The brightest minds — and the thirstiest investors — were roaming the floors at CES yesterday. Here are 4 trends we noticed:
1. Everyone cares about privacy now
At least that’s what you’d think based on new privacy initiatives from Google, Amazon, and Facebook. But you shouldn’t believe everything you hear at trade shows…
- Google forced its smart assistant to forget. The search giant now lets users tell Google to forget what it just heard by saying “Hey Google, that wasn’t for you.”
- Amazon debuted a privacy control center for Ring. It lets users manage which apps can access their connected cameras and lets users opt out of sharing data with police — but still doesn’t require 2-factor authentication or ban 3rd parties from accessing data.
- Facebook updated its “Privacy Checkup.” The new tool shows users how their data is used and who sees their profile (and also offers tips for boosting account security).
But… the default strategy for most of these tech giants remains the same: collect and monetize user data.
2. The future of food is a whole different flavor
Investors seemed hungry to disrupt the ways we grow, eat, and store food. Here are the tastiest food-focused sound bites:
- Impossible launched the other fake meat. After finding fast-food fame with faux beef, Impossible Foods launched Impossible Sausage patties and ground Impossible Pork.
- Food shopping got DNA-optimized. A startup called DnaNudge offers buyers food shopping recommendations based on their DNA. The system uses a swab of saliva to generate a profile and then give in-store recommendations — AKA “nudges” — about what customers should buy based on their genes.
- Interest in indoor farms is growing. The startup n.thing unveiled Planty Cube, an indoor vertical farming system that enables future farmers (at hotels, schools, retailers, and restaurants) to grow veggies year-round.
3. Robo-friends are on the rise
With loneliness increasing, the cultivation of companionship is an important project. Here are some of the computerized companions on display at CES:
- Lovot, a so-called “cuddlebot,” dances, coos, and follows its owners around like an adorable robo-pet. Available only to Japanese consumers for now, Lovot retails for $2.8k — AND a subscription starting at $83/month.
- NEONs, Samsung’s computationally generated “artificial humans,” were made to hold real-time conversations with flesh-and-blood humans. They’re sh*tty conversationalists right now… but Samsung insists they’ll “work as TV anchors, spokespeople, or movie actors; or they can simply be companions and friends.”
- Reachy the Robot, a $17k robotic human torso created by Pollen Robotics, was designed to — among other things — give buyers someone to play tic-tac-toe with.
4. Flying cars are still cool
Flying cars have long been a caricature of the far-flung, utopian “future.” But now, they could really be close to getting off the ground:
- S-A1, an all-electric air taxi prototype designed by Hyundai and Uber, featured 12 rotors and space for 5 people. The partners plan to mass produce these electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) flying taxis and deploy them in Uber’s air taxi network launching in 2023.
- Nexus 4EX, another all-electric air taxi prototype designed by the helicopter company Bell, featured 4 ducted fans and space for 5.
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