'AI [artificial intelligence] is no longer a 'thing' — it's everything," were the breathless words from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), organisers of the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, US, when it introduced an artificial intelligence conference track at the event last week. As much as it sounds like hype, one could take the claim a step further, and say "AI is IN everything". In the same way that last year's CES was brimming with voice-assisted technologies, one could hardly move at this year's edition without stumbling across a new TV set or gadget that claimed to have AI built in. One of the drivers of the trend is the arrival, en masse, of the Internet of Things (IoT), which refers to the ability of connected devices to be networked via the internet and to interact or exchange information. For vast numbers of such devices to operate effectively, AI has become an essential underlying technology. The CTA summed it up: "From workplace automation, bi...

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