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Innovation on Capitol Hill

Gary Shapiro, President and CEO, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)

CES on the Hill – CTA’s Capitol Hill showcase of the latest innovations from more than 25 consumer tech companies – is an exciting evening for me. I love being able to make the case for innovation in our backyard and show federal leaders how technology is changing our lives and our nation for the better, each and every day.

Thanks to the revolutionary power of the internet and the disruptive forces of new technologies such as VR, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI), the landscape of the job market is changing dramatically, with tens of thousands of American jobs available in computer science and other STEM fields. And almost half of all large U.S. enterprises plan to hire chief AI officers within the next year alone.

We’re excited to welcome Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) to CES on the Hill – the first time we’ve had a university exhibit at the event. CWRU will share its “Beauty and the Bolt” project – a student-run YouTube channel and other resources designed to get more students interested in engineering. 

Some of the other groundbreaking work on display this year is in robotics, and comes from companies not traditionally known for innovations in this area. Aflac, for instance, will share My Special Aflac Duck – a high-tech robotic toy designed for children battling cancer. The device not only interacts with the child, but also imitates the child’s emotions. Toyota will demonstrate its new cobot, a collaborative robot that helps around the house by responding to voice commands and reaching dropped objects or objects out of reach. And Mayfield Robotics will showcase Kuri, a friendly home robot and accessibility device that can play music and communicate with you.

These are just a few of the innovations on display at CES on the Hill, where lawmakers and their staff will see first-hand how the policies born in Washington play out across the country. I look forward to our discussions, and I’m eager to join industry and government to create an America where innovation and creativity can propel us into the 21st century – and beyond.

Gary Shapiro is president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)TM, the U.S. trade association representing more than 2,200 consumer technology companies, and author of the New York Times best-selling books, Ninja Innovation: The Ten Killer Strategies of the World's Most Successful Businesses and The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream. His views are his own. Connect with him on Twitter: @GaryShapiro