Smartphone AI: What Is The Difference Between AI and Algorithm?

Smartphone AI: What Is The Difference Between AI and Algorithm?

While the terms Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Algorithms are not new to most people, they are often misused and misunderstood. These words are sometimes used interchangeably, which serves to create confusion. In this article, we will be learning about AI and algorithms and the difference between them.

In a Smartphone, an Algorithm is a set of instructions, and a component of AI like Machine Learning is also a component. Smartphone programs contain Algorithms that tell Smartphones what specific steps to perform. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a set of algorithms that respond in a certain way based on whether the data information it receives is structured or unstructured.

  • Structured Data is an extremely organized type of information that can be accessed by a computer program. Structured Data examples are an address, credit card number, or rows, and columns with numbers and text in a software program like Microsft Excel. 
  • Unstructured Data may include books, health records, audio, video, or an e-mail message. Another example of AI interpreting unstructured data would be an autonomous robotic vacuum cleaner that can physically navigate the world while avoiding obstacles. The robot does not know what the obstacles are, but it still can operate in a room full of them.

What Is Artificial Intelligence?

What Is Artificial Intelligence?
What Is Artificial Intelligence?

One aspect of Artificial Intelligence’s definition could be that it is a group of algorithms (instructions) capable of dealing with unforeseen circumstances. With Machine Learning, artificial intelligence can modify its instructions and develop new algorithms (instructions) in response to a learned observation. 

“Machine learning (ML) is the study of computer algorithms that improve automatically through experience.”

As a result, some artificial intelligence does not solely rely on the information it already has as it gains insight and resolves a learned response. It is this ability to learn, modify, grow, and adapt in response to new information that can be distinguished as one form of “intelligence.”

It’s also common to see AI confused with Machine Learning (ML) even though there is a difference between them. Machine Learning is a subset of AI. And this difference is that AI can still operate/function even when provided with unstructured data. However, the type of underlying data, be it structured or unstructured, is responsible for AI and ML being used interchangeably as they are part of the same mechanism. 

What Is An Algorithm?

What Is An Algorithm?
How is an Algorithm like Sliced Vegan Chocolate Brownies with Peanut Nutter?

An algorithm can be likened to a recipe for chocolate peanut butter brownies. You have several instructions to follow. For example, mixing the ingredients, heating the oven to 325c, then baking for 30 minutes with the outcome of making wonderful chocolate peanut butter brownies. 

Another form of an algorithm is used with computer software. It is a set of instructions coded, i.e., programmed and automated, and executed when it comes across an initiator. This set of instructions aims to get an expected result. 

The majority of algorithms are simpler than most people realize. An algorithm can be a simple on-off command, or there are extremely complex algorithms. One of the algorithm’s features is that input and output must be properly designated in the program for the algorithm to work. 

AI and Smartphones

AI is now being incorporated as a special feature in many smartphones. Smartphone companies are focused on developing new hardware and software to improve AI functionality in their products. Also, AI is made up of domains like machine learning, neural networks, deep learning, etc. 

Smartphone companies have been leveraging AI for some time to improve user experience. Most of the features of AI in smartphones are geared towards power efficiency, security, photography, and Apps. Digital assistants like Google Assistant and Siri are the most popular examples of AI in smartphones. 

It’s now becoming a norm to see major smartphone companies like Samsung, Apple, and Huawei launching smartphones with AI chips. The functionality of these AI chips are phenomenal. 

Please check out some of our many other articles on AI “Smartphone AI: Is Artificial Intelligence Making Life Amazing?” and “Smartphone AI: Artificial Intelligence and Popular Culture.”

Smartphone AI Features

Smartphone AI Features
Smartphone AI Features

The Apple iPhone 12 uses the A14 Bionic CPU with a four-core GPU and a 16-core Neural Engine that can perform 11 trillion operations in a second (that’s a lot). More interesting is that these chips do not consume a lot of power to complete tasks.

The Huawei Mate 10 was the first smartphone in the world to base its key appeal around AI. Integrating the Kirin 970 chipset, optimized for AI, has features like a Camera app for scene recognition. The AI-assisted night camera shooting was incorporated in the Huawei P20 Pro.

Face ID feature is only possible because of AI. The era of relying on only a password or fingerprint to unlock is smartphone is quickly becoming a thing of the past. All you have to do is look at your smartphone, and the in-built AI will automatically detect and recognize your face and unlock your phone in no time. 

Algorithms In Smartphones

Algorithms are timesavers that help users give instructions to their smartphones. In fact, algorithms provide the instructions for any AI system that is present on your smartphone. 

In other words, algorithms are shortcuts that help us give instructions to computers. To better understand how algorithms work on a smartphone, an example will be provided below. 

Let’s consider the auto-brightness mode on your smartphone. In this mode, your smartphone will adjust the screen brightness based on ambient light conditions. This means the brightness of your screen will be reduced in dark environments. However, if you are in bright light conditions, your smartphone screen’s brightness will be boosted. 

What is at work here is an auto-brightness algorithm, and the input here is ambient lighting. So, in this case, the algorithm is a set of instructions that adjust your smartphone’s system settings to alter the screen’s brightness, which will depend on the light in your environment. 

Are Algorithms A Form Of AI?

Are Algorithms A Form Of AI?
Are Algorithms a Form of AI?

AI is made of a group of algorithms. Without these algorithms, there is no AI. In contrast, an algorithm follows only explicitly defined instructions; the algorithms that makeup AI are designed to allow smartphones and computers to learn independently. And this is why machine learning is a component of AI. This leads to creating an entity capable of carrying out tasks without being explicitly instructed. 

The AI-powered decision is controlled with the help of algorithms meaning AI depends on algorithms instructions to work. This means the functionality of AI depends on the algorithms it is made up of. As a result, algorithms can be considered as a form of AI. The better the algorithms that make up an AI, the better the decision making and user experience.

What Is The Difference Between Ai and An Algorithm?

Algorithms are automated instructions that could be simple or complex based on how many layers deep the initial algorithm goes. On the other hand, AI and Machine Learning is a set of algorithms that can change and modify their algorithms. It is this ability to modify and adapt that sets AI apart from algorithms but also utilizes them. 

All the applications on your smartphone can be viewed as elaborate algorithms as they have a set of instructions that guide their operations. However, the AI apps on your phone, Siri, Google Assistant, and so on, are not particularly programmed to perform a task but can learn to perform a task. How does it do this? 

An AI finds patterns, learns from previous outcomes, and makes assumptions. This is why AI can automatically apply image-enhancing effects like portrait mode and beauty filters if it is something you do regularly after taking pictures. There is no need for you to manually modify your pictures after capturing them. The AI will do this for you in no time after each click. AI is now making a huge impact on the cameras of new smartphones to improve user experience. 

Examples Of Smartphone Algorithms

Examples Of Smartphone Algorithms
Examples Of Smartphone Algorithms

Many smartphones and tablets come with sensors that attempt to determine the ambient light around the devices and then adapt the screen’s brightness accordingly. This is just one example of algorithms at work on your smartphone.

Algorithms are created to be language-independent as they are a set of instructions put into effect in any language. This system and procedure produce similar results regardless of the language it is executed in. 

Algorithms allow you to take a picture of a clear dark black night sky and actually be able to see the constellations in the picture. It also is capable of capturing all of these night sky details without the use of a flash.


Most people do not have a firm grasp of how their Smartphones works and this does not mean they can’t use a smartphone. This concept is understandable as definitions of words like AI and Algorithms are associated with new trends in current technology and tend to be somehow flexible in interpretations and are growing in complexity. 

AI has been around for quite a while and algorithms for centuries, and there are definitive definitions and differences between the two. We are seeing and learning amazing things every day from the process of machine learning and AI algorithms in action.

Algorithms are automated instructions and can be simple or extremely complex, depending on the initial algorithm’s depth of layers. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are both sets of algorithms.

Algorithms from something as seemingly simple as a recipe for creating some food to something as complex as Space X landing a rocket on Mars.


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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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