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CES gadget fest a showcase for AI-infused lifestyle

The Phantom, a wireless wearable for tactile feedback, is seen during CES Unveiled, a pre-show for this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas
The Phantom, a wireless wearable for tactile feedback, is seen during CES Unveiled, a pre-show for this week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

From self-driving baby carriages to ChatGPT in Volkswagen cars, artificial intelligence is expected to be center stage at the CES gadget extravaganza that formally opens Tuesday in Las Vegas.

The annual Consumer Electronics Show boasts more than 3,500 exhibitors and is expecting around 130,000 visitors.

Companies big and small hosted previews for the press on Monday, with AI a repeated mantra as they pitched products promising better lives.

LG chief executive William Cho said the world is at "a historical turning point" due to AI.

His company aims to be part of that transformation, tapping into data gathered by sensors in hundreds of millions of smart devices in use around the world to detect patterns of behavior and provide insights, Cho said.

"We have a unique opportunity to leverage the real-life data gathered across devices in real-time. Of course, with your permission," he said.

LG, Samsung and other TV titans also showcased AI enhancements to vastly improve images, help viewers find shows they will like, and more.

Televisions will advance to a "smart command hub" connecting appliances, , and even incorporating thermal scanning for health insights, according to Jessica Boothe, a research director at the Consumer Technology Association that organizes CES.

"We will watch as TVs become the command center for the home beyond just streaming entertainment," she said.

Samsung Electronics CEO JH Han highlights AI developments at a CES press event in Las Vegas
Samsung Electronics CEO JH Han highlights AI developments at a CES press event in Las Vegas.

ChatGPT on wheels

Volkswagen, meanwhile, presented what it described as the first vehicles built with a chatbot powered by OpenAI's ChatGPT technology.

The "Cerence Chat Pro" made in a partnership with Cerence Inc. will be standard in many Volkswagen vehicles starting in the second quarter of this year, according to the car maker.

"We are offering our drivers added value and to the AI-based research tool," said Volkswagen management board member Kai Grunitz.

Nvidia, whose graphics chips are coveted for their ability to handle the intense computing demands of AI, took CES as an opportunity to announce new chips for gamers and creators.

Innovations being teased ahead of the CES show floor opening included tech for translating multiple languages simultaneously, and glasses for augmented reality that essentially turn the space in front of a viewer into a screen they can control with gestures.

Apple, which is not at CES, said Monday that it will release its highly anticipated Vision Pro mixed reality headset in the United States on February 2, in its first major product release since the Apple Watch in 2015.

Announced in June, the Vision Pro will cost a hefty $3,499 before tax, more than double the price of Meta's top-of-the-range Quest Pro headset.

"The era of spatial computing has arrived," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, calling the Vision Pro "the most advanced consumer electronics device ever created."

A person walks past TV screens at the Samsung First Look preview at the Caesars Palace resort, a pre-show for this weeks Consumer Electronics Show January 7, 2024, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
A person walks past TV screens at the Samsung First Look preview at the Caesars Palace resort, a pre-show for this weeks Consumer Electronics Show January 7, 2024, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Year of AI at CES

CES exhibitor and attendee numbers have jumped each year since the COVID-19 pandemic caused it to be an online-only event in 2021.

While the show is increasingly a showcase for startups, big brands such as Amazon, Google, Intel, Netflix, Samsung, Sony and TikTok will also be there.

"There's some exciting innovation' there's some boring innovation, and there's some just really plain weird innovation," said Techsponential analyst Avi Greengart.

Analysts expect it to be the year of AI when it comes to product pitches at CES.

Models on which AI is built have improved dramatically since last year's CES and the debut of OpenAI's ChatGPT, and they are being applied in meaningful ways for consumers, according to Greengart.

Ending Friday, CES is expected to see strong themes of AI-infused health, cars, beauty, entertainment and sustainability.

"AI will be reshaping industries beyond technology and it has the power to make life easier, more than inclusive for all," said Jong-Hee Han, CEO and Head of Samsung's device experience division.

More than a decade of investments in AI "are coming to life," he added.

© 2024 AFP

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