James Kotecki: This is CES Tech Talk. I'm James Kotecki, and today we've got a stellar conversation from day three at CES 2024 in Las Vegas. We have brought together another fantastic media panel to get their takes on the issues of the day. Enjoy this round table discussion from the heart of the world's most powerful tech event.


Patrick Pannett: Good afternoon, everybody. Welcome to CES 2024. We are all on for day three. Hope everyone is having an amazing show. So one of the things that makes CES great is that we have reporters from around the world, thousands of them, and we are so lucky to have Alyssa, Max, and Shanique here with us today who are going to talk about what we've seen at the show


so far and what the implications are for innovation and tech and sustainability in the future. But first, let's just go down the line. I'd love to hear just a little bit about who you are and what your beat is.

Alyssa Meyers: Hi, everyone. My name is Alyssa. I am a reporter for Morning Brew. I write specifically for one of our B2B newsletters called Marketing Brew. I cover sports marketing mostly.

Max Ren: Hi, everyone, my name is Max Ren. I'm from SMG News, executive producer.


It's wonderful to be here with the CES with everyone. Thank you.

Shanique Yates: Hi, everybody. My name is Shanique Yates and I am a staff writer at AfroTech covering everything from business to technology, entertainment and beyond. And this is my first CES.

Patrick Pannett: So let's have a round of applause for the people who are at CES for the first time, including out here as well.


This is my second CES, obviously this is Max's 10th CES. So one of the things that is great about CES is just how much diversity we have in the crowd, but also on the show floor. So we are here in the grand lobby. We have consumer electronics companies in Central Hall. We have digital health over the way in South Hall, sorry, in North Hall. We have a huge amount of automotive and mobility. We're one of the world's largest automotive shows.


But I think one of the things that often gets missed is the new intersection that we are having for consumers and how brands are thinking about showing up. So I'd love to start with, let's start with Shanique. And you've been spending time at ARIA, at C Space. Give us a little bit of a sense of what you've seen and how brands are showing up and hopefully improving our future.


Shanique Yates: Absolutely. So I spent a lot of time yesterday over, like you mentioned, at the Aria, and I was able to sit in on a talk with Blake Griffin about his Mortal Media. So just learning about streaming services and how they are in competition with cable networks and how we are viewing content and what that looks like, whether it's on our phones, whether it's on our televisions, wherever we watch our content. But the thing that I love the most is that there's content for everyone and then there's also this commitment to accessibility for everyone.


So that was one of my huge key takeaways from yesterday.

Patrick Pannett: And Alyssa, how about you?

Alyssa Meyers: Yeah, I've been in a similar spot hanging out over at the Aria a lot at C Space. That's a big hub I think for a lot of the marketers who are here, which is my beat. One of the sessions that I really liked over there was hosted by Female Quotient and an ad exec and also Sue Bird, WNBA legend, got to meet her, which was incredible.


I really liked that because like I said, I write about sports marketing, I write a lot about how brands are investing in women's sports specifically and increasing their investment there. And that was what that session was all about. Female Quotient has had a lot of great content like that about how brands are thinking about where they spend their money. Women's sports being an example. They're investing more in there, they're seeing their ad campaigns and sponsorships of women's sports play out and get results. So it was cool to hear them talk a little bit about that.


Patrick Pannett: That's great. And I think one of the things that we're seeing here, definitely one of the trends is around universal design, inclusivity, accessibility. Max, maybe let us know where you've been spending your time, but also maybe what some of the connections you've seen to some of those issues.

Max Ren: Thank you, Patrick. Yeah, as you just mentioned, I've been covering CES. This is the 10th year I've been covering CES.


And my team arrived Saturday night and we have been working through Eureka Park, Mandalay, Venetian. And this is ever-expanding CES, everyone must be tired, but that also means the technology is expanding. And congratulations to CES expanding.

So we have been focusing on everything, but the primary this year, The Future is On. So we focus on AI and autonomy, especially nowadays the CES like future vehicle show.


We have the great vehicle, green energy, and smart city. I think that's what we are typically focusing on. It is a great journey to be here on the 10th year as SMG covers this news. Thank you.


Patrick Pannett: Well, Max, you hit the magic word, AI. AI everywhere. It's pervasive through the show. I don't think we see it in one brand, in one company, in one vertical, in one activation. Can you give us a sense, Max, of how is AI showing up at CES 2024?

Max Ren: So prior to CES, I have been to Rockville Automation in Boston. So in that convention is typically the acceleration of AI in manufacturing, AI in agricultural.


So in other words is job replacement in manufacturing, job replacement in all kind of agricultural service sector. So this time we are here, we are seeing the beginning of actually this year why it's called Future is On. From my understanding is it's the year of acceleration of job replacement. So we are looking very closely on how AI impacts everyone's life. Patrick, thank you.


Patrick Pannett: And we know that AI is pervasive in content. It's helping us discover content. It's helping us find ways to gamify our lives, to get into gaming, to get into sports, to get into entertainment. What are some of the ways that AI is opening up doors to new people to engage in some of the things that we're seeing on the show floor here? Alyssa.


Alyssa Meyers: I don't think I've been to a single panel or session where AI hasn't come up. It's definitely at the forefront of a lot of the marketing conversations. I've heard of it a lot as at this point a time saver for people in that role. If you're in a creative role, you could use AI to change the background color of one of your ad spots a thousand times instead of having to do that manually. So there's been a lot of concern about, "Oh, is AI going to take my job if I'm an advertising creative?" I have heard a lot of reassuring comments that at least in that field that I cover, it's not so much about replacing the job just yet.


It's more for tasks, things like that to save people time, let them do more creative tasks and focus their time and energy elsewhere.

Patrick Pannett: But you bring up a good point, and Shanique, when we're thinking about people are worried about AI, that it's maybe threatening their jobs. And we've done some research on it and it turns out that whilst there are concerns, people are excited by the opportunities for time-saving or for opening doors, for enabling people who maybe couldn't have access to opportunities being powered by AI.


What have you seen at CES or heard at CES that's helping advance that?

Shanique Yates: Absolutely. So I've heard a lot at CES about AI and I was one of those people as a writer on the fence, worried about AI and writing and ChatGPT. But one thing that I saw, a big thing was I went to Google's activation, and being able to see a lot of times as a journalist you are doubling as a content creator these days.


So it was really cool seeing the features that could change the backgrounds if the photo was messed up or remove things out of the picture. I thought that was cool. But then also I popped over to the Venetian and Mayavana, it's a black woman-owned hair company that uses AI to make haircare more simplified.


So I just love that AI is making life easier and I'm just excited with all the cool updates I've been seeing.

Patrick Pannett: And you bring up a great point. So we'll stay on that. Beauty tech, this is a new area at CES. We had L'Oreal on the keynote stage just the other day. They were showing how AI is informing their new app, but also how their devices, their HAPTA device that they previewed at CES last year enables people that may have mobility issues to still be able to apply lipstick in a uniform manner, that they're looking at how to cater to all skin types, all hair types and engage that.


And obviously it looks like there's a growth area in terms of enabling people to, is it fair and accurate to say to optimize their self, themselves using AI?


Shanique Yates: Absolutely. I think a lot of the products that I've seen have just been focused on more self-reliance, right? But just making it easier. And I love the beauty tech products because I try to watch a lot of TikToks about how to do my makeup and my hair differently. And just knowing that these tools are in place to just help streamline that process is super exciting.

Patrick Pannett: So Max, staying with sustainability, universal design and accessibility. You talked a little bit about automotive and mobility and smart cities.


Give me a sense of some of the innovations that you have seen on the floor that is empowering individuals to get better access to live their lives or to build more sustainable communities.

Max Ren: Thank you, Patrick. That gave me some thought about some new product such as a snow removal bot and landscaping bot.


This kind of smart and green EV- powered, this kind of small device. And they also, such as some brand that I really like, rubber sands, Yabo, the little bot. And also I went to the Niklas kind of chart.

That reminds us this is a global community.


So technology, it can only evolve, it can only move forward with a global effort, such as some chip made in Taiwan, some chip made in South Korea, Japan, in China. Some were designed in Italy or Germany, some manufactured in Phoenix, Arizona. So it's a global effort to move the technology forward.


And in the past several years, there's lots of geopolitical issue, but technology and culture and technology bring human race together. Every brand. You know what? We have seen some great product announcements such as Hyundai-Kia, Sony, Sony-Honda latest mobility. So innovative.


But that reminds us, in order to make human race, technology move forward, the race has to come together. Unity. That's my interpretation of culture and technology moving forward. Thank you.

Patrick Pannett: You are taking my talking points from me, Max. And that's one of the beauties. CES is bigger than any one company or any one country. It truly is convergence from the top to the bottom of the supply chain. You talked about the chips, we have the global manufacturers who are helping create the infrastructure that is going to empower a sustainable future.


But there's also inevitably going to be something at CES that surprises you. So what surprised you so far, Alyssa?

Alyssa Meyers: The most surprising thing for me, I think as a first-timer at CES was just the amount of topics that were covered, quite honestly. I was a little skeptical coming. Like I said, I have a very specific beat in sports marketing. So when I was first looking through the program, I wasn't sure that it would be relevant to the type of reporting I was looking to do.


But just the number of people that I have met across the number of industries, that has been a very pleasant surprise. I will also add that at one point I saw two dogs on the show floor, which I really enjoyed.

Patrick Pannett: I think we can all agree that it's nice to see dogs. I'm more cats. But if we can have pets, and I'm sure there's some electronic ones as well. Something that's surprised you or opened your eyes or something that you didn't expect, Shanique, at CES.


Shanique Yates: Yeah, I would have to agree, really the range of topics and just all of the different things that are available. One thing that was big for me is just the amount of auto industry with a voice or a presence here. That was super cool. And seeing Honda's new, their EV models, that was super cool. It made me feel like I'm finally in the Jetsons.


So I just really enjoyed all of the topics. And then being able to... I think we kind of offline backstage just about a lot of the sustainability products. I come from a sharecropping family, so being able to see all of the advancements in farming, I can't wait to go home and share that information with my great uncles who still farm today.

Patrick Pannett: And that's a great point. If you haven't had a chance to see John Deere and many other exhibitors, that they're demonstrating how technology is making farming more efficient, how lidar and radar and 5G technologies are all supporting the ability


for farmers essentially to be able to do more with less, to optimize their time, and at the end of the day to feed a growing world in a sustainable manner. And I think that's one of the big things that we see at CES that there is. This isn't just a talking point by companies about sustainability.


This is about investment, new technologies, we have batteries, or other ways to make things more efficient. So Max, give me a sense of maybe something that you've seen that is also helping on the sustainability front.

Max Ren: Well, if we want to talk about sustainability, I would like to mention one topic. Almost all of my friends, media friends, they were complaining about the internet speed in Las Vegas. Almost every hotel, every corner.


We are supposed to be in the 6G now. But we forget about 5G, we couldn't even get 4G properly. So that's like kind of we are in the largest tech event in Las Vegas, CES, thank you CES, but somehow we are having the slowest internet in this city. Understandable, we are in the middle of the desert.


But future and sustainability, I really like to see something. I think it's about policy. Policy, how policy implementation to match human technology development. And thank you this year there's lots of green sustainable topic. I really like those kind of idea. And we are definitely, we are covering sustainability and renewable energy sector. Thank you, Patrick.


Patrick Pannett: And I think, Max, you drew on one of the great points that not everybody necessarily knows about the great conference program that CES has. More than 250 conference sessions, a thousand speakers from all over the world, including our policy innovation track, which brings in global policymakers and regulators who are helping us understand and we are helping to educate them on what is required to allow these technologies to thrive in the world.


So give me a sense on where you see, Alyssa, this intersection of policy and sports and content and entertainment, because we need some, right?

Alyssa Meyers: Sure, yeah. Policy and regulations govern every industry. Marketing and advertising included. I mean, I think the best example, if you're not familiar with the ins and outs, I want bore everyone, but people talk all the time about, "Oh, I was having a conversation with my friend about buying a new couch, then I saw an ad for a couch on Instagram." There are of course rules and regulations governing how brands can use the data that they have access to to target people across the internet.


That is a topic that has been coming up for years among brands and brand marketers. It's come up a lot at CES, data privacy, things like that.

With AI as well. That is something I think that is a little bit newer to marketers than maybe some other people in different segments, sectors like tech.


And I have heard some people say we need a little bit more regulation there. Marketers, brands are still experimenting with AI. It's still really new. And from what I've heard when it's come up at every CES panel I've been at, that has been a talking point is that people in the marketing industry aren't so sure if that's being regulated the way that they think it should be just yet.


Patrick Pannett: And Shanique, from your perspective, what are some of the areas in which you think you've seen a similar intersection amongst maybe products and policy or how everyone can come together to advance our future here?

Shanique Yates: Yeah. It kind of just goes back to what I was saying before about just that self-reliance. So us being in control. We think about the technology and we think a lot of times people's minds go to the worst that can happen and the technology having too much control.


So just knowing that we're still in control and we're still able to tell the products what to do, tell the technology what to do and still have that autonomy, that's been a big thing for me.

And also just again, with the ads. That has been the number one conversation at all of the panels. I was talking to my friend, I was sometimes texting friends, and then I automatically saw this ad on Facebook and Instagram.


So people want to know that their personal and private conversations are safe, that they do have privacy when they're on the internet. So being at CES and being able to listen in on the panels has truly comforted me as a consumer.

Patrick Pannett: Well, you heard it here first, that it's where we're making news. It's where we're also informing the global policy audience. I saved one of the meatier questions for last and I think it ties together a lot of what we've been talking about today.


Your job as media, as global reporters is to inform, to inspire, to empower. But we're dealing with fracturing of media. We are dealing with a Gen Z that would rather lose a little finger. Our research shows this, CTA research shows that a substantial portion of Gen Z would rather lose part of their anatomy than their phone.


So how do we cater to this? How are you thinking about news and information and empowerment in the future? Max.

Max Ren: Every news organization it's competing and it is also fighting with the traditional way. So we are self- evolutioning to change, adapt the new technology such as ChatGPT.


So many college students, they were able to use ChatGPT to write thesis and people using ChatGPT to apply their job. So also the kind of AI, it's also being part of our day-to-day news production. We were able to be so efficient because of the technology evolution.


So as global news production, of course we would like to adapt the new technology to... Nowadays, everyone like Gen Z, they watch shorter and shorter video. It used to be 10 years ago, everyone probably watch two or three minutes or 10 minutes, right?


Five years ago you watch a minute or two minutes. Now everything like five, three seconds, five, three seconds. So it's like rapid development of the speed. Speed we cannot catch up. So it's kind of balance. We have to balance time, speed, efficiency, information, and news.

Patrick Pannett: So Shanique, we just heard about present state and 10 years ago. Where are we in 10 years?

Shanique Yates: Yeah, I think in 10 years we are at more accessibility, at least that is my big goal as a journalist.


I am writing for AfroTech, but I always think back, like I mentioned, I come from a sharecropping family in a very small town in Dinwiddie County, Virginia. So when I am reporting and putting the news out, I'm thinking of them. I have great uncles who don't browse the internet and who only get their news from one source. So I just think accessibility is a big thing that I want to see in 10 years, just specifically for Black and brown communities to have access not only to news, but the amazing products that are here, all of the conversations.


I just want us to have a pulse and be able to be included in those conversations.

Patrick Pannett: Couldn't agree more. Alyssa, close us out.

Alyssa Meyers: You guys both had great insights there. I totally agree with what you said, Max, about short, get to the point Gen Z, they're scrolling three, five seconds. Media outlets should have a presence on TikTok if you  want to get to that audience. Quick, quick articles.


There are still room I think for larger features to explore. And I agree with you too, Shanique, about accessibility in the way we write and the wording. It's a problem even just in the B2B community. A lot of jargon, for instance. And if you're newer to your industry, maybe you don't know this terminology. So I think we need to think about that across the board, making our writing, the people we speak to, the words we use more easily understood and digested.


Patrick Pannett: Our time is up. Please give Alyssa, Max, and Shanique a big round of applause. We're so proud of all of our media partners here and so glad to have you. Let's make the most and close out CES strong. Thank you everybody for coming.

James Kotecki: Well, I hope you found those media insights from CES 2024 were indeed insightful. That's our show for now. But there's always more tech to talk about.


So hit that YouTube subscribe button, leave a comment, follow us on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, iHeartMedia, or wherever you're getting this show. And get more CES at ces.tech. That's ces.tech. I'm James Kotecki talking tech on CES Tech Talk.