Chasing the Artificial Intelligence Rainbow

by Dmitry Kirsanov 5. February 2024 02:58

A recent trend that sticks out like a sore thumb in the buzzing world of tech is the splashy, high-profile marketing of 'AI' laced devices. A galaxy of household name companies (pun intended), who ironically have made minimal contributions to real AI development, are selling nothing more than illusions wrapped in layers of hyped advertising and fad appeal.

Samsung Galaxy S24 case

Let's take the Samsung Galaxy S24 for instance. The successor to the S23, Samsung heralded it as its "first AI phone". Just to be clear, as its name suggests, the Galaxy S24 Ultra, and its siblings ain't exactly lemons. They're backed by Samsung, after all. Yet, a closer look reveals trickery and shortcuts they took to roll out their 'AI' capabilities.

Well, long story short: the 'AI' built into the S24 is about as useful as a battery-less flashlight. And yes, there are few free features, like the language translator during calls but rest assured, their generosity has an expiration date much like the contents of your fridge.

These “AI functions” support features you won’t need and don’t support what you might want. Hence this can be said about all AI functions: they are “there”, but you won’t use them because they won’t fit into your scenario or “aren’t there yet”. Aren’t, and won’t be, no matter how strong your faith is.

AI Translation; A Bridge Too Far?

The in-call translation feature is a neat idea, no denying that. Yet, before you start planning your next business trip abroad, take note; the supported languages are a bit… well, let's just say unless you're an Ivy league linguistics graduate or have a sudden urge to start conversations in Korean or Vietnamese the feature is practically moot. The translation feature does also support French and German but the results are on the unimpressive side of the line, somewhere between toddler babblings and Google Translate's beta version. Besides, Germans perfectly speak English. French might like it because they don’t like English, and Spaniards – well, perhaps they might love it.

The Battle of the Clients

It's becoming increasingly clear that our smartphones are transitioning from hardware-heavy tech pieces to simple hardware vessels crammed with complex software - a striking move towards the concept of thin clients. The upcoming 'Rabbit R1', is a classic example of this thin client trend in the works, just as the Galaxy S24 Ultra is for a thick client (devices that have the hardware brawn to run operations offline). Interestingly though, they both share a common pitfall: they're nothing more than glossy promissory notes. I'd dare to say, the S24's check has already bounced.

What about Rabbit R1?

And speaking of Rabbit, it's flexing its muscles on the scene with an ambitiously priced AI device pegged at a moderate $200 without any subscription fees. The offer itself should raise more eyebrows than the last season finale of 'Westworld'. Also, and quite worryingly so, the lack of transparency regarding other hidden costs reminiscent of a velociraptor hiding in the bushes, is a major red flag. While Rabbit's exact intentions remain undetermined, their seemingly innocent flirtations with Matrix-themed marketing lingo ('Rabbit hole', 'white rabbit') may provide a clue to their true intent.

Where do we stand?

Is the maturity check for the fabled AI devices clearing yet? The answer, thus far, is a resounding 'No'. Even Samsung's best attempts at AI integration, to be frankly honest, reek of empty promises dressed up in shiny PR. It looks like the tech industry's journey towards Authentic AI nirvana is set to trudge along two contrasting paths - the thick clients led by tech behemoths like Samsung (who, by the looks of it, are bound for a tumble), and the thin clients, which are more likely to depend upon private data centres with, hopefully, a decentralized setup enabling users to own their backend machines or choose their processing centres. For us, the eager spectators of this AI-centric bout, this competitive heat is nothing but good news. Bring on the popcorn folks, we're in for a show!


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