A preview of what's in store at CES 2020.

Next week, the tech industry will descend on Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show, the country’s top showcase for technology and innovation. As technology continues to seep into every aspect of daily lives and increasingly inform consumer habits, this year’s CES is poised to be pivotal.

What will this year’s show predict for the future of human-centered technology? And what trends will rise to the top? Below, we round up our top picks.

Privacy

Apple, who has been famously absent from CES, will be officially participating this year. The company’s involvement, however, is unconventional for the annual tech conference. While Apple’s smart home system, HomeKit, will be on display, they will not be launching a product or introducing new capabilities. Rather, the company will be taking an ethical stance: Jane Horvath, the company’s senior director for global privacy, will be speaking on a panel about consumer privacy. The nature of the tech giant’s deliberate participation indicates a growing demand for a concerted and unified approach to security and underscores the importance of consumer privacy in the tech world. 

AI companions

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Neon.life. Images courtesy of Instagram.

Personal assistants have dominated CES over the past few years, and, thanks to improved visual and language processing capabilities, have made techified interactions more natural and organic than ever. This year, Samsung looks to the next iteration of personal assistants with Neon.life. While details have been limited and messaging cryptic leading up to the full unveiling at CES next week, Samsung has revealed that Neon.life is an ‘artificial human’ that will act as an AI companion.

This comes alongside Samsung’s forecast of what it has dubbed The Age of Experience, which Samsung President and CEO HS Kim will be speaking to in a keynote address at CES. “The Age of Experience will be defined by personalized technology that meets your needs,” said Kim in a statement. “It means that the devices you use will understand you as an individual, blurring the boundaries between the digital and physical worlds, and changing the way you interact with your cities and communities.

The Age of Experience will help you make a tangible connection with technology in a personal way that was not possible in the past. Instead of changing your routine to incorporate more devices, your devices will work seamlessly for you. Just imagine how much more you could accomplish with an ‘intelligent companion’ that supports you, instantly reacting to your needs.”

The autonomous experience

Despite the fact that driverless technologies are still being perfected, auto companies are beginning to turn their attention to reimagining the travel experience in the age of self-driving vehicles, anticipating what the future commute will look like when ‘drivers’ no longer have to drive. Honda will introduce its Autonomous Driving Concept “to address the cultural transition to autonomous vehicles” with features that include a new format for gestural steering. BMW will showcase the i3 Urban Suite concept, a city car optimized for rest and relaxation. And AISIN Group will be revealing an autonomous concept vehicle that offers a new level of “connection and interaction between the vehicle, its human riders and cloud-based data.”

Next gen entertainment

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Teslasuit VR gloves

As the streaming wars and new formats continue to fracture the entertainment industry, newcomers are reimagining the future of entertainment. Cinema tech company CJ 4DPLEX will be making their CES debut with a new theater concept to appeal to the Netflix generation. “Our latest immersive cinema technologies will deliver an enhanced cinema experience for existing movie-goers and attract young generations to the cinemas,” said JongRyul Kim, CEO of CJ 4DPLEX in a statement. Teslasuit will debut VR gloves that let wearers feel objects in a virtual environment and provide haptic feedback for a multisensory experience.  

Sex tech

After last year’s controversy, 2020 marks the first year that CES will allow sex technology products among Health & Wellness entrants. The move reflects both a growing market—the global sexual wellness market is expected to reach $39 billion by 2024—and a rising consumer belief that sexual health is an integral part of overall wellbeing. Watch this space.

CES runs from January 7–10. Follow our coverage over the next week for the latest in tech trends and breaking news.

Main image courtesy of BMW