This year’s Consumer Electronic Show was undoubtedly thriving with a plethora of new AI-powered products, from smart fridges, through smart displays, all the way to even more prototypes of self-driving cars, companies from around the globe had the chance to show off their latest innovations in Las Vegas.
Google Assistant needs no introduction, not in this day and age. We’ve seen it on smartphones, smart speakers, and smart earbuds. Clearly, there is still room in our households for its implementations, and this time Lenovo decided to step in with their Smart Display. It’s powered by Android Things and, essentially, is a Google Home with a display. It can do all the things the smart speaker can, and then show relevant information on the screen on top of that. The device does feature a touchscreen but, as is the case with the Home lineup, the main way of interacting with it is voice controls. If we’re being completely honest, when Google announced their smart speaker we were genuinely surprised the device did not feature a display, for us it made all the sense in the world for assistant to be able to actually show the search results and answers. Finally, almost two years after the announcement of first Google Assistant-powered appliance our dream was materialized by Lenovo.
Autonomous vehicles, since a couple of years have been guaranteed to be showcased during CES and this time it’s no different. The most hyped one (but not the only one to have been unveiled) of this convention was Byton Concept Car, a stunning piece of technology enclosed in a gorgeous body. The electric SUV features Amazon’s Alexa assistant on board, which neither Tesla nor Faraday Future support, at least officially. This allows for advanced voice controls and integration with all Alexa-enabled devices, and in order to do so the car has been equipped with high speed wireless connectivity. Competing with Tesla, the company promises their vehicle is capable of autonomous driving that is yet to be made available to the users once appropriate regulations allow for it. Utilizing AI the car will, thanks to facial recognition system, adjust all the settings and configurations to different drivers’ preferences. Simply put, when you take a seat behind the steering wheel, the interior cameras will recognize you and pass the information on for your seat height, temperature, music volume, and radio station to be set to your liking. Once you decide to switch places with your passenger, provided they have already driven this vehicle before, same will happen for them. Aside from safety measures that were emphasised during the keynote, comfort of traveling appears to be the main focus in Byton.
If there was one home appliance we had to point that needs no reimagining, we’d say it’s refrigerators. The concept is simple, you buy food, place it in your fridge, take it out when you’re hungry, rinse and repeat. Apparently we couldn’t be more wrong, and LG is here to prove it. Using Amazon Alexa the Korean giant turns your regular kitchen accessory into the entertainment and “operation control” center. Equipped in a microphone and speaker, you can use voice commands to brighten up your day of cooking with a favorite album on Spotify, or to add memos for your family. Subjectively, the best feature of the LG ThinQ Instaview Fridge is the system of build-in cameras that can be accessed remotely, so your last-minute shopping spree will now be completed with all the groceries you might need. This being the first generation AI-powered product there still is room for improvement, as Alexa’s obvious integration with Amazon may suggest easy online shopping, we can see how in the future the next generation of LG’s smart fridges can utilize the on-board cameras to automatically order missing produce for the owners.
So there you have it, Artificial Intelligence, be it in form of virtual assistants or autonomous driving systems, is yet again taking another step to be integrated in our lives even more seamlessly. With this year’s CES it’s more apparent than ever that automated solutions in every imaginable field are where the world is headed, and we couldn’t be happier about all the possibilities this trend might imply. Soon enough we’ll be able to put our feet up and simply enjoy our lives focusing on what matters, while computers do the hard work for us.