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CES 2019 Recap: Companies Want Us to Embrace AI, But What About Privacy?

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  January 9th, 2019  By Meg Cannistra

CES 2019 Recap: Companies Want Us to Embrace AI, But What About Privacy?
My feet are sore and I’ve had more cups of coffee than I can count, but overall my first CES has been a blast. The show floor is bigger than I thought it would be and packed to the edges with people.

Aside from what felt like thousands of 8K TVs (which Philip covers in more depth), what I found most interesting about CES was the ever-present theme of companies finding ways to better integrate AI into our daily lives. Nearly every company at CES emphasized the connection between human and AI. With increasingly advanced voice assistants and 5G helping lay the groundwork for more innovation in IoT, AI is no longer a novelty.

At LG’s keynote, we watched a demo video of Mark as he navigated a future with SmartThinq keeping track of his schedule and CLOi taking his order (two servings of blueberry pancakes…for dinner) at a restaurant. Google is furthering the way we interact with the world with its Interpreter Mode — a functionality that translates conversations between people speaking different languages in real time. And Omron’s Forpheus played a mean game of ping pong, but also proved the benefits of how robotics with that level of precision and automation can help eliminate working hazards in factories.

While these companies made compelling cases for why we should accept AI into our lives with open arms, I’m still not fully convinced — and I doubt I’m the only one. There are certain risks that come with embracing the level of AI companies like LG and others present. If incidents like Marriott’s data breach prove anything, it’s that our data is constantly at risk for being hacked. Having our personal data constantly analyzed and stored by voice assistants, washing machines, and refrigerators means there are even more ways for hackers to steal personal information.

Some of these companies stressed security features like analyzing data at the “edge” as a opposed to the cloud, meaning your data will be analyzed locally within your smart devices rather than being sent to a data center. But overall, many companies didn’t touch on privacy concerns — a little alarming when they’re so determined to have us jump on the AI bandwagon.

Security concerns aside, CES was an incredible experience and there is so much happening in the tech industry that it feels a little overwhelming (in a good way). I can’t wait to see how the products and services showcased at CES will develop over the course of the year. But if even half of what we saw becomes a reality, 2019 will be an iconic year for tech.

Check out all the latest CES 2019 news here.

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