Jack Morton UK
Mon, 16 Jan 2017 11:58:31 GMT
It’s hard to believe that CES has been around for 50 years, but there you go. It’s seen great empires rise and fall. It’s watched as countless Next Big Things turn into paperweights, desk clutter and landfill. And still it goes on.
At CES 2017, as with so many things in life, the fun can be found on the peripheries. The outer edges, away from the well-funded, well-managed major players.
William Gibson famously talked of the future already being here, but unevenly distributed - meaning early-adopting 1%ers may as well be living 20 years in the future, surrounded as they are by a technological layer that many of us don’t even know exists. At CES, it’s more a case of ‘alternative realities are actually all around us...they’re just unevenly clustered in the booths and basements of Las Vegas convention centres’.
In these alternative worlds, no need is unmet (however unnecessary). Every brainstorm post-it has made it through. And if there is space to cram in a chip or circuit, then someone certainly has.
For your consideration...
We put technology in your tea, despite your protestations.
A robot to press a button. I’m stuck between mocking laughter and wondering if this is genius.
The WELT - a belt to manage your calorie intake. If this doesn’t suddenly tighten like a gastric band when it detects fried chicken then I’m not interested.
Phone charger, key holder, Bluetooth speaker, I could go on. They certainly did.
Underwear that blocks radiation from WiFi. Faintly ridiculous out of context, actually quite useful at CES.
Things seem to fall into one of three categories:
1) A terrible idea
2) An interesting idea, badly executed
3) Just…I can’t even
Of course the danger of these articles is that, for every D.O.A. product launch, there’s a unicorn waiting to burst out and immortalise any snarky commentators as idiots for ever after.
One of the problems with connected devices (aside from when they’re co-opted into a DDoS cyber attack) is the part they want to play in your life. Many are designed to be at the centre of your world - anticipating what’s good for you and making decisions accordingly. So what happens when devices designed to have pole position in your life are connected and conflicted? When your connected fridge (assuming it’s not attacking the Pentagon) wants to order more bread, while your health-tracking wrist band has decided you’ve had enough carbs this week, fatty? Who wins?
OK…this might not be the biggest problem we face in the next few years, but ‘too much stuff’ definitely is. Of course, many of these won’t make it to the wider world, due to never making the leap over Moore’s Chasm: