By Claire Tran
BU News Service
LAS VEGAS – Flying cars and Guinness world records couldn’t distract audience members from Intel’s resolute apology for its potentially hackable chips.
CEO Brian Krzanich kicked off the company’s annual keynote by reassuring customers that their information is secure amid concerns over two security loopholes, named Spectre and Meltdown. The company expects to issue updates for more than 90 percent of its processors and products within a week, with the rest of rolling out by the end of January.
“Security is job No. 1 for Intel and our industry,” said Krzanich. “The primary focus of our decisions and our discussions have been to keep our customers’ data safe. As of now, we have not received any information that these exploits have been used to obtain customer data.”
The fully packed Park Theater at Monte Carlo suddenly switched from standard white lighting to colorful projections and music as Krzanich explained how data has the power to affect nearly every industry imaginable, from sports to movies. Soon, the average internet user will produce 1.5 gigabytes of data per day, he said.
“Data is going to introduce social and economic changes that we only see perhaps once or twice in a century,” said Krzanich.
The tech company announced a slew of international partnerships with companies who traditionally don’t use utilize the wonders of immersive media. With Paramount Pictures, Intel is creating movies in virtual reality with its 100-camera, 10,000 square foot spherical sound studio in Los Angeles. At the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Intel is broadcasting live and on-demand VR of over 30 events so viewers can experience the actions from the eyes of the athlete.
Intel even installed volumetric cameras in select NFL football stadiums to refine the sports-watching experience. Krzanich brought out Tony Romo, CBS broadcaster and former Dallas Cowboys quarterback, to explain the best part of sports VR: stepping into the player’s shoes.
“Your whole life, you’re watching this 2D version of television,” said Romo. “It’s really revolutionary what they’ve done and pretty special. You get to appreciate the ability of [the player] in that moment.”
Even Intel’s CES booth has been reproduced in virtual reality. With VR company Sansar, Intel’s multi-room booth is available to explore, equipped with live attendees to interact with and video demonstrations.
It wouldn’t be CES without a self-driving car. Professor Amnon Shashua, senior vice president of Intel and CEO/CTO of Mobileye, rode with his hands held high as a sleek white sedan, one of Intel’s first autonomous vehicles, drove itself onstage.
Krzanich held up a palm-sized, gold square called “Tangle Lake,” a 49-qubit superconducting quantum chip, which has the potential to compute faster than ever and learn new information like a human brain. The chip will also help with error correction in programs and simulate computational problems.
Krzanich also announced two new drones of tiny and giant proportions. Intel’s Shooting Star Mini drones performed a light show choreographed to Kygo’s “Stargazing,” a Guinness World Records title for Most UAVs airborne simultaneously from a single computer indoors without GPS.
Though, its giant drone is essentially a flying car. With vertical takeoff and landing, the Volocopter can be summoned with an Uber-like app and drive itself to pick up passengers in the near future. Florian Reuter, the CEO of Volocopter, claims its safe, simple to fly, quiet, and entirely emission-free if on battery power.
“It’s not some distant sci-fi fantasy,” said Reuter. “The Volocopter is real and already exists today. The best about it: it has the potential to be affordable for all of us.”