Before reading the article:
Scroll through the images and videos in the article.
What caught your eye? What trends do you see?
If you had to write a headline, tweet or meme for the 2019 CES conference based on these images and videos, what would it be?
Now, read the article, “CES 2019: It’s the Year of Virtual Assistants and 5G,” and answer the following questions:
1. The article begins: “The show must go on. That sentiment couldn’t have been stronger this week at CES, the largest consumer electronics convention in the country. The conference, which brought more than 180,000 people to Las Vegas, was a reminder of what the tech industry is best at: being optimistic about itself.” Why is the tech industry optimistic? What are reasons nonoptimists might be worried about bringing out new products now?
2. What is the purpose of the CES conference? How many companies exhibited products and how many attended it?
3. What were the hottest trends at the 2019 conference? Which do you think will be the biggest hit with consumers?
4. What is 5G? How will it affect the digital landscape?
5. According to the author, Brian X. Chen, “The most surprising news came when a host of tech companies announced they were working with Apple.” What is significant about Apple collaborating with other companies? How does this differ from Apple’s usual practices? How might these collaborations counterbalance the news from last week that the company reduced its revenue expectations for the first time in 16 years?
6. Mr. Chen writes, “Front and center at CES was the battle between virtual assistants.” Who is on each side of the battle? Who do you think will win?
7. Why is it critical that artificially intelligent virtual assistants are compatible with other products? Give some examples to support your explanation.
8. The article concludes:
If the economy does cool off, sales of cutting-edge gadgets will drop. Fast. But that didn’t faze people here. None of the CES attendees I spoke to expressed concern.
Matt Strauss, who oversees Comcast’s Xfinity internet and cable service, was especially bullish about the year ahead. He said just about everything announced at CES required an internet connection, so that’s the last thing that people would cut off. “It’s become like oxygen,” he said.
How is the internet like oxygen? How is technology in general becoming part of the air we breathe?
Finally, tell us more about what you think:
— Which of the products and trends at the 2019 CES conference interest you most and why? Which are you skeptical of or believe might be just hype?
— How do you think the technology showcased at CES will change you and your family’s lives?
— In a related article, “Devices That Will Invade Your Life in 2019 (and What’s Overhyped),” Mr. Chen writes:
Imagine a future where you are never truly alone. Even when your spouse is on a business trip or your children are away at summer camp, you will always have someone (or something) to talk to. In the morning, you could ask the microwave to heat up a bowl of oatmeal. In your car, you could tell your stereo to put on some ’90s music. And when you walk into the office, you could ask your smartphone, “What’s on my calendar today?”
Do you think the trends of 2019 — particularly related to artificial intelligence — represent a positive change for society? Do you think a future where you are never alone is good?