The Machine to Human Connection

If the Internet of Everything is the future, then International CES 2014 is a good indication of where we are going. One word that describes CES 2014 is connected. Everything seemed to be connected in one form or another. This idea of machine-to-machine interfaces showed up in things ranging from sump pumps to door locks to automobiles.

Ultimately, it is the intelligence of far off computers in the so-called cloud that collects the data from these devices, finds patterns, makes computations and puts it a form that augments humans’ abilities and, ultimately, make us more productive.

And, we are already seeing this productivity in the very processes innovative companies and individuals are using to fund, develop, market and distribute products.

Never before have so few, been able to do so much, so quickly, with so little upfront capital. The innovation ranges from the first-time lone entrepreneur, to the established company that wanted an alternative way to fund their bright idea, to the tiny start-up whose innovative product and business process could disrupt the auto industry.

What would have cost billions a couple decades ago, now can be accomplished for next to nothing.

This new way of doing business points to the idea of mass localization. Part of what will drive this is internet-connected, 3D printers located in micro factories or even in the home.

These devices are truly amazing, allowing different the fabrication of different things using diverse materials ranging from metals to food to plastic to paper.

As importantly, 3D printers allow the creation of parts that would not otherwise be possible. Need a new femur? No problem. Need a manufacturer-discontinued part, no problem.

The development of these printers goes hand in hand with the advances in robotic technologies.

From robots that help around the house to those that walk up stairs to those that provide one with a virtual presence, robots were everywhere at international CES.

And the high resolution screens on these virtual presence robots made it feel like the person 1000 miles away was standing 10 inches away.

The 4K and associated curved screens at CES point to the immersive experience that will be the new norm for entertainment and communications.

The curved screen coupled with the 4K content from the GoPro camera provides almost a 3D look without the glasses. For the first time in 20+ years of viewing high-definition content at industry trade-shows, this author had a wow moment where the presentation of the content made me take notice. It was truly amazing.

The most intriguing example of connection at CES was the one between man and machine.

Sure there are the sensors and implants and even the augmented memory, but it is the emotional connection between man and machine that may be the most fascinating, scary and mysterious as to what it means for the future.

For instance, for less than the cost of a designer dog, one can get a pet dinosaur that provides the benefits of a pet without the downside. What isn’t conveyed in the above video is the warmth of the pet robot. It is literally warm to the touch, making it feel like a living creature and not a droid.

The pet dinosaur’s master summed up CES and its glimpse into the near future, as he stated, “It’s a brave new world, my friend.”