Artificial Intelligence, the most talked about technology, might seem like a science fiction but the technology is in use in more commercial ways than we know. A global AI survey has found that 61% of people believe artificial intelligence will make the world a better place.
2018 is slated to see a huge rise in AI-powered consumer tech. From a mirror that displays your weight via an interactive scale to lavatories that have sensors to predict your urine test results, AI has massively penetrated everywhere and is changing the way people do business.
Virtual personal assistants, V.R., online fraud detection, banking frauds, news generation using automated insights are ways in which AI has pervaded into our daily lives. (Some examples can be found here).
Forrester Research states that Artificial Intelligence will drive the ‘Insights Revolution’ and had predicted a growth of 300% in 2017 in Artificial Intelligence Technologies.
The Consumer Electronic Show (CES) at Las Vegas in January 2018 gave a fair hint that the focus has clearly shifted from better phones, music systems and TVs to sophisticated AI-driven or AI-powered technology.
The giant ‘Gadget Extravaganza’ had about 4,000 exhibitors, including 800 start-ups, and covered more than 2.6 million square feet. A significant portion of things on display were those that were AI enabled.
Let’s take a look at some of the AI consumer tech trends:
The next big thing in tech would be smartphones with AI technologies “Gartner predicts that, by 2019, 20% of users’ interactions with smartphones will be through virtual personal assistants.”
Mobile AI will bring in a change in “user-machine interaction”, improving connection between the user and their phone across text, voice, image, video, and sensors with “context-personalised openness” actively providing information and services via apps, content, third-party features, and native features as being undertaken by Huawei.
AI tech promises to detect cancer using Machine Learning and treat almost any illness.
These apart there are other innovative household products for healthcare. For example: Siren smart socks measure foot temperature warning the wearer when signs of injury develop. It can measure a person’s heart rate, temperature, breathing, body fat, water-intake, number of steps walked and sleep history using AI technology.
Spartan makes underwear for men that it says blocks up to 99% of radiation from wireless computer networking devices.
Self Driving Cars
According to Global AI survey results, 55% of respondents said they would trust an autonomous car driving them around. Though many companies are still in the planning and prototyping phases when it comes to AI, market experts predict that 2018 is going to see a big leap in self-driving car technologies.
Toyota Motor Corporation showed off its e-Palette self-driving test vehicle at the CES. The self-driving vehicle is designed to move both people and things.
Chinese automaker Byton has also launched a face-unlocking car that uses facial-recognition technology to open doors. The cars have special sensors that reportedly measure the driver’s heart rate and blood pressure.
Tesla and AMD are close to getting their own chip for handling automated self-driving cars.
Digital Assistants and Conversational Interfaces
Virtual Personal Assistants are set to evolve quickly over the next couple of years.
There would be more consumer purchases of digital assistants. Many connected home-products are expected to integrate with Amazon Alexa. The current market is dominated by Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri. Samsung would soon scale up with its digital assistant Bixby. With more development in conversational AI, there would be a rise in a number of small vendors who would compete with big giants like Microsoft and Apple to bring in their own individual products.
Household Electronics with an AI upgrade
Electronic consumer giants like LG will release new AI products under the ‘ThinQ’ brand. All its products including TVs, fridges, even electronic devices and services will have Deep Learning techniques and would be able to communicate with one another. They have opened an Artificial Intelligence Lab in Seoul for conducting more voice-video-sensor related AI research.
Samsung’s smart refrigerator, which was on display, allows consumers to control other home devices with their voice and a large touchscreen. Samsung has also launched its all new 85-inch Q9S TV which claims to use AI to convert low-resolution videos to a higher resolution of up to 8K.
Small Household devices
There are more experiments to incorporate new form factors like low-power chips to support small household devices. Many small products like coffee makers, vacuum cleaners and ovens are set to enter the market with an AI facelift.
A new on the hit list of AI-powered products is the Self Driving Travel Bag made by China’s ForwardX Robotics. The bag is connected to the user’s smartphone device and follows the user everywhere in the airport. It weighs 1Kg more than the average cabin bag. It can also maneuver complicated pathways, traffic, and users can carry another bag on top of the vehicle too. The bag uses cameras and AI to avoid crashes. It can even warn the user with a message when the battery gets low.
Sony Corporation’s first robot, Aibo the mechanical dog launched in 1999, was brought back for CES 2018. According to Sony, Aibo can form emotional connections with individual family members and teach nurturing skills. It uses AI to react to touch and voice commands.
Other innovative products
Many companies are coming with innovative and useful AI enabled products that would be next on the market hit list. For example: The OrCam MyEYE 2.0 device made for people who are blind or have poor eyesight. AI programming in the camera helps recognize faces and objects, thus creating an image for the wearer. Another MyEye 2.0 feature is the device’s ability to read out writing or print from any source, along with recognizing faces, products and money in real time.
L’Oreal has also AI enabled product, one of which is to help inform individuals of ultraviolet, or UV, sun exposure. UV Sense is a small, sensor that can be worn on a finger and after some initial data inputs from the user can track their sun exposure and warn them if they are overexposing themselves to UV rays.
There is massive use of AI in Natural language Generation (NLG), Content Creation, Image recognition social media, Customer service, Digital Marketing, Financial services and almost every sector.
From the very outset, AI has taken industries by a storm with businesses and consumer tech is growing by leaps and bounds with new innovation in AI. In the words of Julie Choi, head of marketing in the Artificial Intelligence Products Group at Intel, “From autonomous drones to AI-powered medical diagnostics, 2018 will see the needs of AI expand beyond research as companies bring these solutions to market.”
(This article was first published by the author on Medium)