Highlights from CES for the Semiconductor Landscape
In this episode of The Circuit, Ben Bajarin and Jay Goldberg discuss their experience at CES and the presence of AI in various products. They explore the evolution of massage chairs and the AI wash in the industry. They also analyze the two tracks of AI at CES, with a more muted presence in big vendor booths and a greater focus in Eureka Park. The conversation delves into the role of AI in semiconductor vendors and the importance of on-device AI. They discuss the balance between cloud and edge AI and the outlook for semiconductors in 2024. They also touch on the revival of VR and AR and the potential for exciting developments in the future.
CES 2024 witnessed a nuanced approach to artificial intelligence, as vendors showcased AI applications that extend beyond the hype and focus on practical usage. Ben Bajarin and Jay Goldberg, discussing their experiences at the event, emphasized the trend of AI technology becoming an integral but not overstated part of products and services—highlighting the industry’s shift towards substantiated and clear-cut utilities over the simple labeling of features as AI.
The presence of AI at CES 2024 was more subdued than previous sessions, where smart assistants pervaded almost every exhibit. Kohler’s smart toilet, for instance, was branded as utilizing AI for sensor fusion, exemplifying how features previously not labeled as AI are now comfortably placed under that banner—though these applications are not necessarily akin to buzz-worthy generative AI models like GPT.
On the company front, startups in Eureka Park used AI as a buzzword to attract funding, while the larger, established vendors were quieter about AI. Lenovo presented products such as the Yoga Book i9, demonstrating AI’s utility in battery life management without explicitly marketing it as an AI feature. This pragmatic integration was evident across various fields, with John Deere exhibiting an autonomous tilling vehicle with substantial capabilities yet an understated label regarding AI.
From a semiconductor perspective, the discussion predicted this year lays the groundwork for a future where AI, mixed reality, and next-gen silicon designed with specific AI applications in mind could create a surge in demand and innovation. This may take a few years to materialize fully, but the foundation is being set for a significant advancement in how devices perform AI tasks, both locally and in conjunction with cloud computing.
In summary, CES 2024 marks a turning point for AI in the tech industry—a step towards maturity in terms of application and integration, moving away from the flashiness of AI as a mere marketing term to its substantial role in solving concrete problems across various sectors. This trend suggests a hopeful trajectory for the semiconductor industry, particularly as new use cases emerge that leverage the balance of cloud and edge computing, driving forward the symbiotic growth of AI applications and the hardware that powers them.