MWC 2018, the scary innovation: a smart camera.
Problem with security camera Galaxy S9
At the smartphone show no revolution in terms of design, but only “updated” versions of the top of the range, identical in shape. The most important innovations related to cameras, optimized to the maximum thanks to artificial intelligence. Not without fear for privacy and cybersecurity.
If the most sought-after mobile phone of the Mobile World Congress, after the Galaxy S9 launched by Samsung, was a prototype with a hidden camera, there is a reason. And it is not only related to design issues, to the extra space for the display or to the amazement that generates the lens as it emerges from the body, every time the user intends to take a selfie.
When you think about the future imagined by the Apex of Vivo, a Chinese company, for many it must be reassuring. It is a future in which the device most used by mankind, inseparable life partner, does not have an electronic eye focused on our face. If not on request.
Not a few people are terrified of a possible form of espionage through webcams and integrated cameras of the latest generation of notebooks or mobile phones. Some people even covered the “eye” of their PC with a black adhesive tape. They are not completely unmotivated fears. In the past it has emerged that the FBI, through the use of “network investigative techniques”, is able to capture images in real time from the rooms connected to a computer, without these being activated voluntarily by the user.
What is more secure then, a smartphone that hackers and government agencies, in theory, can not access deliberately? Must have asked the same question another company present at the Mobile World Congress, DarkMatter, which in Barcelona has launched an Android phone with 5.2-inch display and a button, on its side, which serves to lock the power supply to camera and microphone . Simplifying the life of those who, until recently, disconnected the phone’s battery to prevent anyone from accessing it remotely, even if switched off.
The issue of privacy, after the Mobile World Congress this year, becomes even more delicate. And it’s all ‘the fault’ of those cameras that the producers have allowed us to put in their pockets. Increasingly sophisticated and “smart”.
Until recently, the camera on the smartphone was a “simple” tool for capturing images. Today the leading manufacturers of mobile devices invite us to use it also to decipher and understand the surrounding reality. With that of the Galaxy S9 we can translate in real time a text in a foreign language, or consult the weather forecast framing the sky.
With the LQ V30 ThinkQ camera, presented in Barcelona, we can compare object prices through online photo research. In fact, all mobile phones with artificial intelligence are able to recognize the things they frame: from people to animals, from food to the ocean.
Those unveiled in Barcelona, and in previous months (think of Huawei’s Mate 10 Pro with Neural Processing Unit), are new devices that help aspiring photographers get better images, “magic wands” – as the CEO of Asus has defined them , Jerry Shen – that should simplify the life of those who use them. But more than one fears that in the future artificial intelligence can facilitate dangerous forms of surveillance, through software refinement and mass dissemination of AI. Already in June, with the ZenFone 5 presented by Asus at the Mobile World Congress, a good dose of artificial intelligence will end up among the mid-range smartphones, at a price of 479 euros. The privacy concerns, in short, no longer concern only the True Depth camera of the expensive iPhone X, equipped with sensors that scan our face on the basis of 30,000 points.
We will probably go further in this direction, because at the moment the main smartphone manufacturers, after the finish line of the “infinity display” and the edges reduced to the bone, seem to run out of revolutionary ideas. Starting from the flexible devices that are so much fabled. The only one to approach the idea among the products at the fair was a folding smartphone with two screens: the Axon M seen for the first time in Europe. But it is still a double use option, and not a revolutionary smartphone.
In the absence of imminent revolutions, the “one more thing” of the giants tech is currently linked above all to the capabilities of the “smart” objectives. Rooms and dual rooms that risk putting the reality in too much focus.