2018 CES exhibition

Some commentators underwhelmed by the January 2018 CES exhibition

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas is usually eagerly awaited for revelations of cutting edge new technology.

However, this year’s show in early January has prompted some commentators to ask whether some of the digital developments posed the question “do we really need this” while some of the exhibits failed to perform as expected.

Examples included a suitcase on wheels that should have followed its owner as they progressed to check-outs or check-ins, but lost contact and failed.

Similarly, a speaking robot worked for a while, but then stopped communicating.

Designweek UK had a useful round-up of what was on offer.

It included A car that can read people’s brains, a friendly robotic dog and a sunburn-detecting smartphone app.

It also highlighted some developments in smart products designed to monitor people’s health and fitness which could conceivably prevent people from having to visit the doctor.

While praising increasingly clever developments in Artificial Intelligence (AI) it also quoted the Guardian’s Olivia Solon who criticised the manufacturers for “producing a swathe of expensive, superficial products rather than using robotics to tackle the problems they really need to solve”.

Among the highlights, however, were more sophisticated versions of autonomous vehicles and developments in designing so-called smart cities.

Have we got so used to the announcements of revolutionary new digital products that our expectations have been raised too high? Or are the critics right, that we should be questioning how much of them we really actually need?