It featured musical performances by Adam Levine and two members of his pop rock band Maroon 5 during Qualcomm’s keynote and Alicia Keys at Monster’s private party. Kesha, the Killers and Imagine Dragons performed at other CES corporate events.
Rappers 50 Cent, Ludacris and LL Cool J were there, as were NFL quarterbacks Drew Brees and Tim Tebow and other familiar actors, musicians and sports stars.
Some celebs like musician Will.i.am, actor-director Danny DeVito and former President Bill Clinton spoke publicly at this year’s CES. Here’s a summary of those three appearances.
Is Will.i.am a crazy genius or just crazy?
When Will.i.am spoke, he didn’t make a lot of sense and rambled at times. You had to connect the dots and draw inferences to try to understand what he was saying. Many of his thoughts about technology and business seemed overly simplistic or not grounded in reality. He reminded me a bit of the character Chauncey Gardiner from “Being There” as other panelists agreed with him and interpreted what he said.
I’m a fan of Will.i.am’s music and think his work to inspire inner city kids to pursue careers in technology and business is wonderful. But his thoughts about tech and business seemed a little out there.
Will.i.am spoke a couple of times about the future of 3D printing.
“3D printers are going to change everything in our lifetime,” he said. “When machines make machines and the things that you want can be printed in your house ... And just the guts, you’ll replace them. We’ll see that in our lifetime.”
Huh? See what I mean?
“3D printers. You’re going to print your medicine. You’re going to print organs and stuff,” Will.i.am said at another point. “If you can sequence the human genome in your house, what does that mean for the way medical and that …” He trailed off, not completing his thought.
“Hospitals, medicines and doctors … that whole thing is going to be rethunk. And we’re going to be a part of that and we’re going to see that in the next 20 years,” he said. “You’ll see other things as big as your refrigerator that do things in the medical field. That will happen in our lifetime. Just like a microwave came in my grandma’s lifetime.”
I have no idea what he was getting at there.
“My jacket is going to be a computer in a couple of years … we’re going to wear technology,” Will.i.am said at another point. OK, I’ll grant him that one.
He sees data being interconnected; so that doctors can do things like examine your tweets on Twitter to make a diagnosis aided by information on where you’ve traveled and what activities you’ve done. He didn’t seem to grasp privacy issues in his technology predictions.
“Why do you need a scale in the bathroom? Shouldn’t the floor automatically tell you what you weigh? Why do we use mirrors? Why can’t we just have a camera on the wall with a display system? Fuck, why do we have mirrors in 2012,” he said passionately.
His views just got weirder and weirder.
He said people would have huge data storage systems in their homes.
“I’m going to have something in my house that’s going to be refriged because you need something cold to store all that data. Your refrigerator is going to be more than something that just stores your food in the next couple of years,” he said.
Will.i.am had his own interpretation of the Internet of things concept. He said the road should talk to the wheels of your car to alert you to speed bumps. And your car should talk to your refrigerator.
“As you pass by Ralph’s, (your fridge should call your smartphone and tell you), ‘You know, we ain’t got no milk in here,’” he said.
Will.i.am says he travels the world “sponging,” soaking up information “in the fashion of an anthropologist, and then at the same time affecting pop culture. So I started looking at myself as a pop-thropologist.”
I had a difficult time “sponging” what he was talking about.
“That’s why I like traveling. I sponge up everything. I’ve sponged up this whole room already,” he said.
Most news publications treated Will.i.am with kid gloves. They cleaned up his thoughts and his quotes for their articles to make the celebrity appear more articulate than he was.
See “Will.i.am is the most CES celebrity ever” by the Verge, “Will.i.am Flashes His Geeky Side at CES 2013” by Billboard, and “You’re not going to believe this, but Will.i.am is a tech visionary” by Digital Trends.
Danny DeVito cracks up the crowd
DeVito came across as humble and gracious and liked to make self-deprecating jokes. He was the opposite of Will.i.am, who struck me as full of himself and braggadocios.
He said he likes to take photos and text his kids with his iPhone, but the Siri personal digital assistant software can be annoying. “I turned her off just a minute ago. She’s always bothering me. She’s a ball-breaker,” DeVito said.
DeVito owns a Panasonic Viera smart TV, but is confused by its complicated remote control.
“The thing that confounds me is: How many buttons do you have to put on that damn remote? It drives you crazy,” he said. “Just make a remote control we can all use so we don’t have an IT guy living in the house.”
He loves high-definition Blu-ray Discs. Comparing Blu-ray to DVD, he said “Blu-ray kicks its ass,” he said. His movies “Hoffa” and “War of the Roses” are coming out on Blu-ray Disc soon.
Asked about what technology he thought was interesting at the show, he made fun of Panasonic’s bone-conduction headphones for the hard of hearing. He said he liked that voice-activated TV thing where you could press a button and say, “Give me a boner.” He paced the stage and took questions from the crowd.
- “Do I like watching myself in movies? Of course I do. I’m a ham.”
- “Who’s the best actor I’ve worked with? Myself. You know how many actors it takes to screw in a light bulb? One – he holds on to the light bulb and the world revolves around him.”
- “My current celebrity crush? I gotta be careful, you know. Gee, there are so many guys out there that I’d … I don’t know. It’s hard to tell.” (Big laughs.)
- “Brad Pitt gets all my parts.” He said he’s getting reading to film another season of the FX comedy “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”
Bill Clinton pleads for gun control legislation
He also reminisced about how far the Internet and mobile phones have come since he was in office and talked about how cellphones have had a life-changing impact in developing countries.
Clinton spoke without a teleprompter, but since he’s a career politician and professional speaker now it’s not a surprise that’s he’s so good at it.
He saved the bulk of his speech to discuss challenges that face the country and the world, specifically the “vast chasms of inequality in education, health care, access to capital (and) access to jobs that pay a decent living.”
He touched on the “looming crisis of climate change.”
But he got the most applause for his support for an assault weapons ban following the school massacre in Newtown, Conn.
“Look in the United States at this raging debate we’re about to have over our absolutely unjustifiable neglect of gun safety. I signed the assault weapons ban, which limited these ammunition clips to 10 bullets, back in 1995 and it led to a massacre of the members of Congress who voted for it. The gun lobby beat the speaker of the House, they beat the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, who was one of the most distinguished members of Congress, and any number of other members by terrifying people who lived mostly in smaller towns in rural America that we were coming to get their guns. An enormous amount of the money that they get comes from gun manufacturers. Why does anybody need a 30-round clip for a gun? Why does anyone need one of those things that carries 100 bullets? Half of all mass killings (ever) in the United States have occurred since the assault weapons ban expired in 2005. I grew up in a hunting culture, but this is nuts.”Photos:
Will.i.am speaks at CES 2013 (Patrick Seitz photo);
Close-up of Will.i.am’s crazy shoes (Patrick Seitz photo);
Danny DeVito speaks at the Panasonic booth (Patrick Seitz photo);
Bill Clinton speaks at the Samsung keynote (CEA photo).