AI-driven Mobile Apps: an Explorative Study

by   Yinghua Li, et al.

Recent years have witnessed an astonishing explosion in the evolution of mobile applications powered by AI technologies. The rapid growth of AI frameworks enables the transition of AI technologies to mobile devices, significantly prompting the adoption of AI apps (i.e., apps that integrate AI into their functions) among smartphone devices. In this paper, we conduct the most extensive empirical study on 56,682 published AI apps from three perspectives: dataset characteristics, development issues, and user feedback and privacy. To this end, we build an automated AI app identification tool, AI Discriminator, that detects eligible AI apps from 7,259,232 mobile apps. First, we carry out a dataset analysis, where we explore the AndroZoo large repository to identify AI apps and their core characteristics. Subsequently, we pinpoint key issues in AI app development (e.g., model protection). Finally, we focus on user reviews and user privacy protection. Our paper provides several notable findings. Some essential ones involve revealing the issue of insufficient model protection by presenting the lack of model encryption, and demonstrating the risk of user privacy data being leaked. We published our large-scale AI app datasets to inspire more future research.


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