I've been to the future: the Consumer Electronics Show

Want a reason to love working in IT? Touring its innovations at CES will do it.

I just spent the week at the Consumer Electronics show in Vegas. And if ever there was a reason to consider a life in IT, that show is it. It’s a wild ride. I met astonishingly brilliant people, looked at the future, and drove a spaceship. And all of it was born of working in IT.

First I sat down with Anant Agarwal, the president of edX the non-profit, open source online learning venture from Harvard and MIT -- and a professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT who was a founder of Tilera Corporation, which created the Tile multicore processor. He grew up in a small town in India and failed the first physics test he took because his school had not prepared him for college. Obviously, he persevered and got an education. But he believes that education not destroy families financially and be available only to those who can afford it. So he is doing what he can to transform education. (I’ll cover that more in depth another day.)

Next I sat down in a prototype Tesla (in the Delphi booth) mean to demonstrate what the interior of a car of the future – when the car can drive itself – will look like. And it’s a beautiful thing. A projector on the inside of the windshield for watching movies, an immersive gaming experience in the back seat, a car that knows if you are watching the road or reading your email, and a 3D NVIDIA dashboard that you can transform to look just as you like simply by booting up a computer and designing something pleasing.

Then I toured a house where the appliances knew I was coming and anticipated my needs because they were all communicating with me and my smart phone through Qualcomm’s Internet of Things technology Alljoyn. Then I got into an all-electric, completely connected BMW that handled so precisely that I felt like I was driving a space ship through a waste land of old, soon-to-be-abandoned technologies (the other cars on the road.)

This was just one morning. I was there a week. My mind is blown. And I’m more certain than ever that this is the industry I want to work in.

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