CES 2018

1970’s vision in 2018’s reality

When I was a (very young) kid in the ’70s, I saw Walt Disney’s “Carousel of Progress,” an audio animatronics show that in my young mind, predicted “far-fetched” space-aged devices like self-driving cars, handheld phone-computers, talking refrigerators, virtual reality experiences and DNA-customized medicine.

That memory hit me like a ton of bricks somewhere between listening to the sound of the girl riding the Peloton bike through the Italian Riviera and the sight of folks from Orig3n swabbing DNA from the cheeks of strangers, at a very real demonstration of modern day devices known as the Consumer Electronic Show. The sights, the sounds, the unbridled optimism all transported me to that presentation about Life in the future. Life in 2020.

It only takes 4,000 exhibits at CES to show off modern day inventions. Lifestyle products abound; inventors from across the globe have been busy finding products that will do all of our menial tasks for us. There’s Fold-it, the machine that will…wait for it…fold our clothes. There’s Burabi—the Nespresso of baby bottles that will make a perfectly warmed baby bottle with exact formula-to-water ratio at the touch of a button. And then the really big leap—Selvy Checkup, which uses AI to predict disease.

Stress-free days, peaceful nights

One attendee pointed out that families will no longer invest in the family car, but the family robot, which (…or who?) will be responsible for taking over the jobs that keep us away from work and family. Hired!

Everyone from Phillips to Sleep Number is trying to maximize our sleep. From smart pillows to smart mattresses, and ear buds that soothe us into slumber, our sleep is recorded, analyzed and played with so it goes deeper and stays in REM longer. (Catch our podcast on sleep if you want some smart (if analog) tips on getting better sleep.)

The long view

It’s hard not to see how all these smart home technologies and customized medical advances could lead to healthier outcomes and ease how families face health challenges. I recently heard the far-fetched idea that babies born today could live to be 150. After a day at CES, I am a believer that if we can dream it, we can achieve it. And we still have two years before we know what life in 2020 will be like!