The power of AI is useless without data privacy.

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Honor CEO George Zhao (L) and GSMA CEO John Hoffman on stage during an awards ceremony at Shanghai Mobile World Congress on June 27, 2024.


HANGZHOU, China – The transformative power of artificial intelligence doesn't matter unless user data is protected, George Zhao, CEO of Chinese smartphone company Honor, told CNBC in an exclusive interview Thursday.

His comments come as follows. apple This month it announced that it will begin rolling out personalization AI tools to certain devices in the US this fall.

Honor already integrates some AI functions, such as enabling users to open text messages and other notifications just by looking, or by linking apps like Yelp directly to navigation or ride-hailing apps to copy-paste steps. to terminate.

At Mobile World Congress in Shanghai this week, Honor unveiled new AI tools to detect the use of deepfakes in videos, and to simulate lenses that can reduce myopia during prolonged screen use. .

Zhao emphasized that Honor's approach is to limit AI operations to smartphones containing personal data. This is also known as on-device AI, and is the opposite of AI tools that tap cloud computing to do the work.

Without data security and user privacy protection, AI will be useless,” Zhao said in Mandarin, as translated by CNBC. “That's always been one of our value propositions.”

“We say user data doesn't leave. [the device]Zhao said. “It's a rule we follow.”

Apple Intelligence, the iPhone company's AI product, claims to use on-device processing and generate “server-based models” for more complex applications. Apple said its new “private cloud compute” never stores user data.

Honor says its on-device AI is self-developed, and the company is working with it. Bedouin And Google Cloud for some other AI features.

“Overall, I think there are two directions of AI development to date,” Zhao said. “Network [cloud] AI has become more and more powerful. But I believe that on-device AI will become more intimate, more intelligent in its capabilities and in empowering users.”

“This will further support users and help them interact with the AI ​​world of the future,” he added.

Zhao pointed out that many generative AI applications, such as OpenAI's ChatGPT, require more computing power than a smartphone's battery can handle.

This means they need to use the cloud, which raises questions about the security of data transfers.

Zhao said balancing AI capabilities with energy consumption and data privacy is a “big challenge” for manufacturers.

A system that collects so much user data to provide more personalized features becomes a “stronger” thing than the individual using the system, he said.

“In the development of smartphones in the future, our goal is for the individual to be strong,” Zhao said.

“When something becomes strong, it will show the smallness of the individual in its presence. I believe that mobile and devices need to empower and enable individuals.”

The Honor Magic V2, the latest foldable smartphone from the Chinese manufacturer, is on display at the Mobile World Congress 2024 in Barcelona, ​​Spain.

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Honor's Magic V2 folding phone, which launched in China last summer and Europe earlier this year, won the “Best Smartphone in Asia Award” at the Shanghai MWC this week.

The Magic V2 is almost as thin as an iPhone.

Honor is all set to release the Magic V3 in July with the company's latest AI functions.

When asked if the new foldable would be even thinner, Zhao simply said, “Of course, we need to challenge ourselves, right?”

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