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"Boring AI": Overlooked Opportunity From CES 2024

Posted January 12, 2024

Zach Scheidt

By Zach Scheidt

"Boring AI": Overlooked Opportunity From CES 2024

Greetings from sunny Las Vegas!

I’m writing to you from the 2024 Consumer Electronics Show, where I’m scoping out the tech trends that will define the next several years.

While I do enjoy seeing some of the latest innovations in consumer technology, I’m not here just to look at cool gadgets…

No, I’m more interested in finding the best companies to invest in based on the tech they’ll soon bring to market.

So today I’m taking a quick break from the crowded convention center to fill you in on what I’ve seen so far.

Let’s dive right in…

The Year of the Artificial Intelligence Takeover

Without a doubt, the big theme this year is artificial intelligence. There are thousands of booths showcasing the different AI applications across industries.

Of course, there’s also plenty of noise here you’re better off ignoring — I mean that both literally and figuratively.

You see, there will always be dishonest actors who grab onto an exciting buzzword like AI without having any real connection to it.

It reminds me of the '90s when the dot-com frenzy took off. Back then, some stocks would skyrocket just because a company added “dot-com” to their name or presentation.

This same thing is happening right now with the booming AI trend. For example, I saw a booth from a pool cleaning company this week that claims to use AI.

It makes you wonder whether they’re actually using AI in their business, or if they’re just looking to ride the coattails of the trend.

Of course, there are other AI applications actually moving the needle.

I’m particularly interested in what I’ll call “boring companies,” or established businesses that implement AI to improve the productivity of their ordinary operations.

For instance, I sat through a presentation from a healthcare provider that’s using AI to help patients better understand what care is available to them through their insurance. 

Gail Boudreaux, CEO of Elevance Health

This hits close to home, as my 102-year-old grandpa is in the hospital right now, and our family is working to learn how we can best assist him.

As you may know from your own experience, this can be a very confusing process. So applying AI to help families is a very important use case.

I’m also intrigued by what I’m seeing in the industrial area. As I mentioned last week, I keep a close eye on the John Deere booth every year.

You might not think that the tractor company would show up at the Consumer Electronics Show.

But John Deere is using AI and machine learning to make their farming equipment more efficient.

Equipped with the new technology, tractors can go through a field and understand which areas are low on water and need attention.

Or it can spot a single weed and use herbicide on that one weed, rather than spraying down the entire field.

Similarly, Caterpillar and other big industrial companies are using AI for autonomous driving equipment.

This autonomous machine can go into places that aren’t safe for individuals, and it can still do the same work — possibly even better.

And the cool thing about autonomous driving equipment is that it doesn't need to sleep at night, so you can literally have a piece of equipment that's running 24/7.

There’s also opportunity even on the less boring side. For example, I’ve seen some booths featuring AI drones for soccer and a robot that plays ping pong with you.

These are clearly for entertainment. But these applications will still help advance AI technology, which will bleed into more meaningful areas of the economy.

I’ll have a lot more to say after I get back to my desk and research the different opportunities I’ve seen this week.

In the meantime, I recommend you follow along Paradigm’s live feed of CES.

Throughout the day, my colleagues and I will post pictures and videos of the different displays, along with our notes from the presentations we attend.

And you can scroll back through the feed to see everything we’ve shared so far.

Now, I’m headed back to the convention center to cover as much ground as possible before the event wraps up!

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