When you cover the tech industry, it’s easy become jaded by the neverending stream of gadgets, services, and platforms all promising you how “game changing” or “innovative” it will be. In reality, very few actually are — so you become numb to those PR buzzwords.
However at CES 2017, many gadgets on display in Las Vegas truly made good on those promises. It’s as if the industry chugged a few cans of Red Bull and suddenly found its way after years of spending much of its time just repackaging old technologies in shiny new exteriors. If you watched any of our live stream coverage, this isn’t just an opinion held by myself but several others here at Digital Trends.
In the interest of full disclosure, I did not attend CES 2017 in person. In fact, the last time I did was in 2006. But just about every year since then, I haven’t regretted it. The experience on the show floor versus having the birds’ eye view from afar are totally different. On the floor, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the Las Vegas-style glitz and glam — after all that is the point. Covering it from afar allows you to separate yourself from all that and look at the big picture.
Most years, that big picture isn’t a feeling of real excitement of what’s to come in the following year in tech. More of a hope: “Meh, maybe next year will be better.”
This year was different. As I sat here watching livestreams of the keynotes, our own coverage here on Digital Trends, and read the multitude of news stories written over the past week, I found myself saying “whoa” more often than not. The CTA’s tagline this year ironically was that exact phrase, and CES 2017 to me fit that bill. I actually regretted not being able to see this all in person, because some of it was just that unbelievable. Even evolutionary innovations seemed turbocharged.
Bottom line? All I can say is hold onto your hats folks, it’s going to be a wild ride in 2017.
Nvidia’s deep dive into AI
The revolutionary aspect of CES 2017 is perhaps best exemplified by Nvidia, whose CEO Jen-Hsun Huang keynoted the show. It’s clear that in the future we’ll be talking about Nvidia as an artificial intelligence company as much as we’ve talked about it as a graphics company in the past. While a portion of the keynote did fall back to Nvidia’s core business, much of it highlighted the company’s work in AI — and it appears the company is going to be a key player in making the idea of truly autonomous cars a reality.
Nvidia is shipping the first version of its Nvidia Drive platform this year, with an expressed aim at making the idea of the self-driving car not just a luxury in the most high-end cars. Just look at the number of manufacturers Nvidia is already working with — Audi and Mercedes chief among them — and other partners like parts manufacturers ZF and Bosch. While 2020 has been touted as the year for the emergence of truly autonomous vehicles, only Nvidia so far has committed to actually making that target with a real product. This is a big, big deal.
The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.