we allow it to utilize the capability, it knows where it is at all times. Smartphones can even learn from experience, as explained in an AI subtopic called Machine Learning or ML. But does that mean that your phone is conscious?

This debate has been ongoing in the smartphone and AI worlds, as our mobile devices are getting much more intelligent. Yet, despite all of the different opinions expressed, the current consensus is that our smartphones are far from having their own consciousness.

Perception and Experience Of Surroundings

Remember here that consciousness is related to sentience, a being’s capacity to feel, perceive, and experience things more subjective. So, when we look at that, our Smartphones are far from being sentient beings because they can feel neither pain nor pleasure.

While Smartphones may perceive and interact with their surroundings, they are far from subjective because the way phones can perceive and experience things is based on how they were programmed.

In that sense, the way our machines can feel, perceive, and experience is all based on the constraints and limits of their programming and not on their own subjective level of thinking. For example, it might be true that Machine Learning allows a self-driving car with, for instance, the Tesla Autopilot Technology to be able to learn or collect data on the proper routes it should take and the things it needs to avoid. Neither of those is based on its own subjective thinking because it learns or compiles data based on its use of Deep Neural Networks.

In the same way, the so-called consciousness that our smartphones have is a simulated one in the sense that it is a matter of programming and how this programming allows them to “think” and to “learn” based on a series of data presented to them and not based on how they subjectively perceived such data.

Can Your Mobile Phone Become Self-Aware?

Can Your Mobile Phone Become Self-Aware?
Can Your Mobile Phone Become Self-Aware?

At this point, you are already aware that your mobile phones don’t have their own consciousness. Given that, it only follows that our smartphones are not self-aware and are currently unable to think for themselves or even develop their own sense of uniqueness and individuality, similar to how we humans do.

While it might be true that our mobile phones are, to some degree, intelligent and capable of cognition, much of what they are competent to do on a mental level is mechanical and repetitive. For example, when we tell Siri to calculate 1,000 times 50, it might look like the iPhone personal assistant is self-aware. This observation is because Siri could recognize your voice, words, and the meaning behind your words while also knowing how to do the math. In truth, what Siri was able to do was not based on its ability to think for itself but on how it was programmed to do such mental tasks on a repetitive level.

In that sense, our smartphones are mostly able to do actions on the level of human mental labor. These tasks are repetitive and based on the data presented to them rather than on how they could perceive such data from an introspective point of view.

AI and Machine Learning, Using Deep Neural Networks

But what about machine learning and how AI is now capable of using a deep neural network to improve how it operates? Does that necessarily mean the AI in our smartphone has some sort of self-awareness because of how it can learn?

Well, not exactly. Self-awareness and consciousness are concerned about how one evaluates his or her environment. How they assess and experience from an introspective standpoint in such a way that the way one reacts to what is happening around him or her and on his or her own behavior is unique. For example, even if person A and person B are given the same experiences in the exact same environment, they won’t react to such experiences in the exact same way.

On the other hand, machine learning is different, even though the AI is able to learn from experiences and the data presented to it. That’s because our smartphones don’t have that level of introspection when they receive information and react to the data. Give two similar smartphones the same experiences, and you will find that their AI will learn in the exact same way. They lack the subjective part of what it is to be conscious and self-aware.

Please see our additional articles on Smartphone AI: How To Use Natural Language Processing (NLP) or Smartphone AI: Who Has Your Facial Recognition and Fingerprint Scans?

Conclusion: Can Our Smartphones Evolve to Be a Future Mobile Robots Mind?

Can Our Smartphones Evolve to Be a Future Mobile Robots Mind?
Can Our Smartphones Evolve to Be a Future Mobile Robots Mind?

It seems to us the question arises as we study AI, Mobile Technology, Robotics, and Smartphones. Can a Smartphone with the direction they are currently taking be a future Mobile Robots Mind? Much of the time, it feels like the only things our smartphones are missing are hands and legs.

Because our mobile phones are not capable of self-awareness at this time, it doesn’t mean that such a possibility is impossible. As we design, engineer, and create a new species, so it seems with self-learning capabilities. What could possibly stop such an entity’s momentum and progress with full access to all human knowledge being loaded onto the internet as fast as possible? 

Our current technology still has its limits, and we cannot truly say when and how smartphones can develop their self-awareness from future self-learning. But, it could be possible in the future, especially when you consider the fact that what seemed to be science fiction three decades ago has become science fact in our smartphones today.


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John Mortensen

As a kid I wanted to be an astronaut, geologist, or scientist. I became a project manager which is involved with many of those things. I am a project manager and tech writer who researches the latest alternative and green technologies. We write helpful articles about green electronics and green technology products. AI, extreme weather, electric vehicles, are all in our future and we want to know the best way to deal with the effects of these on the power grid and emergency preparedness.

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