The future of tech, as told by CES

12th January 2021
Alex Lynn

It’s day two of digital CES and the innovations are well underway, with companies big and small from all over introducing their latest developments and breakthroughs to their peers and customers. Among the highlights was a keynote from CTA President and CEO Gary Shapiro and CES Vice President Karen Chupka, find out here what they had to say.

To kick off, Shapiro introduced Chupka for her insights. She said: “CES is where the entire world gathers each year to unveil new technologies in artificial intelligence, digital health, 5g, smart cities, gaming, robotics and more. And for CES 2021, we're bringing the show directly to you. Today I'll be joined by some incredible guests you're not going to want to miss.

“This is a new and exciting experience for audiences and exhibitors connect and where you can view the latest technology advances from the comfort of your own home or workplace. We've selected Microsoft as our technology partner to help us create that experience. And you can watch groundbreaking announcements and get insights from the world's tech leaders. You can explore products and services based on your interests and business and through dynamic showcases, and live demos.

“You can engage with brands large and small business contacts and customers you care about through real time chats and live meetings. And you will have the tech world's decision makers right at your fingertips.”

Shapiro then took back over, introducing the next guest: “With us next is Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, to share more about his vision for how we'll all work and connecting the future. And for digital transformation more broadly.

“Satya, we go back a long ways CES and Microsoft. This is the 15th time Microsoft has been featured in a CES keynote, you've launched major products at CES, including the Xbox and windows seven. You've partnered with multiple brands here. And here, we are now in a completely new world because of COVID-19.

“We've heard you say before that every company is a digital company. What does that mean? And how should companies be thinking about accelerating their own transformation coming out of this pandemic?”

Nadella answered: “It's great to be with you at the kickoff of CES. It has just been an unprecedented year, any which way you look at it. The constraints that have been put theon broader society in the economy have been enormous because of the pandemic. But at the same time, I am quite frankly stunned by the level of economic activity and productivity, and even social connection we've been able to sustain in spite of all of these constraints. And that's I think, thanks to the digital technology, platforms and paradigm that we currently have, I mean, I even shudder to think what the world would have been if if we didn't have all of this and you see it, right? I mean, if

“If you think about how gaming, an Xbox is changing, and in terms of its ability, both on the community side, the content side and reach side, or even, you know what windows and teams and PCs have been able to do for people who needed devices; everyone in the household for remote education and remote work, needed new devices. And we were able to equip them with all of the tools.

“Other industries like retail, even the smallest or retailer was able to build an app for curbside pickup or a manufacturer in critical areas, was able to go digital, or complete lights out manufacturing using digital twins on Azure or healthcare.

“We've talked about telemedicine for many decades, but now, every outpatient visit will start with an AI triage tool or a telemedicine visit and then an outpatient visit. So there's real structural change, Gary, that I think is going to be driven because of the broad adoption of digital technology in our lives and in our workplaces.”

Chupka had another question for the Microsoft CEO: “Satya this CES is an actual live demonstration of the power of technology. Is this our new normal? And what learnings Can you share?

Nadella replied: “Thank you for that question, Karen. It's a super important area where we are again, collecting lots of data, studying it, I think the future of work is going to in fact require a lot more flexibility. If there was one word, that's the thing that I would pick and because I think by function by geography, by industry, and over time, people will need more flexibility. How people collaborate, how people learn, how do we ensure wellbeing so that we're not defining narrow metrics of productivity, the wellbeing of all people is going to be an important consideration.

“Think about what CES is doing in partnership with us and completely creating this new online way of delivering an event, creating that learning experience that ability to foster the community using a lot of the cutting edge technologies, whether it be your Azure Media Services or teams or the analytics are all coming together ultimately to create a complete new medium around CES. That's what I think is going to be something that's very exciting to see which increases the scope and scale and impact of any institution or any organisation going forward.”

After thanking Nadelle for his time, Shapiro continued: “Across the globe, we see world leaders on every continent committed to innovation and being a haven for entrepreneurs. At CES 2021. We're welcoming delegations from countries around the world, from France to Hong Kong, from Italy to Japan, from the Netherlands to South Korea and more. And here in the US, we are finding unity on a number of major tech issues.

“Both parties and the American public agree that we need high speed broadband in our homes. And we must accelerate 5G deployment and extend broadband to underserved urban and rural areas. Our use of digital health technology has skyrocketed during the pandemic, we must keep the momentum going by removing unneeded and outmoded rules.

“More of us are using self-driving deliveries in contact with transportation. But government needs to set national rules to promote investment and deployment of self-driving vehicles. But like the internet itself, innovation has no boundaries. It's bigger than one country or one political party. And it has the potential to lift everyone up. And that's why to me CES is such a special event.

“For one week each year, CES brings together the entire global innovation ecosystem to connect, do business and shine a bright light on the benefits of consumer technology. And this year with the new US presidential administration in Congress, we hope to resume thoughtful, fact-based discussions about how tech is a force for good and why our industry needs reasonable guardrails. So tech companies know what is legal and what is not and that allows them to innovate. Tech is a tool and we have the opportunity to use it for good and to improve lives.

“Doctors in China are using lightning fast 5G connectivity to perform remote surgery on Parkinson's patients almost 2000 miles away. Projects like alphabets deep mind are solving decades old biological mysteries thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence. And thanks to AI we're witnessing this Next Generation of IoT as more applications and devices, harness machine learning and connectivity to create the intelligence of things.”

Shapiro then introduced Bridget Karlin, Global Chief Technology Officer at IBM and the new Chair of the Consumer Technology Association's executive board, to talk about the new possibilities that AI offers.

Karlin said: “AI has the potential to add almost $16 trillion to the global economy by 2030. And it's being fueled by our access to vast amounts of data, advancements in software and more powerful compute, all coming together, making it possible for us to do things we never could before. Simply stated, AI changes everything, and is changing the way people work and live, how enterprises operate and how entire industries transform.

“In this past year alone, we've seen AI solve some of the world's toughest and unprecedented challenges as a result of COVID-19. For example, our supply chains all over the world being up-ended, and workers being overextended. AI is being used to predict and mitigate these disruptions while ensuring companies prioritise health and safety procedures for workers and healthcare, and is being used in many different ways from patient targeting for clinical trials, to accelerating drug discovery, to identifying high risk patients to enable providers to prioritise their care.

“As we look beyond COVID-19 AI will be the driving technology behind social, economic and environmental advancements, as well as the key driver in solving our toughest problems. Like world hunger, extreme weather, soil loss and migration pressures continue to challenge the Earth's ability to produce food. AI will build a sustainable world by helping the agriculture industry predict and tackle environmental changes to improve our output.

“Speaking of the environment, there's over five trillion pieces of debris, clogging our oceans and killing over 100,000 marine mammals a year. AI and data will track marine plastic to help develop more accurate and effective processes and policies to eradicate it, and will help keep our oceans clean.

“And what about education? Imagine a multi-tiered AI interface that can mediate the way students engage with textbooks, teachers and administrators with AI content can be updated dynamically based on the user's behaviour to individualise the academic experience of each student. AI will create new opportunities for learning and extend affordable education to students all over the world.

“AI is one of the greatest opportunities of our time transforming how we work and live and helping solve the world's toughest problems of today and tomorrow. We're living an extraordinary time, a time when AI can make the imagined the new possible.”

Shapiro thanked Karlin for her input and introduced the final speaker, he said: “Tech is a tool. government and industry leaders can look for ways to double down and benefit from innovation. We need to rescale workers for today and tomorrow's in demand jobs. We must take a fresh look at immigration reform with an emphasis on high skilled immigration policy. And we must unlock opportunities to make our workforce more inclusive.

“Change through innovation can unite us at the Consumer Technology Association. We work to bring together our vibrant, fast moving industry, finding and sharing solutions for a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Two years ago on the CES keynote stage we unveiled our plan to invest $10 million in venture firms and funds focused on women, people of colour and other underrepresented startups and entrepreneurs.

“Since that 2019 announcement, I'm proud to share that we've made investments in five funds, and I'm so excited to make a new announcement today. Our newest fund to receive part of that $10 million is plum alley, a New York based firm focusing on advanced technology and healthcare companies that improve lives and the planet. I'd like to welcome Plum Alley Founder and CEO Deborah Jackson, and Co-founder and President Andrea Turner Moffitt, to talk a bit more about their groups focus on traditionally underrepresented entrepreneurs.”

Jackson said: “Thank you. We have a commitment to investing in essential technologies. And we support diversity, a woman from in the founding team from the STEM fields. Over the last five years, we've invested 32 million across 23 different companies. And all of those companies are doing important things in the world. Like a platform with CRISPR gene editing a company that's monitoring air quality to deal with air pollution and other companies. Have robotics and so we are just so delighted to be partnering in this way with the CTA.

Her Co-founder Turner Moffitt added: “Our vision for the future is that the next generation of high growth technology and healthcare companies that go public or get acquired are founded by World Class diverse teams are equally as important we believe in the value of bringing in a more diverse investor base into venture. We were honoured to have CTA as an anchor LP in our family venture fund. CTA has taken true leadership to put action behind our words, to diversify GPS invested in venture and also diversify capital going to more diverse founders and technology. Thank you, Gary. Thank you CTA board, and thank you for the entire CTA team for believing in us as women GPS, and believing in the mission of investing in women scientists and women technologists shaping the future of technology.”

Chupka made her final remarks: “Better unity more teamwork. This means progress for everyone. More than ever, technology is providing the resources and leadership we need to improve sustainability solutions that help unite us all. At CES 2020, we announced the World Bank global Tech Challenge, a series of programmes and competitions designed to showcase how technology affects sustainable development with a focus on healthcare resilience and bridging the gender divide.

“Today, we received almost 1000 applications from around the world. Thank you so much. More than 15 companies were selected as finalists, and many of which are taking part in ces 2021. But I'm really proud to announce today that Butterfly Networks and Try Cog as the winners of the health challenge, and we have Micro Mentor by Mercy Corps as the winner of the gender challenge. We are pleased also to announce that we're expanding our partnership with the World Bank to recognise individual innovators, entrepreneurs and government officials that advocate for the advancement of technology in the developing world. Over the next year, we will work closely with the World Bank on this new awards programme, and we will announce the winner at CES 2022.”

And finally, Shapiro finished with: “Tech is our tool. Let's get safer, smarter, healthier, and happier. We can be more resilient, more compassionate and more empowered. And now we must act innovate and unite. technology enables this transformation, an opportunity for our industry to show the world that tech is solving some of today's and tomorrow's biggest challenges.

“So let's work hard this week and let's stay safe. With new ways to meet partners make deals and get business done. You are empowered now and until February 15. You can explore, engage, seek and seize opportunities you can meet with exhibitors, clients and media across the show. And if you haven't already, be sure to register for the full CES at CES dot tech.

“So let's come together recognising our common ground, the potential the promise technology holds to make our lives better. I wish you a great experience at CES 2021 and we can't wait to see you in person in Las Vegas at CES 2022. Have a great show.”

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