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CES 2017: A glimpse into the future of AI

  

Faraday's FF91 electric car
Known to many as CES, the Consumer Electronics Show takes place in Las Vegas during the first week of January every year.  Since inception, CES (as the name would suggest) was always a show that focused on consumer products instead of enterprise technology.

 

But in the last decade the lines have become increasingly blurred, and consumer electronics have gone mainstream forming a direct correlation with what consumers are using and the enterprise technology needed to make it happen.

Smartphones are a great example of how mobility and access to the internet have democratised everything we do. At this year’s CES, for the first time, we got a glimpse of the true potential that artificial intelligence will bring to our lives as consumers. Almost every new gadget today is connected to the internet sharing information. Our voices are being used to control devices around us bypassing physical interaction.

Amazon’s Alexa voice ecosystem, for example, is being used by companies like Ford in its vehicles, LG is using it in its fridges and Lenovo introduced a smart assistant with the Alexa engine embedded. This is where it gets really exciting ... the devices are sharing information between themselves, algorithms are analysing this data, and smart software is adding an element of intelligence to make these technologies almost human-like and to start making decisions on our behalf. When you start meshing all of these innovations together you start creating a technological ‘nervous system’ that will ultimately have a significant impact on our lives. And it was this invisible technology, ironically ‘on show’ at CES 2017, that’s driving this transformative wave from business to the consumer across all platforms.

Crystal clear

The picture quality and clarity from televisions this year was extraordinary. LG launched its new signature 4K OLED TV that’s thinner than a picture frame. Samsung has hedged its bets on new QLED TVs saying they offer better brightness and richer colours.

It's electrifying!! It's greased lightning!

BMW's HoloActive Touch system BMW's HoloActive Touch system
All the big vehicle manufactures present at the show gave us a look at what the car of tomorrow will look like. BMW showed off its HoloActive Touch system using your hands and gestures to control things in the car. Faraday Future launched its breath-taking FF91 electric car that’s capable of accelerating from 0-100kmh in under 2.5 seconds. Toyota presented the Concept-I packed with artificial intelligence that learns from the user. Every manufacturer is going electric and are all talking autonomous with the next eight years.

Kuri five is alive

The Kuri robot The Kuri robot
Robots were all over the place at CES performing a host of different tasks. The one though that stood out, was Kuri. This robot is designed to spend time in the home with your family. It’s able to read, capture photographs, interact with your kids and even has human like emotions built into it. It is creepy and cute at the same time. The reality is that the futuristic robots we saw in movies decades ago, are now becoming reality. And Kuri is a fantastic example as to why. This robot evoked the same kind of emotion as a new puppy brings to a home. As these robots become more humanlike they will become indispensable in our lives.

Then there’s the crazy weird

Kérastase Hair Coach Kérastase Hair Coach
Of course, CES is renowned for showcasing some more unusual devices. The Kérastase Hair Coach is a hairbrush that analyses your hair as you brush it. The tiny sensors will tell you about the condition on your hair and if you’re brushing it correctly. This is shared this via an app on your smartphone.

I absolutely loved the LEGO BOOST robotic kit aimed at kids aged seven to 14, and even adults like myself. It’s designed to encourage kids to code using the traditional blocks with added sensors and motors linked to an app. You can literally design anything and bring it to life. Whirpool introduced a very cool kitchen appliance called the Zera food recycler. It basically looks like a trash can, but this bin takes a week’s worth of food waste and turns it into fertilizer within 24 hours using a special automated process.

Speaking of dustbins ... someone decided that we need to monitor what we throw away. The Genican is a scanner that sits on the lip of your bin and scans what you thrown away. It reads the barcodes and then uploads the information to the app on your phone. Why? Well it monitors what you’re using and it will tell you when you start to run low on groceries.

Quantified self

There are hundreds of medical and health devices that are going to have a significant impact in how we monitor our health. But the medical device that stole the show was the Willow Breast Pump. The pump together with the containers fit snuggly on the inside of the bra and collect the milk in a special pouch. This is done without the need to hold anything. The pump also keeps track of when the body is ready to express.

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