Nvidia Corp. was on a victory lap at CES 2017 after recording monster stock growth in 2016, but it wasn't all horn-tooting. The company also unveiled new business plans that it hopes will maintain its stock momentum through the next few years. Clad in his token black leather jacket, Nvidia NVDA, 1.34% CEO Jen-Hsun Huang made three noteworthy announcements on the CES keynote stage in Las Vegas earlier this week. The first few were in Nvidia's traditional terrain: gaming, where its graphics processing chips have been used in high-powered videogames. But the other two focused on its newer operating segments: artificial intelligence and driverless cars, where it hopes to squeeze out even more juice over the long term.
Over the past few years the CES trade show has become a familiar post-holidays pilgrimage for many of the country's biggest marketers. They see the event as a way to get a sneak peek at the latest tech gadgets and technologies that can help them engage with their customers. This year marketing executives from companies such as Coca-Cola, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, Campbell Soup and PepsiCo Inc. made their way to Las Vegas for the gathering. The convention was jam-packed with everything from self-driving cars to robots that play chess to Procter & Gamble's air-freshener spray that can connect with Alphabet Inc.'s Nest home to automatically release pleasant scents in the home. But there was one category that seemed to especially win over marketers: virtual assistants.
A staff member displays a DJI Phantom 3 4K drone during CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, Nevada. It may come as a surprising fact that there are now 14 Chinese AI companies valued at $1 billion or more. These unicorns are worth a combined $40.5 billion, according to a report China Money Network recently released during the World Economic Forum's Summer Davos gathering in Beijing. Just to put these numbers in perspective. Google bought DeepMind for over $500 million in 2014. Chinese voice recognition giant iFlytek Co. has a market capitalization of 63 billion yuan ($9.2 billion). Chinese AI startups raised $27.7 billion via 369 VC deals in 2017, according to a recent report from Tsinghua University. So naturally, it raises questions on if there is a bubble waiting to pop in the Chinese AI space. How could these companies, with an average age of less than five years, be worth so much money?
Robots that walk, talk, pour beer and play pingpong have taken over the CES gadget show in Las Vegas again. Just don't expect to find one in your home any time soon. Most home robot ventures have failed, in part because they're so difficult and expensive to design to a level of intelligence that consumers will find useful, says Bilal Zuberi, a robotics-oriented venture capitalist at Lux Capital. But that doesn't keep companies from trying. 'Roboticists, I guess, will never give up their dream to build Rosie,' says Zuberi, referring to the humanoid maid from'The Jetsons.' AvatarMind has developed service robots like iPal which is based on artificial intelligence, motion control, sensors and power management.