In what seems to be a rejected episode of Black Mirror, Samsung is reportedly bringing its artificial intelligence program NEON to your mobile device. It’s not a new version of Bixby or any digital assistant but more like an AI companion should you want a human that’s not actually a human to interact with. Truth be told, we don’t know what’s the purpose of this is yet other than just a technical showcase but you might be getting it on your phone soon.
Earlier this year, back when we still had things like expos and conferences, Samsung and its subsidiary Star Labs unveiled NEON, an artificial intelligence program that looked and talked like an actual person. They were shown on mounted displays and could react to people and express emotions, just like an actual human would. They seem to be more like “virtual friends” rather than virtual assistants.
Just a couple of days ago, the president and CEO of Star Labs, Pranav Mistry, said that NEON is already running on his phone. This was in response to a casual inquiry on when the AI program can actually be used. He further said that it is currently in the testing phase and that we might see it roll out or at least see it on mobile devices before Christmas. Since it’s less than a month away, that means it’s really soon.
It is already on my phone. In Testing phase. You get to see it before Xmas.
— Pranav Mistry (@pranavmistry) November 25, 2020
But even with that official/unofficial confirmation, we still don’t know what NEON is actually for. It may have a more practical value on your smartphone rather than mounted on a wall where you couldn’t always “talk” to it. As to what you will use it for other than digital companionship, that’s still up in the air but we’ll probably know more about it once they do wider testing.
Because of the uncanny valley-ness of it all, we don’t know how this will fly with ordinary users. This will probably be opt-in so there should be no worries that your digital counterpart or friend will freak you out when you open your smartphone.