CES: It may take a while to catch on to the Dot

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The Consumer Electronics Show is the largest event of its kind in the world. Held on January 5-8, in Las Vegas, US, the exhibition of the latest innovations from the world of technology is expected to attract close to 200,000 people. 

This year, industry observers are saying the big trends in technology include the following:

  • Voice assistants for the home and office
  • Autonomous and electric cars
  • Bigger and more flexible television sets
  • A new wave of laptops
  • Chinese brands

While this website is about enterprise management, it is of course businesses which supply the consumers with technology that we would be interested in.

In particular, we are interested in the first two on the list – intelligent assistants and autonomous cars. Put them together and you have a hit TV series starring David Hasselhoff.

But 80s television nostalgia aside, the market for technology seen in Knight Rider is actually growing quite fast.

The much-talked about Google self-driving car technology is not only integrated with the company’s own little car, Fiat Chrysler also managed to persuade the computing creatives to let them have a piece of the action.

CES: It may take a while to catch on to the Dot Click To Tweet

Now, Fiat Chrysler – which owns Ferrari, by the way – is planning to make a big song and dance about their tech at CES.

As well as using much of the Google self-driving technology in its “advanced driver assistance system”, Fiat Chrysler is also talking about 3D printing car components.

This may be some time in the making since 3D printing is still quite ready for such a complex and tough responsibility – it doesn’t deal with metal quite as well as plastics; the finish isn’t very shiny either.

But with Google’s help, Fiat Chrysler could accelerate past its competitors in the auto market, all of which utilise 3D printing – or additive manufacturing, as it is sometimes called – in their production process.

While 3D printing is particularly appealing to manufacturing companies for obvious reasons, intelligent voice-responsive assistants would appeal to virtually every business and probably individual in the world.

Who does not want a HAL 9000 of their own, keeping out – or at least trying to keep out – devious Dave who has designs on global domination through shutting down the control computer’s circuits?

Maybe that’s not a good example, but most people are probably disappointed with the limitations of Siri and her technological cohorts, and want something more capable.

The tech companies say they can do it, with a little help from a few million developer friends. Apple, for example, has for the first time opened up about its plans about artificial intelligence, and allowed developers access to Siri some months ago.

Amazon Alexa smart home range of products
Amazon Alexa smart home range of products

Amazon seems to be making some progress with its Echo Dot, which is part of its Alexa smart home range of products. You can speak to it, ask it to play music or provide some information, and it’s supposed to be able to comply.

Amazon is one of many companies in this market. Google is another. Both these companies are also in the car tech market.

The key to all these gadgets being any good is natural language processing – how well it understands and interprets human speech. It may seem effortless in the movies, but in the real world, the race is on to build a system that not only understands what you’re saying, but can also carry out complex instructions – whether you’re at work or at home.

The next step would be to develop AI that can formulate those instructions, which would leave humans free to discuss the really important questions in life, such as:

  • What is the meaning of life?
  • Who am I?
  • What is my true nature?
  • What is my true identity?
  • What is my greater purpose?
  • How should I live my life?

And so on…

Some of these questions have already been answered by AI systems to at least some people’s satisfaction, since they seem to know in detail what everyone’s life should be like, but there’ll probably still be some use for humans somewhere along the line, string or argument.