Another year has come, which means another gadget extravaganza at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas, Nevada. According to Fortune Magazine, this year there were “4,000 exhibitors ranging from billionaire tech giants to beginner entrepreneurs.” Here at Belatrix we wanted to share with you our highlights from the event and what our interpretation of all this means.
Some of the highlights of the event were:
- Charming robots. We’re all familiar (at least I hope) with Sony’s original Robot Pet which went on sale in 1999. Most people would agree that it was the worst ‘Robot Dog’ they’d ever seen. On the other hand this year at #CES2018 the exhibitors got a lot more creative and I have to say the robots were pretty adorable. If you’re someone in need of some help around the house then Aeolus is the perfect robot for you. An Aeolus has hands capable of gripping, and the cameras above its LED eyes can also learn faces, objects, and can associate locations with objects.
- Self-driving cars. There seems to be a certain build up about an autonomous-vehicle you still cannot buy. Self-driving news dominated the transportation sector during CES, from Ford to Toyota to Voyage. They seem to be presenting the self-driving cars as: ‘Mobility as a Service’ or MaaS.
- Fancy a new television? This year it seems like the big-screens are smarter, sharper and bigger. LG brought down the house with their ‘LG OLED’ tech, which, as Engadget put it, “LG’s upgrades focused on enhanced processing, added voice controls and, in some models, support for 120-frames-per-second video”.
For me this year it seemed like all the gadgetry was about making humans’ life’s much easier, and I for one am all for technology that helps make my life more simple. The rise of robots was quite interesting, but don’t worry we’re a long away from the point where we should fear a robot rebellion. The robots at CES 2018, looked more on the cute side, than the creepy threatening side – which is progress in itself. But are we now at the point where robots can become our next generation housekeeper or butler? We can now imagine saying: “Aeolus, please bring me a soda from the fridge”.
However, onto the self-driving phenomenon, 2017 was very much the year that automakers, suppliers, startups & tech giants spent millions and millions of dollars on research and development (R&D), and unfortunately the self-driving car is still not available. It gave me a feeling that the companies were selling an idea, rather than a product that exists, and probably won’t exist for a while. Add to that, surveys show that the public does not actually have much desire for an autonomous car. Toyota emphasized its partnership with delivery services in efforts to roll out autonomous pods. The idea sounds like something futuristic for sure, but the idea also sounds like something that is going to cost thousands of delivery drivers their jobs.
Onto the televisions, like every year the big screens seemed to dominate Vegas, because every year they always get bigger and sharper. Now I have to say that the new televisions that were exhibited really made me want to dump my current television and get an upgrade. LG’s latest prototype was a 65-inch TV that as soon as you’re done with it, at the press of a button, your screen descends down into its stand, fancy huh? Companies all over CES were showing off TVs imbued with powers far beyond their many pixels.
Reflecting on the event
In my judgement, the gadgets that were presented were of course absolutely cool but it makes me think about how far we’ve come with technology and how it’s rapidly changing, and every day it’s integrated more and more into our lives, from robot butlers, smarter TVs and autonomous cars. However, I can’t help but wonder, is the human race becoming lazier? Is technology like self-driving cars going to put people out of jobs? Can humans handle all the technology coming their way? Only time will tell, but for now, farewell CES 2018.