The future of AI tech

CES 2024: The tech extravaganza doubles down on AI

January 11, 2024 | By Anthony Venutolo

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It's that time ... new year, new toys, new tech. The annual CES tech conference in Las Vegas has long been an epicenter of innovation, unveiling the doodads that will shape our digital future. Still, if one thing was apparent, two words continued to captivate this year: artificial and intelligence.

Amid this year’s integration of AI to make practically everything we touch — from our cars to our beauty products to our shopping carts — smarter and more convenient, the usual questions about ethical dilemmas, job disruptions and privacy seem instantly justified. In the face of all this transformative AI, can we strike a healthy balance between exploring the technological frontier and ensuring that all this progress aligns with dignified values and aspirations? Whatever the answer, step into the future with us as we dive into some of the stories that stole the spotlight.

Beauty’s not ‘sleeping’ on this tech

Advancements in tech, especially AI, are revolutionizing the beauty industry. This year, L'Oréal Groupe CEO Nicolas Hieronimus delivered the first-ever CES keynote from a beauty company, describing the company’s journey to be “the undisputed leader in beauty tech.”  Among those inventions: a "smart" hairbrush, a skin sensor that monitors exposure to ultraviolet radiation, and a motorized lipstick applicator for people with limited mobility.

This year, the company introduced Beauty Genius, its AI-powered virtual adviser. The app allows its users to virtually try on different outfits from a vast collection of curated looks that can be shared with friends. “This is not a chatbot,” he said. “It’s a fully personalized AI and gen AI-powered solution.” User photos can be uploaded, and Beauty Genius can analyze skin, hair and makeup and suggest products and routines.  

Adding star wattage, actress and brand ambassador Eva Longoria was on stage to endorse the Colorsonic hair coloring brush that uses oscillating bristles to deliver even coloring from replaceable hair dye cartridges. Above all, it’s better for the environment and cleaner. Keeping sustainability top of mind, L'Oreal also debuted the AirLight Pro, a professional-grade infrared hairdryer that uses 31% less energy than similar hair dryers.

Also: Other beauty innovations include The Nimble, an all-in-one manicure salon that combines robotics and AI where users can insert their hands in a giant white box and receive a full polish and dry in just 25 minutes.

Gen AI revs up with VW

So you’re impressed that your car has Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple Car Play integrated?  “Hold my beer,” says VW. The German automaker has announced that it would begin integrating OpenAI's ChatGPT into its cars in the second quarter.

Third-party software developer Cerence creates automotive-grade ChatGPT connections, which is how Volkswagen incorporates OpenAI's chatbot. VW will use Cerence Chat Pro and provide relevant responses to nearly any query imaginable … how about “Could this guy in front of me drive any slower?”


The chatbot will be accessible in all new VW's models. While the details are still being worked out, the function will initially launch in Europe and likely be extended to the U.S. To increase privacy, ChatGPT won’t access any vehicle data and will promptly delete any queries and replies.

Also:  Intel is making its usual splash at CES, including the announcement of a new system on a chip, or SoC, that will be used to enable generative AI features in future automobiles. More than 50 million cars on the roads use Intel SoCs running displays, infotainment systems, digital instrument clusters and more.

Your small biz AI mentor

"Operating a small business is a point of immense passion and pride for entrepreneurs, but it’s certainly not easy,” said Raja Rajamannar, Mastercard’s chief marketing and communications officer. That’s why Mastercard Small Business AI is the company’s latest tech initiative announced at CES.

In partnership with Create Labs, the new mentorship chatbot incorporates gen AI and delivers data from Mastercard’s existing repository of small business-focused content.


In either English or Spanish, users can ask about writing business plans, researching grants, or help create marketing and advertising plans. In addition to its AI component, the tool is also a one-stop shop for trusted and easily-digestible information and will feature articles, podcasts and interviews from an inclusive set of sources to ensure the information is presented without bias.

“We created a first-of-its-kind solution that is sanitized for bias and acts as a mentor for small business,” he said at a CES session on AI and digital inclusion. “This tool will guide entrepreneurs step-by-step through the process of thriving in their small business. This app will be simple, initiative, and hugely helpful … It’s part of our ongoing commitment to small businesses.”

Walmart wants to be your AI concierge

In its first CES keynote and CES appearance, Walmart demonstrated how innovations in AI, gen AI and augmented reality will transform the company's traditional function as a retail destination into one as a digital concierge for customers.

“Our technology roadmap is compelling and we’re very excited about it, but we’re clear that we are a people-led, tech-powered company,” CEO Doug McMillon said. “People, our customers and associates, come first and we’ll put technology to work to serve them better than ever.”  

He said customers will soon be able to search for products based on how they use them, rather than product or brand names, thanks to a new gen AI search function that the world’s largest retailer is introducing to iOS users this year. Rather than typing individual searches for chips, pizza or an 80-inch TV, users can ask Walmart to return search results for items needed for an "Oscar watch party," including reviews, pricing and photos.

Also: "Shop with Friends" is the company’s new AR shopping platform that enables users to share virtual ensembles they build with friends and then receive comments on their purchases. The app blends social elements with Walmart's AI-powered virtual try-on technology, which was introduced in 2022.

Banner photo: ChatGPT is seamlessly integrated into Volkswagen's IDA voice assistant. (Photo courtesy Volkswagen)

Anthony Venutolo, Manager, Global Communications