Every year, someone asks me why I go to the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. I mean, how many streaming set-top boxes, 100″ TVs, and bluetooth headsets does anyone need to see? For me, CES is a gathering of dreamers, of people who’re setting the direction of the future not just in words, but in actual technology that’s just over the horizon.
Last night I attended the keynote of Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, where a bit of the future came alive for me. The big theme was about data and how it would impact our lives and experiences. He showed a few examples from art, the sciences, sports (the Olympics), transportation, and entertainment. The visuals were stunning, the vision he painted was exciting. I couldn’t help but feel that he was painting a stark vision of the future, where all of our experiences are automatically generated for us from data gathered about us using permissions that may bypass us. Maybe a little cynical, but when we’re collecting so much data (1.5GB per day per person, up to 4 terabytes per day for vehicles), companies will be using every method at their disposal to generate value from it.
Is generated content such a bad thing? Turning volumes of data into personally usable experiences could change the way we work. On the other hand, we could lose control of our data. The divisions we’re seeing in society today could be exacerbated by gorging ourselves generated experiences. In the face of easy data,what will happen to human creativity?
I don’t know, but I saw 100 shooting stars last night that gave me hope that humanity will shine through. BK showed us the Intel Shooting Star, a tiny drone that can fly in sync with up to hundreds of copies of itself. One creative person can wield a swarm of drones like a high-tech color palette. Rather than being concerned with flight control, the creative can focus on creating an experience tailored to the audience. Intel showed us of the most breathtaking light shows I’ve ever seen (see below). I left with a sense that data can embellish and extend human creativity, rather than just replace it.
I hope that Intel’s 100 shooting stars bring us luck, but also shine a light on how data can expand our creativity.