Nvidia held its GTC event last week, and of the virtual keynotes I’ve seen so far, CEO Jensen Huang’s was the best. That’s because the company made the decision to cut it into segments, mostly under 16 minutes, so viewers didn’t have to watch things they weren’t interested in.

Also, Jensen mixed up the content between the speaker, videos and static images, so it was interesting to watch. Nvidia used its technology during the pitch rather than just talking about it.

Its presenters also used the format of summarizing what they were going to say, saying it, and then summarizing what they said. That approach helped people retain the content better, while inviting the audience to take a quick look at some of the segments that might not have interested them at the outset.

What I found most fascinating were several things that likely will revolutionize the world we’ll be living in during and after (if there ever is an after), the COVID-19 pandemic. I’ll focus on those things and then close with my product of the week: the new Dell XPS 17, which may now be the perfect work-at-home laptop computer (and it uses Nvidia technology).

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1. RTX and Omniverse

I’ve been watching Amazon’s new dark science-fiction comedy Upload over the last few days, and it is a fascinating show, not least due to its depiction of the practical issues of having to live in a virtual world.

Given the number of companies working on being able to upload a person to a digital existence, there is little doubt that this eventually will be a path to immortality for some of us. Still, we need far better real-time graphics performance long before we get to the point where we can create a virtual world that is realistic enough.

With Omniverse and RTX, Nvidia showcased a level of realism that we now are only beginning to see, which eventually could be a foundational element of that future virtual world. The combined technologies not only create high-quality images that look like real images, but also help coordinate the creation effort among those working on those images.

The results initially will enhance games and simulations. Eventually, they will be used to improve video conferences (active backgrounds), video programming, and other creative endeavors that will blend the real with the virtual in a seamless fashion.

2. Recommender Systems

Recommender system technologies occupy a critical area of AI interaction that remains underserved against its potential. When you watch a movie on Netflix, the service uses a recommender system to suggest what you should watch next. It’s the same when you buy a product on Amazon. These systems look at what you are viewing or buying and suggest — in my opinion very poorly — something else that might be of interest.

The issue with current systems is that they don’t seem to know that much about you, and their in-depth knowledge of what you just bought or considered is sparse. As a result, their recommendations can be significantly off the mark.

However, when they work, they do drive sales, and Nvidia showcased its far more advanced Merlin system. If fed more complete data, it could lead to a dramatic spike in the conversion rates of potential buyers to actual purchasers.

This advancement not only would ensure you bought the best product for you, but also would improve sales for the firms using these new enhanced recommendation engines.

3. Conversational AI

When Microsoft first brought out Cortana as a personal assistant, I thought it was going to create something like this. I believe personal assistants should be rendered, particularly given that we increasingly have underused screens on the related devices. Granted, I’m not convinced I want to see what a “Google” looks like, but Siri and Cortana should be hot.

Nvidia showcased what I imagined, and while the core technology was labor-intensive, using it wouldn’t be. The result would be far more intelligent as well, and this goes beyond just the use of consistent facial expressions and approaches the ability to have real conversations with the device.

Now I’ve used some of the beta products that Amazon has showcased, and they are getting better. Yet the Nvidia Jarvis platform goes further still. It finally may result in a digital assistant that isn’t just a voice interface into Google search. Some of the other technologies showcased at the event, like Merlin, could turn it into something far more useful and realistic.

A lot of us need something to interact with so we don’t feel like the last living cell in a dead body as we quarantine at home, so this also could be extremely timely.

One thought on “4 Amazing Things Nvidia Showcased at Its Virtual GTC”
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