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CES 2024: Hype, Hope, and a Robot Latte (That Didn't Impress My La Marzocco)

CES 2024 was a kaleidoscope of tech marvels, a sensory overload of flashing screens and whirring robots. Yet, as I navigated the glittering maze, a nagging feeling crept in: amidst the spectacle, genuine innovation felt elusive. It was like wandering through a supersized Huaqiangbei, where impressive gadgets jostled for attention, but the "leap into the future" sensation remained frustratingly absent.

Take Rabbit, for instance. Touted as an "app killer," it exemplified the pervasive "AI Buzzword Bonanza" plaguing the industry. Slapping "AI" on everything, regardless of actual substance, dilutes the true potential of this transformative technology. We crave solutions, not marketing gimmicks, and Rabbit's empty promises left a hollow taste.

But amidst the hype, there were glimmers of hope. Qualcomm's vision of AI-Web3 fusion painted a future where intelligent, user-controlled networks empower individuals and reshape digital experiences. Imagine financial transactions streamlined, and healthcare tailored to your needs, all on secure, decentralized platforms optimized by AI. That's the kind of innovation that gets my pulse racing.

The automotive sector's pivot to electric was unmistakable, with various manufacturers rolling out their EVs. Yet, this shift to the mainstream has not replicated the electrifying buzz that Tesla's debut once sparked. The industry has made strides, but a sense of pioneering spirit, once ignited by Tesla, seemed absent. Every PC OEM will have an EV soon as EVs are computers on wheels.  Consumer will be able to buy an EV in their price range and the mass supply chain that commoditized computers is going to commoditize EVs.  Tesla remains the Apple of the EVs, while the rest of the OEMs will go to the supply chain for their EV SKU. It's a reminder that while EVs are the new normal, the sector awaits its next game-changer.

I had an iced latte made by the Robot Barista “Adam”.  While the coffee was decent and I had a great conversation with the people waiting in line for the robot-made coffee, I could not help but think that the experience didn't redefine my morning routine. My “La Marzocco” is safe for a while.  My robot fantasy lies in the realm of mundane tasks like dog walking, housekeeping, and meal prep.

Maybe the purpose of CES is just for meetings, not to showcase the innovations.


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