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Your smartphone is already self-aware—forget Skynet!

November 2019

Most Americans saw the Terminator movies. When it came out in theaters, the concept of SkyNet prompted a lot of conversations, speculations, conspiracy theories, rumors, and outright lies. When August 29th, 1997 rolled around (the date of SkyNet’s self-awareness in Terminator 2: Judgment Day), the Internet went crazy about SkyNet going live and taking over everything. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your smartphone is already self-aware. And—it has both external and internal self-awareness.

Proof of the External self-awareness of smartphones

Skynet went live August 29, 1997, but your smartphone already knew that.

  1. Your phone knows exactly where it is residing in space-time (Ask your phone where it is on the map).
  2. Your smartphone knows when it has been touched by a human (screen, keyboards, power buttons, volume controls, etc.).
  3. Phones are aware of other phones (and computers) on a given network and how to interact with them.
  4. Smartphones have etiquette (It asks you politely, it has rules and protocols for how it is to behave and interact with other computational devices, modems, IoT machines, printers, and networks.
  5. Your phone can recognize your face and ignore others as a security measure.  Androids and iPhones can recognize people and attempt to tag them. Facebook does this as well.
  6. Your smartphone knows when you are getting lost and will attempt to reroute you, rather than pop up an unhelpful error message.
  7. Cellphones know when you are speaking to them and respond—sometimes with an answer, sometimes (as in the case with Facebook and Google) with frighteningly accurate advertisements. They are even learning sarcasm (Ask Siri what she is wearing).
  8. Your phone can make better visual calculations of distance and dimensions than the most experienced carpenter. (Try the IKEA Place app or the iOS Measure app).
  9. Your smartphone can determine the best travel routes for you on the fly, based on traffic issues you cannot possibly see or predict (Maps, Waze, TomTom, etc.)
  10. Modern mobile phones recognize your voice. As does every home smart speaker. As does the NSA.

Proof of the Internal self-awareness of mobile phones

  1. Your smartphone knows when its own hard drive is full.
  2. Your iPhone knows to protect itself from malware or other security threats.
  3. All smartphones know when your interactions with them are incorrect (for example, slamming all your fingers on it at once, or using a gesture it doesn’t recognize) and respond (often annoyingly so) by pausing, freezing or exiting its current task.
  4. Phones can recognize colors—far more than any human can—with 100% accuracy.
  5. Your phone can multitask better and faster than you (Apple’s A13 Bionic chip can perform 5 trillion operations per second. By contrast, your brain can perform about 1,000 operations per second).
  6. Lastly, your phone can remember the past (storage) and plan for the future (scheduling, weather, and traffic prediction models, etc.).

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PHOTO CREDIT: Rock’n Roll Monkey on Unsplash

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