Like the city that hosts the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) there is a lot of noise on the show floor. Sifting through the lights, sounds and people can be an arduous task even for the most experienced CES attendees. Hidden past the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) is a walkway to a tech oasis housed in the Westgate Hotel. This new area hosting SmartCity/IoT innovations is reminiscent of the old Eureka Park complete with folding tables and ballroom carpeting. The fact that such enterprises require their own area separate from the main halls of the LVCC and the startup pavilions of the Sands Hotel is an indication of how urbanization is being redefined by artificial intelligence.
The elephant in the room loomed large two weeks ago at the inaugural Internet of Things Consortium (IoTC) Summit in New York City. Almost every presentation began apologetically with the refrain, “In a 5G world” practically challenging the industry’s rollout goals. At one point Brigitte Daniel-Corbin, IoT Strategist with Wilco Electronic Systems, sensed the need to reassure the audience by exclaiming, ‘its not a matter of if, but when 5G will happen!’ Frontier Tech pundits too often prematurely predict hyperbolic adoption cycles, falling into the trap of most soothsaying visions. The IoTC Summit’s ability to pull back the curtain left its audience empowered with a sober roadmap forward that will ultimately drive greater innovation and profit.
Traveling to six countries in eighteen days, I journeyed with the goal of delving deeper into the roots of my family before World War II. As a child of refugees, my parents’ narrative is missing huge gaps of information. Still, more than seventy-eight years since the disappearance of my Grandmother and Uncles, we can only presume with a degree of certainty their demise in the mass graves of the forest outside of Riga, Latvia. In our data rich world, archivists are finally piecing together new clues of history using unmanned systems to reopen cold cases.
I was on the phone recently with a large multinational corporate investor discussing the applications for robotics in the energy market. He expressed his frustration about the lack of products to inspect and repair active oil and gas pipelines, citing too many catastrophic accidents. His point was further endorsed by a Huffington Postarticle that reported in a twenty-year period such tragedies have led to 534 deaths, more than 2,400 injuries, and more than $7.5 billion in damages. The study concluded that an incident occurs every 30 hours across America’s vast transcontinental pipelines.
Europe is gearing up to launch an Artificial Intelligence Public Private Partnership (AI PPP) that brings together AI, data, and robotics. At its core is a drive to lead the world in the development and deployment of trustworthy AI based on EU fundamental rights, principles and values.
From flocks of birds to fish schools in the sea, or towering termite mounds, many social groups in nature exist together to survive and thrive. This cooperative behaviour can be used by engineers as “bio-inspiration” to solve practical human problems, and by computer scientists studying swarm intelligence.
As early as Homer, more than 2,500 years ago, Greek mythology explored the idea of automatons and self-moving devices. By the third century B.C., engineers in Hellenistic Alexandria, in Egypt, were building real mechanical robots and machines. And such science fictions and historical technologies were not unique to Greco-Roman culture.
The International Federation of Robotics (IFR), at a press conference here last week, announced preliminary 2018 figures for the industrial sector of the robotics industry. Last year set another record — but just barely. It was only up 1% over 2017. No information was given about service and field robotics.
It’s been two years since the last time I judged the Automate Startup Competition. More than any other trade show contest, this event has been an oracle of future success. In following up with the last vintage of participants, all of the previous entrees are still operating and many are completing multi-million dollar financing rounds. As an indication of the importance of the venue, and quite possibly the growth of the industry, The Robot Report announced last week that 2017 finalist, Kinema Systems was acquired by SoftBank’s Boston Dynamics.
As part of our programme of international science and policy dialogue about AI, last year we worked with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to bring together leading researchers from across disciplines to consider the implications of AI for equality, transparency, and democracy.
My feet are aching, as usual, after 3 days on the CES show floor, and the question people always ask others there is “what have you seen that was interesting?”
I won’t say I didn’t see anything interesting, and I had a large number of rewarding conversations with all sorts of companies, making the trip very worthwhile, but I will say I saw less that was new and exciting than ever before. This may be a result of the show’s constant growth that meant in 3 days I still did not manage to get to 3 1/2 major rooms of the show, putting my focus on cars as I usually do.