※ CES 2020 preview special article is written by the editor-in-chief and publisher of AVING NEWS Kidai Kim to show the insight of CES to all readers of AVING NEWS. It consists of several episodes of the scenarios in the video CES 2019 Review & Documentary which he has produced. The main topics/agendas that will be covered in CES 2020 are almost the same as CES 2019, so this article will be a very useful resource for attending CES 2020. (Editor’s note)
The hottest topic at CES was undoubtedly AI. From opening keynotes to world-class companies as well as startups at Eureka Park, AI was the most important technology discussed as the most important.
AI is the computing technology that acts as a human brain in one word, driving the device itself. The fuel and engine that cultivates and develops the AI technology is data. Through the massive amount of experience accumulated by humanity, AI learns the experiences of human beings. Based on what it has learned, AI cultivates the ability to make judgments and actions on its own through the astronomical amount of simulations that is more than human experience.
In just 40 days of machine learning, Google’s AlphaGo has cultivated itself that goes beyond Go’s strategy and power that has been handed down and developed for over 2,500 years by humans. A few years ago, IBM Watson demonstrated the ability to read and analyze one million books in 80 trillion calculations per second. Before Google’s Weimo launched a commercial taxi service, it had learned about 6 billion miles, which is about 10 billion kilometers, of self-driving technology through simulation on its own.
China, the world’s largest consumer market, is producing astronomical amount of data with billions of devices every day. China has the ambition to take the lead in AI technology with this data, and is rapidly commercializing it and applying it to the public sector as well.
In stores in major cities in China, it is becoming more common for consumers to purchase and pay with face recognition technology instead of credit cards. The public sector has gathered biometric data of 1.4 billion people to build a huge database, and the public security is finding and arresting thousands of suspects annually by using facial recognition technology.
Thanks to AI technology, the Chinese government can observe 1.4 billion people as if looking into the palm of their hand. Although the government is being criticized for violating human rights and undemocratic governance systems, it cannot be denied that China’s face recognition technology is on the world-class level.
Although still in its infancy, the killer robot currently under experiment can kill other robots with sniper accuracy and completely destroy the body of the robot. The tiny killer drone with the size of the palm finds targets by using facial recognition technology and zones in on the most critical point for successful killing. Although it hasn’t been confirmed, a woman scientist claims that an AI robot killed 29 scientists at a Japan-based military robot development lab in August 2017, and this has caused controversy.
This is enough for human rights organizations to start campaigns to stop developing killer AI drones, which is more deadly than nuclear weapons, and there will be more and more fear that AI robots will have the ability to judge on their own and cause harm to human.
As shown above, the negative atmosphere on AI technology is not something to be ignored. The prediction that autonomous objects driven by AI technology and software-based digital labor will take people’s jobs is not just a prediction, but is already happening.
People are making premature assumptions that cashiers, bank tellers, taxi and truck drivers, pizza deliverymen, lawyers, financial consultants, and even doctors will lose their jobs to AI robots. To human beings who have to live in future that is uncertain already, AI technology is creating additional concerns on jobs.
What we have seen in movies is becoming a reality. The story about robots working on behalf of humans seems very obsolete. No one is surprised or puzzled by the fact that we can now own robots like owning pets and work together with human-like robots, and there are even personal robots that can “take care of” people’s sexual desires.
Singularity refers to the singularity of technology, which means that at some point, computing technology reaches a point that exceeds the sum of the human brain power. It is useless to predict this, but given the current pace of chip technology, computing technology will surpass the sum of the human brain power in as early as 10 years or 20 years at the latest.
There is a person who should be mentioned when discussing AI technology. It’s Softbank’s Masayoshi Son. Chairman Son is focusing all of the company’s investment capabilities in AI to lead the digital industry of the superintelligent era, singularity in short.
For example, becoming a controlling shareholder through large-scale investments in shared car service platforms like Uber and Grab is deeply related to AI technology. It is interpreted as the company intending to take over the global market by establishing a huge transportation service platform operated by AI technology by acquiring big data of the rapidly growing transportation service startups.
There are cases related to Korea as well. The fact that Son invested his vision fund of 20 billion dollars to Coupang to become the controlling shareholder can be seen as the extension of the investment on AI technology. Son probably considered Coupang as not just an online shopping mall, but something that can evolve into an AI technology company.
The competitiveness of the distribution business depends on having the transaction system that can minimize stress by finding the most optimal communication channel between consumers and producers and the ability to deliver goods from the producer to consumer in the shortest possible time and distance.
The reason I think why son has decided to make a big-scale investment is that Coupang has the most data in Korea and it has the potential to become an effective communication channel between the producers and consumers when the AI technology is added, and the products can be delivered in the shortest time and distance between the two channels.
AI technology is now evolving from data to algorithms, indicating that it is getting much smarter. Algorithm-based AI can learn even unknown areas where data had not been acquired by human ability and offer solutions that would’ve never been conceived by humans.
Then, we can discover the secrets of the human body and causes that trigger various diseases and incurable diseases that humanity had not been understood with current technology. Algorithm-based AI technology will not only stop there, but will also help to develop new drugs by finding the best way to cure diseases. AI technology will soon be able to predict unexpected natural disasters in advance, or help rescue by the robots discovering rescue routes on its own at disaster sites.
In this year’s CES, the AI technology that responds and moves by voice recognition was the main topic. Also, AI devices that respond by recognizing subtle glances or facial expressions have also been launched. But ultimately, we have found out that AI technology is about making objects that respond and act autonomously and actively.
Written by KIDAI KIM
Editor & USA Correspondent
Edited by Myungjin Shin