The Many Gaudy Splendors Of CES

Two of the least admirable cities in the U.S.—Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas— will be a study in contrasts this week. The nation’s capital is the epitome of dysfunction, a perversion of democracy where a huckster reigns but struggles to achieve his goals. The country’s capital of vice is a soulless, supersized alternate reality where hucksterism is the coin of the realm. In Washington, meaningless bills wither and die. In Vegas, especially this week, technology companies will offer visions of a bright shiny future, most of which will never find markets with real customers.

Ah, the splendour of CES, the consumer electronics industry trade show that has outgrown its own name. Once primarily a meeting place for gadget makers to pitch merchants their wares for the coming year, now the gaudy event is a meeting place for the who’s who in technology, media, entertainment, and the like. They’re all pushing a plan for the future while nervously looking around to make sure someone else’s future isn’t cleverer, more lucrative, or technologically superior to their own.

And you have to walk through smoke-filled casinos to get to the hotel elevator.

Other than that, CES is a grand time. The hottest topics aren’t new: self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, 5G cellular networks, to name a few. -- Adam Lashinsky and Aaron Pressman, Fortune Data Sheet

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