If like me you are an avid reader of all thing tech, you will likely be aware of the current buzz surrounding AI Processors. Some refer to them as neural networks or machine learning. In this article, I am going take a look at to see how it will affect us as end-users.
AI Processors and the online buzz
The answer you will be pleased to hear is they may dominate smart-tech in the near future. The latest variety of System On Chip technologies coming from both Apple and Huawei are but the first. Offering an end to the curse of the modern smartphone user by increasing our battery life and providing us with a much-needed increase in app performance.
Meaning no more waiting on your favourite social media apps, games and productivity tools. Plus, the likes of Siri, Bixby and more will be even better.
What Can Be Achieved – NPU vs CPU?
To give an insight into the gains, we can expect from Neural AI Processors to provide us with. A recent study by Huawei suggests their new Kirwin 970 NPU (Neural Processing Unit) will operate on average 20 times faster than a standard mobile CPU. This information comes from the manufacturer who conducted in-house benchmarking tests.
So to answer our title what do Neural Processors mean to us? I think Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei, answered this when he said:
“The ultimate goal is to provide a significantly better user experience.”
When Will AI Go Mainstream?
It looks like we won’t have to wait long, owing to the recent announcement of the iPhone X dubbed “The future of the smartphone.” Sporting a beautiful new A11 Bionic SoC, called so, on account of Apple’s new AI “neural engine.” It is one of but a few devices to pave the way for handsets of the future.
What Do We Know About the A11 Bionic?
Well in a recent press release by Apple we found out that the A11 offers a six-core design. And it is roughly 70-percent faster than its sibling the A10. The chip which we have all come to know and love from the iPhone 7. This Neural Processor also delivers an outstanding extra 2-hours of battery life. That’s on top of the already impressive 14-hours offered by the existing iPhone.
Additionally, iPhone X users will benefit from a 30-percent improvement in graphics performance. Enabling smoother gameplay/usability from existing games, apps and more. Plus be able to step into new worlds thanks to immersive AR applications powered by AI, and machine learning routines.
What About Android users?
Fear not, you have not been forsaken, In September of this year, Huawei surpassed Apple to take the title of the world’s second-largest smartphone brand. As such, its success has enabled it to take on both Apple and Samsung. Meaning, it has announced the release of the outstanding Huawei Mate 10 Pro. Boasting the powerful Kirin 970 Neural Processing Unit and billing the device as “A real AI Phone.”
More about the Kirin 970
So far we know the AI platform for the Kirin 970 runs on a separate Neural Processing Unit. This unit is designed specifically for running neural networks. In fact, it runs much in the same way an ASIC chip is designed to mine Bitcoin.
In fact, because the 970 has been designed around a specific workload, it can perform up to 50-times more efficiently. Meaning, it outperforms its companion Central processing unit. In tests, the Kirin 970 NPU showed its ability to process 33-images per second. That’s a staggering 20-percent more efficient than the CPU handling the process alone.
Will Huawei Mate Pro 10 Offer Similar Benefits to the iPhone X
According to Huawei, you may well see much much more. Huawei has openly stated their AI chipset is far more advanced than their competitors. And to my knowledge, so far this assertion has gone unchallenged. However, both companies and Samsung are pushing towards a machine learning AI experience. One which will monitor user behaviour, predicting when you will perform actions including opening or closing an app. As well as, optimise performance to improve battery-life and even clean memory automatically.
AI Processors – Predictions Moving Forward.
The truth is, it’s hard not to be excited by the promise of extra-intelligent assistants, longer battery life, improved graphics. Plus self-cleaning are all in the long term going to make for a better user experience. It is also clear that AI processors are going to be the focus of the future for many tech giants.
For example, Microsoft is shifting focus to AI and AR. While smartphone powerhouse Samsung is opening a Canadian facility for the sole purpose of AI R&D.
What’s also clear, is users are on board with these changes. Apple’s iPhone X sold out within minutes of it being made available for pre-order. And the Huawei Mate 10 Pro stands head-and-shoulders above the competition in GSM Arena’s “Which Mate 10 is right for you ?” poll.
To conclude, while we haven’t reached Skynet levels of sentience, AI Processors promise an exciting leap forward in mobile technology. Which leads me to predict, the following, about the future. Once the public has experienced what AI processors can offer, any smartphone hitting the market without one, will be rejected.
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