CES 2017: World's Largest Tech Show Looks Beyond Smart at New Realities

The mega-extravaganza of the tech world in Las Vegas is showcasing an array of new devices that get smarts from computer chips, sensors and artificial intelligence, but go further by opening doors to augmented or virtual realities.

The Consumer Electronics Show, which begins with a series of media events Tuesday will offer trade professionals a look at new robotics, connected cars and a dizzying assortment of gizmos from connected sneakers to drones.

This year’s show will see results of a boost in computing power from artificial intelligence, which can help power things like autonomous cars, and deliver new experiences such as augmented or virtual reality.

“Virtual reality is changing the game for a variety of industries including health care, agriculture, manufacturing and business,” said Gary Shapiro, president of the Consumer Technology Association that organizes the annual show, in a Reddit chat.

“Doctors are using VR to enhance traditional therapies, architects use VR to design stronger buildings and travel agencies are using it to simplify vacation planning.”

CES will celebrate its 50th anniversary at the gathering, and organizers promised it would have the largest showcase of VR technology ever.

One CES panel discussion will examine how virtual reality is transforming television, movies and even news with immersive forms of video.

A host of virtual reality experiences will entice attendees at the trade-only show.

CES 2017: World's Largest Tech Show Looks Beyond Smart at New Realities

Cars will feature virtual reality displays to provide a better sense of the environment around them, while similar technologies will be showcased for smart glasses, medicine and beauty makeovers.

Enhancing reality
Robin Raskin, who heads the Living in Digital Times center of the show, said augmented reality is catching on with try-and-see beauty apps, in-store virtual mirrors and toys.

Augmented reality, she said, “lets us look at the real world and add valuable, entertaining and immersive information to it.”

Analyst Jack Gold at J. Gold Associates said that despite the potential benefits of virtual and augmented reality in business or industry, “gaming is where it is going to take off first,” because that’s where people are spending money.

“The issue is not whether it has the potential to transform things, but whether you can put it into a space where consumers can afford it and give enough additional information so people are able to use it,” Gold said.

CES is among the world’s biggest trade shows, and last year drew 177,000 attendees over exhibit space of 2.47 million square feet (230,000 square meters). This year, 150 countries will be represented.

It will include big industry names such as Sony, LG and Samsung in electronics, with the perennial battle to have the sleekest most gorgeous television screen.

(Also see: Samsung Unveils CH711 Curved Quantum Dot Monitor for Gamers Ahead of CES 2017)

 

Meanwhile, in attendance will be more than 600 startups from 33 countries, including first-time participants – the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Ukraine.

Auto-industry titans including Ford and BMW are increasingly using CES to show off technology packed into vehicles for efficiency, safety, entertainment and navigation.

Race for autonomy
The show will feature demonstrations of autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles, including one from Japan’s Honda said to be equipped with an artificial intelligence “emotion engine” that aims to better understand its occupants.

Electric car startup Faraday Future, one of several manufacturers taking on Tesla, is expected to unveil its first production car a year after showing a prototype.

Renault-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn has promised to discuss “a major technological breakthrough in the realization of a zero-emission, zero-fatality world for everyone,” according to a statement from CES organizers.

Humanoid robots
The show is also expected to feature advances in robotics, with more human-like robots and the public debut of “Professor Einstein” from Hanson Robotics.

Getting a boost from artificial intelligence, some new robots at the show will keep an eye on the kids, play chess or help with homework.

Gold said he expects to see a large number of drones looking for a slice of a surging market.

“This is really the year of the drone, and everybody is trying to get into this market,” he said.

But he added that the strongest potential for drones may be with businesses, with uses including aerial photography.

On the smartphone front, South Korea’s LG will show a range of new “mid-range” handsets and China’s Huawei has a smartphone event scheduled. TCL, the Chinese firm which owns the Alcatel brand, will unveil new BlackBerry handsets following its deal for the troubled Canadian brand.

(Also see: BlackBerry Mercury aka DTEK70 Tipped to Launch With Snapdragon 625 SoC at CES 2017)

The show floor will see a host of new and improved connected home technologies that manage everything from light bulbs to refrigerators.

“We’re pretty close on things like the smart home, where we’re going to get up one day and everybody is going to speak to their refrigerators,” said NPD analyst Stephen Baker.

Carolina Milanesi of the consultancy Creative Strategies said 2016 “has seen material progress” in some new technologies that will result in products hitting the marketplace, even though not all will be hits.

“In some cases, it’s because the consumers weren’t really asking for it,” she said.

Middle Tennessee Antique Automobile Club hosts Summerfest Antique Car Show

 

The Middle Tennessee region of the Antique Automobile Club of America hosted the Summerfest Antique Car Show at Central Magnet School in Murfreesboro on Sunday.

The Middle Tennessee AACA has been hosting car shows for 61 years and holding car shows in Murfreesboro for the past 11 years.

The event, sponsored by Wilson Bank and Trust, was the fourth car show hosted by the Middle Tennessee AACA in 2017. The show had 215 entries across 53 classes that were divided by make, model, year and types of parts used for each car. The show had the largest number of entries of any car show hosted in Murfreesboro by the Middle Tennessee AACA.

Randall Clemons, the chairman and CEO of Wilson Bank and Trust and a member of the Middle Tennessee AACA, helped host the car show and announced the winners for each of the 53 classes at the end of the day. Clemons said that he enjoys the friendly competition of the car shows.

“Everybody enjoys getting together and seeing people,” Clemons said. “Trying to win with a car gives you an opportunity to get them out and clean them up.”

Competitors like Gerry McGill and Ronnie Perryman of Murfreesboro agree that entering cars and meeting other competitors is one of the reasons why they enjoy participating in car shows.

Perryman said that his love of cars and racing when he was in high school led him to begin participating in car shows in Murfreesboro about four years ago, and in that time, he has restored eight to 10 classic cars.

“It’s really just the people and the families,” Perryman said. “It’s family oriented. It’s just a nice place to be around the kids and let them see what we had back in the day.”

He participated at Summerfest with a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28, on which he said he spent $33,000 to restore it to what it would have looked like in a showroom in 1969.

Perryman said that in order to maintain the tradition of restoring classic cars, schools should consider the possibility of bringing back elective automotive classes, where students can learn about the mechanics of cars.

Gerry McGill competed in Summerfest with a 1969 Chevrolet C10 pickup truck and said that after 25 years of competing in auto shows, he still loves the camaraderie among the participants and their ability to bond over a shared love of cars.

The Middle Tennessee AACA will host their next car show on August 20th, 2017, in Lebanon at the Wilson County Fair. The Summerfest Antique Car Show will return to Central Magnet School in Murfreesboro on June 10, 2018.

Georgian College Auto Show a unique experience

For many of the students enrolled at the Automotive Business School of Canada at Georgian College in Barrie, the Georgian College Auto Show represents one of the high points in their academic year.

At this annual event, more than 150 students lend their talents and expertise to serve as brand ambassadors for the two dozen automakers that showcase their vehicles. This opportunity to volunteer adds a valuable dimension to the students’ education.

Over the years, I’ve spoken to many of the participating students from the automotive degree and diploma programs at ABSC. Some of these students have served on the show’s organizing committee, while others have served as brand ambassadors.

All of these students spoke highly about their auto show experience, where, for three days, they get to interact with representatives from the major automakers and with the public, in a sales-free environment. This ‘hands-on’ involvement gives participating students the chance to apply their skills and network with auto industry people.

The Georgian College Auto Show is billed as the largest outdoor, student-run auto show in North America, and the planning and organizing requires almost a full year. Between 10,000 and 15,000 visitors attend the show from across southern and central Ontario.

For participating automakers, the Georgian College Auto Show is a perfect venue to showcase the latest models after the major city auto shows each winter. It allows them to meet and interact with the next generation of automotive workers.

This year’s auto show marks the 32nd year that Georgian College automotive students have organized this much-anticipated event. From the show’s earliest years to the present, the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association has been a strong supporter; again this year, the TADA is involved as a major sponsor and will have a presence in all of the show’s advance marketing.

The show’s marketing and media relations department will promote the show on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat), on its website, and through livestreaming. Local radio stations and newspapers will also be utilized.

Students from the Automotive Business School of Canada greet visitors at the Georgian College Auto Show last year.

This year’s theme is ‘Experience Innovation,’ which will focus on innovations in safety technologies, fuel advancements and the connected car experience. The show will feature in-depth demonstrations presented by the students based on their extensive product training; a more interactive KidZone; a redesigned Pfaff track, Saturday and Sunday Show and Shine for customers to display vehicles; and a new show layout.

In addition to new vehicles, the show will feature a live auction with terrific donated merchandise. A portion of the proceeds will go toward automotive student scholarships.

The Pfaff Autocross Track will provide visitors with an exhilarating off-road experience. For a minimum donation of $5, you can have your own escorted test drive on a dry track. All donations will go toward a local charity.

There is also an expanded KidZone, a Plug’n Drive — where visitors can test-drive an electric vehicle — and guest speakers.

The Georgian College Auto Show Committee is proud to support Spinal Cord Injury of Ontario. SCI Ontario will have a full complement of accessible vehicles on site for viewing.

The auto show hours are Friday, June 2 (noon to 6 p.m.), Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Daily admission is $5 in advance, $7 at the door for adults, and kids under 12 are free, plus parking is free. For more information and detailed times on all the events, visit www.georgiancollegeautoshow.ca.

I encourage all car enthusiasts to check out the Georgian College Auto Show this year. These automotive students do themselves, their school and the automobile industry proud with their commitment to producing an outstanding event.

This column represents the views and values of the TADA. Write to president@tada.ca or go to tada.ca. Larry Lantz is president of the Trillium Automobile Dealers Association and is a new-car dealer in Hanover, Ont.

Nissan stages an Attack at the Buenos Aires Auto Show

The automakers of the Renault-Nissan Alliance are never shy about experimenting with new pickup truck concepts in South America, as we’ve seen recently like the Renault Alaskan and Dacia Oroch. Now Nissan comes out with its headlights blazing, revealing the monster-truck inspired Frontier Attack at the Buenos Aires Auto Show. The ruggedized pickup brings bigger attitude and physical stature.

Nissan’s Rio de Janeiro design center looked to the wilds of Latin America and the world of monster trucks in developing the latest Frontier Attack design. With those inspiration points, it’s not surprising to see a downright feral iteration of the NP300 Frontier.

The new concept starts with large Yokohama Geolandar A/T tires and a 1.6-in (40-mm) lift lending an imposing look and feel. Running boards and collision bars add to the tough, dirt-ready look, and bold red paint with plenty of chrome black creates the perfectly tailored suit that owns the room the minute it steps in. The concept also includes a luggage rack and black-mask headlights.

“Those who knew nothing about the project and had never heard of the Frontier Attack named it ‘the beast’ when they saw it the first time, a name that the design team soon adopted,” says Robert Bauer, chief designer with the Rio de Janeiro design team. “With its aggressive design inspired by off-road fans in Latin America and imposing ‘monster trucks,’ the Attack is ready to overcome any barrier placed in front of it.”

The “beast” is powered by the Frontier’s standard 187 hp/332 lb-ft 2.3-liter diesel engine, along with a six-speed manual and push-button 4WD. Nissan’s vehicle dynamic control system monitors steering and braking, detects over/under-steering, and reduces engine speed and brakes at specific wheels when necessary to maintain traction and prevent skidding, overturning or loss of control. The multi-link rear suspension, hill start assist and hill descent control further enhance the ride, on and off road.

Inside, Nissan’s 6.2-in touchscreen Multi-App infotainment system with navigation serves as a centerpiece, and black leather comes to life with help from vivid red highlights and chrome trim.

In 2018, an Argentinian plant will join existing manufacturing facilities in Thailand, Mexico and Spain in building NP300 pickups. Whether something close to as vicious as the new Attack concept starts rolling out of that production facility will be in part up to those attending and watching the Buenos Aires show. Nissan will gauge reactions in deciding whether or not to pursue a production model based on the concept.

Facebook Moderation Guidelines Leaked, Show How It Reviews Hate Speech, Extremist Content

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Challenges such as revenge porn have overwhelmed Facebook moderators
  • It reviews around 6.5 million reports of potentially fake accounts a week
  • It confirmed that it was using software to intercept graphic content

Leaked Facebook documents show how the social media company moderates issues such as hate speech, terrorism, pornography and self-harm on its platform, the Guardian reported, citing internal guidelines seen by the newspaper.

New challenges such as “revenge porn” have overwhelmed Facebook’s moderators who often have just ten seconds to make a decision, the Guardian said. The social media company reviews more than 6.5 million reports of potentially fake accounts a week, the newspaper added.

Many of the company’s content moderators have concerns about the inconsistency and peculiar nature of some of the policies. Those on sexual content, for example, are said to be the most complex and confusing, the Guardian said.

Facebook had no specific comment on the report but said safety was its overriding concern.

Facebook Moderation Guidelines Leaked, Show How It Reviews Hate Speech, Extremist Content

“Keeping people on Facebook safe is the most important thing we do. We work hard to make Facebook as safe as possible while enabling free speech. This requires a lot of thought into detailed and often difficult questions, and getting it right is something we take very seriously”, Facebook’s Head of Global Policy Management Monica Bickert said in a statement.

Facebook confirmed that it was using software to intercept graphic content before it went on the website, but it was still in its early stages.

The leaked documents included internal training manuals, spreadsheets and flowcharts, the Guardian said.

The newspaper gave the example of Facebook policy that allowed people to live-stream attempts to self-harm because it “doesn’t want to censor or punish people in distress.”

Facebook moderators were recently told to “escalate” to senior managers any content related to “13 Reasons Why,” the Netflix original drama series based on the suicide of a high school student, because it feared inspiration of copycat behavior, the Guardian reported.

Reuters could not independently verify the authenticity of the documents published on the Guardian website.

Facebook Trending Topics Tweaked to Show More News Sources

HIGHLIGHTS

  • New design will offer a “carousel” with a variety of websites
  • Aim is to help people “feel more informed about the news in their region”
  • The update “does not affect how trending topics are identified”

Facebook on Wednesday unveiled its latest redesign to its “trending topics” feature – its latest move to give users a variety of sources on important news events.

The huge social network – which has faced criticism for creating “filter bubbles” that reinforce the views of users, and has been accused of bias in selecting its news sources – said the new design will offer a “carousel” with a variety of websites.

“You’ve always been able to click on a topic to see related posts and stories, but we’ve redesigned the page to make it easier to discover other publications that are covering the story, as well as what your friends and public figures are saying about it,” Facebook said in a blog post.

“Now, when you click on a trending topic, you’ll see a carousel with stories from other publications about a given topic that you can swipe through.”

The blog signed by Facebook product manager Ali Ahmadi and designer John Angelo said the aim is to help people “feel more informed about the news in their region.”

They added there would be “no predetermined list of publications” which appear in trending topics and that the update “does not affect how trending topics are identified,” after a series of changes.

Facebook Trending Topics Tweaked to Show More News Sources

Earlier this year, Facebook revised its formula for trending news in an effort to weed out fake news by tweaking its algorithm to diminish the importance of how much a news story is shared.

Last year, Facebook moved to make its trending topics automated, scaling back human selection after critics complained curators were deliberately omitting stories from conservative news outlets.

Facebook made the changes last year despite arguing that its research discovered no systematic bias in story selection.

The social network, which has nearly two billion users worldwide, is an increasingly important source of news for its members.

Facebook has brushed aside the idea that misinformation spread over its network was a major factor in the 2016 US presidential election, but has stepped up efforts to weed out hoaxes and unverified news.

The new “trending” design is rolling out for iPhone users in the US, and will soon be available for Android and desktop, Facebook said.

Facebook Trending Topics Tweaked to Show More News Sources

HIGHLIGHTS

  • New design will offer a “carousel” with a variety of websites
  • Aim is to help people “feel more informed about the news in their region”
  • The update “does not affect how trending topics are identified”

Facebook on Wednesday unveiled its latest redesign to its “trending topics” feature – its latest move to give users a variety of sources on important news events.

The huge social network – which has faced criticism for creating “filter bubbles” that reinforce the views of users, and has been accused of bias in selecting its news sources – said the new design will offer a “carousel” with a variety of websites.

Facebook Trending Topics Tweaked to Show More News Sources

“You’ve always been able to click on a topic to see related posts and stories, but we’ve redesigned the page to make it easier to discover other publications that are covering the story, as well as what your friends and public figures are saying about it,” Facebook said in a blog post.

“Now, when you click on a trending topic, you’ll see a carousel with stories from other publications about a given topic that you can swipe through.”

The blog signed by Facebook product manager Ali Ahmadi and designer John Angelo said the aim is to help people “feel more informed about the news in their region.”

They added there would be “no predetermined list of publications” which appear in trending topics and that the update “does not affect how trending topics are identified,” after a series of changes.

 

Earlier this year, Facebook revised its formula for trending news in an effort to weed out fake news by tweaking its algorithm to diminish the importance of how much a news story is shared.

Last year, Facebook moved to make its trending topics automated, scaling back human selection after critics complained curators were deliberately omitting stories from conservative news outlets.

Facebook made the changes last year despite arguing that its research discovered no systematic bias in story selection.

The social network, which has nearly two billion users worldwide, is an increasingly important source of news for its members.

Facebook has brushed aside the idea that misinformation spread over its network was a major factor in the 2016 US presidential election, but has stepped up efforts to weed out hoaxes and unverified news.

The new “trending” design is rolling out for iPhone users in the US, and will soon be available for Android and desktop, Facebook said.