Impact of artificial intelligence on society
Vizio, the TV maker, said its newer TVs would work with AirPlay, an Apple software feature for streaming video and audio content from an iPhone or Mac to a television screen. People will be able to speak to Siri on their iPhones to play content they had purchased from iTunes on the Vizio TVs. Samsung, Sony and LG announced similar partnerships with Apple.
In the past, AirPlay and iTunes videos were mostly tied to Apple-made hardware like the Apple TV set-top box. Their expansion to third parties underlines Apple’s ambition to expand the revenue it generates from its internet content and services. That’s especially important now that sales of Apple’s cash cow, the iPhone, are slowing.
This month, the company reduced its revenue expectations for the first time in 16 years. The move is also notable because it illustrates an unusual willingness by Apple to open its technology to other companies, including competitors like Samsung. In a statement provided by Samsung, Eddy Cue, Apple’s head of Internet software and services, said that with the expansion of iTunes and AirPlay, “iPhone, iPad and Mac users have yet another way to enjoy all their favourite content on the biggest screen in their home.”
In 2015, Amazon birthed the Echo, the artificially intelligent speaker featuring the virtual assistant known as Alexa. A year later, Google responded with Home, its smart speaker powered by Google’s own digital companion, called Assistant. Since then, in a bid to become your go-to digital companion, the two tech giants have teamed up with makers of devices like thermostats, doorbells, light bulbs and car accessories to add their virtual assistants to them.
Front and centre at CES was the battle between virtual assistants — namely Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant. Google erected an enormous outdoor booth to show off the multitude of devices that now work with Assistant, including smart watches, speakers and displays. The company said a billion devices now work with its assistant, up from 400 million last year. Google wants to make the Assistant the focal point of a consumer’s life: in the home, in the car and on mobile devices.
“When I walk down the aisle at Home Depot, will all the devices I might buy work with the Assistant?” Nick Fox, a Google executive who oversees Assistant, said of items like smoke detectors and thermostats. “The answer is yes”.
Amazon also had a large presence at the show. It filled a large conference room at the Venetian hotel with dozens of products that work with Alexa, including an Audi car, a motorcycle helmet and a stereo system.