CES 2024 Goes All-In on AI

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CES, the global giant gizmo and gadget show, shattered records in Las Vegas last week. The biggest draw? AI applications for everything from autos to photography.

In 2024, “AI is the story of the show,” Gary Shapiro, chief executive of the Consumer Technology Association, which produces CES, said in Investors.com in the runup to the Jan. 9–12 event.

Apparently, it’s a story a lot of people wanted to hear: More than 135,000 people from 150 countries flocked to this year’s record-breaking show, which wrapped up last week in Las Vegas. That’s a big step up from last year’s 117,841 verified attendees CES pulled in 2023, when the hot topic was the metaverse.

The number of exhibitors also was up to more than 4,000 in 2024, including about 1,200 startups, and the total net square feet of exhibit space they inhabited was up 15% over last year, to more than 2.5 million NSF. And many, if not most, of those exhibitors were pitching AI applications for their consumer electronics products, including everything from cars, kitchens, home security, photography, smart TVs, wearable devices and, of course, a new generation of AI PCs. Even those who make components for all these products, such as semiconductors, sensors and chips, promoted how they were integrating AI into their processes and devices.

This year’s CES also included a plethora of accessibility solutions, many of which used AI. One example was DreamFace’s AI-enabled socially assistive robot, which is designed to help older adults improve cognition. Another was Polly by Parrots Inc, an AI- and machine-learning–powered platform designed to provide real-time telecare for people with severe neurological impairment.

Not to put all the focus on AI, CES also featured companies pushing augmented and virtual reality products, including headsets from Meta Platforms, the Facebook parent company that last year was all-in on the metaverse.

CES Itself Deploys AI-Enabled Marketing and App

Not only were companies touting the AI applications of their hot new products on display at the Las Vegas Convention Center and all up and down The Strip, but the CES session lineup included more than 30 panels on how AI is being incorporated into businesses ranging from agriculture to finance, health care, media and entertainment, retail and transportation.

CES itself took advantage of AI’s hottest application, generative AI such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and DALL-E, to showcase how the tech can be used for event marketing. CTA hired a creative agency to create the imagery used in the mega-show’s “All On” marketing campaign using generative AI, mainly an AI platform called Midjourney. The agency also used AI to create nine digital characters, each representing a tech product category at the show, to populate online promotions and on-site digital signage.

CES also livestreamed its keynotes, and its Great Minds and International policy sessions, on this year’s event app — complete with AI-enabled closed captioning. The remainder of sessions were available on demand on the show website, CES.tech. The enhanced event app also integrated the Titan security app this year so attendees could report security issues and get real-time updates in a single app.

So, is AI really worth all this hype? As David Danto said on nojitter.com, “To quote a fellow analyst on the subject, ‘75% of the AI talk is just hype and BS, but the 25% that isn’t is pretty stunning.’”

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