For its CES 2020 presentation, LG neatly split its running time between discussing the theoretical future and the very real present, with a talk that started off with the potential for artificial intelligence (AI) in the coming years, before detailing what’s new in the company’s 2020 product lineup.
First up, artificial intelligence, as represented by the company’s ThinQ AI line. LG President and CTO Dr. IP Park kicked things off by discussing how more AI-equipped devices can help improve our lives. Park then brought up Element AI Co-founder and CEO Jean-François Gagné to discuss the current abilities and limitations of AI. The pair divided things into discrete levels based on what AI can do. By their metric, today’s AI can help with level 1 (efficiency) and level 2 (personalization), such as smart air conditioner systems adjusting to the number of people in a room, or a robovac learning the best routes in your home.
“From level 2 onward, AI really starts to learn,” Gagné said.
By level 3, aka Reasoning, LG figures AI can start to reason and make suggestions based on what it’s learned about you. To do that well, however, Park said it would take a whole suite of devices collaborating to learn about you. So imagine the various smart devices in your smart home building some regular usage patterns around you and making suggestions based on those cumulative inferences.
At level 4, Exploration, AI should be able even more personal and relevant help to users.
The point in establishing this level-based framework, LG says, is to help researchers as they push toward creating AI that can achieve above and beyond the level 1 and 2 functionality we’ve seen so far. But, as both Park and Gagné conceded, we’re a few years off from the advanced, insightful AI assistant their concept videos portray.
In the meantime, LG’s touting the AI smarts customers can already find in its current and upcoming product lineup. Gail Conroy, head of home appliance brand marketing, said the company expects to have more than a million AI-equipped smart appliances in homes this year. The company also outlined how its ThinQ-equipped washers can use what it’s calling proactive customer care to provide maintenance and usage tips based on how someone actually uses the appliance. Detergent levels and cycle types, for example, can be monitored and adjusted based on the load sizes and fabric types the washer detects. Dryers can monitor airflow and alert users to potential vent blockages. The company figures customized usage and maintenance can help prevent a significant amount of repair calls and make its appliances last longer.
LG also showed off a fridge with a built-in craft ice maker, for those looking to up their cocktail party game with some fancy ice spheres. The fridge also features the company’s InstaView display that shows what’s inside without opening the door. That feature is also coming to LG’s InstaView ThinQ oven, so you can check baking progress without opening the door or turning on an oven light. And for you air fryer fans, the company is also adding air frying features to the new oven as well.
On the TV front, LG continued to tout its expansive TV lineup, including its well-respected OLED display panels. The company also announced support for Filmmaker Mode, a feature that automatically turns off post-processing effects and motion smoothing to present films in a more theater-like manner. With motion smoothing and high frame rates turned on, many users note a “soap opera” style effect to video playback, which can be distracting when watching movies.
In all, LG’s event provided a solid showcase for its current lineup, and reinforced the company’s desire to make all sorts of appliances smarter and more connected to each other. It remains to be seen how successful the company is in realizing its advanced AI dreams, but it’s clear the company continues to go all-in on putting AI everywhere.