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Tech gurus look to CES for cutting edge innovation

AFP
After a rollercoaster year for the tech world, many industry leaders are looking to the cutting edge for salvation.
AFP

After a rollercoaster year for the tech world, many industry leaders are looking to the cutting edge for salvation.

As tech industry players converge in Las Vegas for the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, an overriding theme is that gizmos, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and superfast Internet connections hold answers to many if not all ills — the new religion.

One of the world’s largest trade shows, CES is drawing an expected 170,000 people and 40,000 exhibitors from dozens of countries showing wares in robotics, digital health, artificial intelligence, sports and more.

Technology will continue to improve communication, enchanting us with bolder and brighter screens, exhibitors say — but it additionally vows to end urban congestion, treat cancer and depression, and help us live fitter and more productive lives.

Jensen Huang, CEO of the computer chip and artificial intelligence group Nvidia, said advances in machine learning have opened up vast possibilities, including the ability of software writing software.

“This means we can solve previously unsolvable problems,” Huang told a media event on Sunday, ahead of the official opening of the trade event today.

Some exhibitors envision a world where self-driving cars could be summoned any time of the day, eliminating struggles to find parking or petrol stations.

Machines would tend to the tedium of traffic, which would run smoother since vehicles would wirelessly “talk” to one another to optimize travel efficiency.

While tech is being touted as a solution to many ills, there is also a darker side, noted analyst Bob O’Donnell of Technalysis Research.

“Tech is being seen as the cure for everything, but it can also be the cause of societal issues,” O’Donnell said, citing concerns over cybersecurity and a recently revealed flaw in computer chip technology that could leak data.

“Most people in tech are optimistic, but they may be naively optimistic.”

Robin Raskin, who heads the CES segment called Living in Digital Times, pointed to advances in health and medicine in recent years, particularly new technologies to assess cancer and treatment possibilities.

Startups and major firms are also using new apps and technologies to tackle diabetes and depression.

One startup on Sunday unveiled eye-tracking technology to analyze ailments including autism, concussions and Parkinson’s disease.

RightEye co-founder and chief executive Adam Gross heralded the technology as “a game-changer” for the health care and sports industries, emphasizing the ability to quickly and accurately generate “amazing insights” into health, vision and performance.

In collaboration with doctors or trainers, the information could be used to guide therapies or exercise routines.

Technology will automate and augment the treatment of disease in the years ahead, predicted Consumer Technology Association research manager Lesley Rohrbaugh.

“You can talk with a health care provider through an app, and get remote monitoring,” Rohrbaugh said, speaking at CES.



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