AI Dominates at CES 2019

Anyone who makes the annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas in January for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) will know that inevitably, despite housing thousands of companies that run the gamut of consumer technology, overarching trends and themes always emerge. Last year was the year of the smart assistants — Google, Alexa, and all their friends, with the Alphabet’s largest subsidiary making its public debut at the show. Along with Hey Google, came voice activated aids for everything from home appliances, smart cars, and an entire hall devoted to the smart cities of the future.

 

Smart is all very well and good, but this is 2019 after all. 365 days is plenty of time to turn the merely “smart” into the artificially intelligent. AI was the keyword on every exhibitor, reporter, and attendee’s lips for this year’s CES, with everyone eager to see how AI’s transformative and adaptive capabilities would translate in cool new toys for us to play with.

We’re pretty familiar with AI. It’s right in the name of our key product — Personal Artificial Intelligence (PAI for short). This year, the halls of the Las Vegas convention center became a Candyland of opportunities where we can integrate our PAI into amazing new products.

Demoing of PAI tech, which lets you create your own intelligent digital avatar with a selfie and short voice recording.
Demoing of PAI tech, which lets you create your own intelligent digital avatar with a selfie and short voice recording.

Take smart and autonomous vehicles for example. Arguably the most impressive displays at this year’s CES go to the many auto-exhibitors rolling out their vision for the next decade of transportation. But once we are free from the time-waste of driving ourselves around, what will we do with the spare time we spend in self-driving cars? Are they now mobile offices, entertainment units, or even temporary personal assistants we use for a few hours a day. Throw in a PAI into any of the onboard systems of these vehicles, and you can manage your schedule, book a couple of flights, and enjoy a curated collection of movie recommendations on your daily ride. Since PAI can be created to look, speak, and learn to behave like nearly anyone in the world, you could soon be taking a ride with a digital Kim Kardashian as your very own in-car AI assistant (check out some of the PAIs we created of our celebrity partners here and here). Better than awkward conversations with your Uber driver right?

It’s not just us. CES is the ideal place for business meetings, catching up with investors, current and potential partners, and sharing the latest updates on projects and collaborations. In every one our meetings at CES, AI emerged as a strong area of interest. Whether it was chatting with the Korean entertainment powerhouse SM, the team at HTC Vive, or representatives from Wechat and Tencent, as well as some big names in health and beauty (secret stealth projects for now) — everyone was looking for ways to integrate AI and personalization into the consumer experience.

Team ObEN with Alvin Graylin, China Regional President of HTC and his team, along with Chuck Ng, President of the Project PAI Steering Committee
Team ObEN with Alvin Graylin, China Regional President of HTC and his team, along with Chuck Ng, President of the Project PAI Steering Committee

Based on what we saw at CES 2019, if AI is going to dominate tech — then we think it should be personalized AI. It’s a choose your own adventure world, so why shouldn’t your AI-powered assistant, or AI game avatar look and sound like you? If our mirrors are now going to be smart enough to give us fashion and style advice, we’d also like for it to come with Beyonce’s voice, thank-you-very-much. We were pretty thrilled to find others felt the same way — digital consultant Sarah Evans included us in her favorite CES products segment for Las Vegas CBS channel 8.

 

With CES in our rear view mirror, we’re eager to turn 2019 from the year of AI to the year of PAI. See you at CES 2020!


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ObEN is an artificial intelligence company that creates complete virtual identities for consumers and celebrities in the emerging digital world. ObEN provides Personal AI that simulates a person’s voice, face and personality, enabling never before possible social and virtual interactions. Founded in 2014, ObEN is a Softbank Ventures Korea and HTC Vive X portfolio company and is located at Idealab in Pasadena, California.