CES 2019 showed how AI will influence every aspect of our lives, from home, to the office, right through to retirement.
Last week, the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) drew to a close. The jam-packed event, held in Las Vegas, showcased the latest cutting-edge technology concepts, ideas and innovations from the world’s best, and biggest brands.
From a smart toilet (Kohler Numi 2.0), complete with the Alexa voice assistant, to an electric toothbrush that cleans your teeth in ten seconds (Y-brush) – these were just some of the weird and wonderful innovations announced last week, with some seemingly closer to reality than others.
With more than 180,000 in attendance (including Hanson Robotics’ AI Sophia), over 4,000 exhibiting companies, and more than 1,000 speakers, the event wouldn’t have been complete without including the hot topic of AI – with CES themselves declaring, “it is no longer a ‘thing’ – it’s everything”.
IBM Chairman, President and CEO Ginni Rometty’s opening keynote explored how AI will prove data is the “world’s greatest natural resource,” enabling revolutions from smart cities to health care, transportation to robotics.
So, without further adieu, here are our top five AI announcements from CES 2019:
AI processors just got smarter:
AI’s long-term usefulness comes from applying knowledge to new data in real time, rather than training using deep learning systems, – a process that requires lots of power and a different chip design. This year at CES, Intel announced the latest development in the Nervana neural network chip range, a partnership with Facebook that is highly tuned in terms of handling inference-related tasks. While these chips aren’t likely to be finding their way into our hands, it is likely they will be used down the track to power ‘assistant technology’ like Google Assistant, Samsung Bixby or Apple’s Siri. or in the case of Facebook, to help you track down your favourite photo quicker, help moderate content, and remove ‘fake news’.
Next Gen AI vehicles and self-drive:
Mercedes have big plans for their future automobiles: modular designs, autonomous cars and gesture-based controls are just some of the innovations on the slate. At CES this year, they announced a partnership with computer game company NVIDIA, which aims to replace multiple systems and processors (known as ECU) inside its current vehicles with a single unified system providing self-driving capability and smart cockpit functions. This essentially turns future Mercedes vehicles into supercomputers, capable of making millions of calculations a second, becoming true AI-based cars. Machines that can think for themselves, navigate together around cities and through traffic, independently of humans.
AI automotive technology made affordable:
Google Assistant has become the integrated star attraction of many devices, some slightly bizarre – take Google Assistant in the shower for example! One place we’ve been crying out for AI is in the car, and while it’s technically been possible for some time with Android Auto and Apple Carplay infotainment, it requires either a new car or an expensive stereo upgrade. At CES, Anker announced a $50 Roav Bolt, which brings the brains of your phone into your car inexpensively, opening up a world of possibilities for the average consumer.
AI will become our future carers:
in an aging society where people are living longer, we will inevitably need to come up with smart solutions to care for the elderly. At CES Samsung unveiled its latest AI product, ‘Samsung Bot Care’. This ‘assistant robot’ aims to replicate the function of a carer for simple tasks such as tracking blood pressure and heart rate, through to monitoring sleep cycles and tracking medication intake. But the bot also has more advanced abilities. Using AI, it can identify problems, call emergency services, detect changes in mood and, using music or exercise (among other techniques), manage patient stress levels.
AI and animal conservation:
cameras will outsmart poachers to protect endangered wildlife. African wildlife reserves are a massive expanse for rangers to patrol, meaning the opportunity for poachers to slip in undetected is massive. The non-profit group Resolve launched its latest TrailGuard camera at CES. This intel powered camera uses AI in a few smart ways that make it standout over other cameras. It can detect animals, humans and vehicles in real-time, meaning rangers can respond faster. This also means that unlike traditional cameras, it only reports when it detects something of note rather than every time it detects motion, meaning the battery lasts up to a year and a half as opposed to the four week battery life of the previous model. And all of this in a pencil-sized piece of tech. Revolutionising animal conservation to shift the needle on illegal poaching is just one way AI is being used for good.