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Presenting the Best of CES 2021 Finalists

January 13, 2021 15+ min read
This story originally appeared on Engadget
We’ll admit, we weren’t entirely sure what to expect when we agreed to judge the annual Best of CES Awards without an in-person show. How many companies would show up to an online-only show? What would we lose without being able to wander the halls of a massive convention center and see the products up close? As it turns out, we needn’t have worried. More than 1,900 brands, big and small, turned up this year, according to the Consumer Technology Association, the industry group that organizes the show each year. What’s more, many companies found socially distant ways to show us their latest and greatest in person, ahead of the show. (That’s especially useful for the TV category, wouldn’t you say?)
In the end, we had enough fodder for 14 categories covering hardware and services in every sector from home theater to transportation to accessibility tech. We’ll announce the winners tomorrow at 4:30pm ET during a ceremony on our virtual stage, which we’ll livestream to and our YouTube channel. We’re also continuing tradition and opening up voting for our People’s Choice Award — our reader poll is live now and closes tomorrow, ahead of the ceremony. Please be sure to vote, and congrats to all of the finalists! — Dana Wollman, Engadget Editor-in-Chief
Best Accessibility Tech
Wearable Devices Ltd. Mudra Band

Wearable Devices Ltd.
The technology underpinning the Mudra Band might seem fanciful: sensors capture neural electrical impulses in the wrist and map them onto specific movements like a swipe or a tap, essentially letting you control an Apple Watch with subtle finger movements on one hand. There’s no doubt the benefit of convenience — you can operate your watch when your hands are wet or dirty, for instance. But some of the most interesting implications of this technology might relate to accessibility, like helping amputees use their devices. The band connects to the Apple Watch via Bluetooth, making it a simple integration with compelling possibilities. — Chris Ip, Features Editor
GoodMaps Explore (presented by American Printing House for the Blind)

GoodMaps Explore is a navigation tool that’s all about the next step. Designed for people who are visually impaired or blind, the app delivers detailed directional information through a combination of text and clear, responsive voice commands. Hold up your phone and the app will identify nearby businesses, streets and points of interest, adapting as you move and reading out cardinal directions along the way. The team has begun mapping the inside of buildings using LiDAR as well, and plans to bring the GoodMaps Explore technology to more indoor spaces over time. GoodMaps and the American Printing House have partnered on the app, which is now available on Android after initially launching on iOS. — Jessica Conditt, Senior Editor
Samsung Bot Handy

Samsung’s CES 2021 presentation showcased a desk-bound woman in a leg cast, assisted only by her robot, Bot Handy. With an extendable gripper arm, the robot could load the dishwasher, pour a drink, and perform other delicate household tasks. The demo is just that: an illustration of how Samsung’s AI can identify and physically handle objects of different shapes and fragility. But it’s easy to imagine that some of the most meaningful applications of this technology could be in assisting people with physical disabilities. — C.I.
Best Digital Health and Fitness Product 
Omron VitalSight

Over the last 10 months, leaving the house and entering hospitals has become especially fraught for those whose health is most vulnerable, while doctors have faced challenges diagnosing patients remotely, without their equipment. Omron’s VitalSight service includes a connected blood pressure monitor that links directly with patients’ physicians, so healthcare professionals can monitor for signs of trouble without requiring regular in-person checkups. Omron already has a reputation for making top smart blood pressure monitors, but VitalSight happens to be ideal for pandemic-era telehealth. — C.I.
Wondercise Live Motion Matching System

Wondercise is one of many on-demand fitness services available right now, but it’s more focused on form than anything else. The company brought Apple Watch integration to its service at the end of last year, and for CES, it’s introducing arm and leg bands as part of its new “multi-point motion matching system.” These sensor-laden straps work with your smartwatch of choice (be it the Apple Watch, a Garmin device or the company’s own band) to track real-time movements and compare them to those of an on-screen instructor. A score indicating how well you’re mirroring the trainer’s movements shows up on the video, so you know immediately if you need to adjust. On top of that, the IMU sensors track heart rate and cardio burn, and the battery is rated for at least seven days on a charge. — Valentina Palladino, Commerce Editor
Quantum Operation Non-invasive Blood Glucometer

Quantum Operation Inc.
When you’re unable to see a product in person, it can be hard to be sure if the device can deliver on its promises. But if Quantum Operation has managed to solve the problem of non-invasive glucose monitoring, then its new wearable will become a must-have for diabetics the world over. One in 10 Americans have diabetes and a continuous blood sugar monitor that doesn’t require a finger-prick test would be a huge deal. It may also help the rest of us better manage our sugar intake if — and it’s a big if — the technology is as effective as its creators claim. — Daniel Cooper, Senior Editor
ArcX Smart Ring

When you’re out running, cycling or on the water, the last thing you want to do is to fiddle with your device while in motion. After all, breaking your run to touch your smartwatch to set a lap could knock precious seconds off your time. That’s why ArcX’s wearable joystick, which sits on your finger and can be controlled by your thumb, is such an ingenious solution. The Bluetooth remote lets you control your phone or watch from your clenched fist, making for an elegant — and possibly safer — user experience. — D.C.
Best Wearable
Wearable Devices Ltd. Mudra Band

Wearable Devices Ltd.
The $179 Mudra band from Wearable Devices brings gesture control to the Apple Watch, but it’s not just for early adopters. The band, which attaches like any other Apple Watch strap and connects to the wearable via Bluetooth LE, has a sensor inside that detects electrical signals sent by your brain to your fingers. It then uses a deep-learning algorithm to analyze those signals and map them to finger motions you’d use on the Watch’s touchscreen to open apps, type out a short text and more. This is not only an intriguing new way to interact with your Apple Watch, but it could also be useful for those with certain disabilities: The company already built a proof of concept that allows ALS patients to type on a virtual keyboard. — V.P.
TCL Wearable Display

After years of showing its prototype at various tradeshows, TCL is finally ready to share some launch details about its heads-up display. Simply called the TCL Wearable Display for now, the headset stands out for its simplicity. It has two Full HD OLED screens that create a 140-degree field of view… and that’s it. There’s no battery onboard or chunky arms for processors (although a small onboard chip powers the displays). Just connect the device to your phone, laptop or tablet via USB-C to project your media to the glasses. Because it’s so simple, the Wearable Display is one of the lightest and smallest headsets of its kind that we’ve seen. While we wait for details on pricing, availability and the types of content that will be supported at launch, it’s encouraging to see TCL is close to bringing the device to the masses. — Cherlynn Low, Reviews Editor
Earin A-3

The latest earbuds from Earin, the A-3, experiment with the sort. of open design that only a few companies have attempted in the past (most notably, Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Live). The A-3 are shaped almost like little discs with thin ovals slightly sticking out of one side. Not only are they much more discreet than standard earbuds, but they have no left or right designation so you can freely swap them between ears. The open design lets you listen to tunes while also allowing you to hear what’s going on around you. Although they don’t have active noise cancellation, the A-3 include wind noise reduction algorithms to improve the listening experience. They’re also sweat, splash and dust resistant and have up to 30 hours of battery life with the included wireless-charging case. — V.P.
Lenovo ThinkReality A3 Smart Glasses

Sure, augmented reality glasses for enterprise aren’t the most approachable product. But Lenovo’s ThinkReality A3 headset has plenty of intriguing features that might one day change the way we work. For starters, the A3 can support up to five virtual 1080p displays at once, allowing for better multitasking in augmented reality. The A3 is also less bulky than its predecessor, and offers dual fish-eye cameras for room-scale tracking in addition to an 8-megapixel camera for video calls. Though the device uses a relatively old Snapdragon XR1 processor (the XR2 came out in 2019), Lenovo is one of few companies to continue working on a HoloLens competitor. For the industries that might benefit most from a hands-free AR experience, a device like the ThinkReality A3 is a reminder that companies haven’t given up. — C.L.
Best Transportation Technology
Mercedes-Benz Hyperscreen

When Mercedes’ new EQS luxury electric SUV arrives later this year, folks may have difficulty not staring — at its monumental cabin display, that is. Measuring 56 inches across (nearly the entire width of the vehicle’s interior) the MBUX Hyperscreen will serve as an all-in-one replacement for the existing driver’s instrument cluster, navigation screen and infotainment system. It even adds a secondary “screen” on the passenger side for the rider’s convenience. This entire setup runs on its own integrated eight-core CPU with 24GB of RAM. And, unlike earlier iterations of the MBUX, the Hyperscreen has been designed with a “zero layer” aesthetic, ensuring that the most critical controls are always within arm’s reach and not buried in a byzantine menu system. — Andrew Tarantola, Senior Editor   
Volvo Penta Assisted Docking System

Most of us have probably never had to dock a boat before, much less in whipping winds or a quick moving tide. And if you’re trying to park your ride in a particularly crowded marina, you’ve probably got other boats to contend with. Two years ago, Volvo Penta (the maritime arm of Volvo) demoed a self-docking system that attempted to remove human error from the equation. Now, it’s going to become a commercial reality. The Volvo Penta Assisted Docking system is basically the same as the assisted parking feature on many high-end cars, but for boats. Using GPS and other on board sensors it can make adjustments on the fly to slide your yacht into even the tightest spots. — Terrence O’Brien, Managing Editor
Panasonic Automotive AI-enhanced AR HUD

Navigating through unfamiliar streets is challenging enough even when you’re not glancing at Google Maps on your phone or your navigation screen every few seconds. But with Panasonic’s prototype AI-powered augmented reality HUD, drivers will get exactly the information they need without taking their eyes off the road. It’s equipped with eye tracking technology to ensure that the projected 4K resolution images always remain in focus, along with AI navigation capabilities that monitor traffic around the vehicle up to three lanes away, overlaying GPS guidance while highlighting traffic hazards. — A.T.
Best Home Theater Product 
Sony 360 Reality Audio speakers (SRS-RA5000 and SRS-RA3000)

Sony UK
Two years after Sony debuted its 360 Reality Audio platform at CES 2019, the company is preparing to ship the first speakers built for this immersive sound ecosystem. The SRS-RA5000 and SRS-RA3000 are WiFi-connected wireless units that work in a similar fashion to Sonos. If the music you’re listening to isn’t in the 360 format, the speakers are equipped with an algorithm that converts the content. — Billy Steele, Senior News Editor
Samsung C-Lab EZCal

Samsung C-Lab
New TVs are capable of amazing image reproduction, but if they’re not set up correctly then all of those pixels will go to waste. Calibration setups that involve users phones have started to become common with more precise control of settings at very deep levels, but Samsung’s experimental C-Lab division proposes automating the process altogether. Your phone is capable of judging the screen’s output and ambient lighting conditions, so why not let AI do the work of setting things up while you pick out something to watch? — Richard Lawler, Senior News Editor
TCL Alto R1 soundbar

This Roku TV Ready soundbar doesn’t require you to run a cord to your TV, offering a wireless setup that keeps your living room free of another cable. All you need to do is plug in the Alto R1 and it guides you through the setup. You can also use your TV’s remote to control sound, and TCL promises better audio syncing, simple settings and automatic software updates. — B.S.
Samsung HW-Q950A Q-series soundbar

Samsung is taking things a step further on multiple fronts this year when it comes to its flagship Q-series soundbar. First, the HW-Q950A offers 11.1.4 channel surround sound with both upward- and side-firing speakers. That’s an improvement over the 9.1.4 spec on the company’s previous model, which was already the most audio channels supported in a single soundbar. Samsung also added calibration mics to the included subwoofer to better tailor the setup to your living room. Plus, all of the usual connectivity and compatibility is here: AirPlay 2, HDMI eARC Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and more. — B.S.
Best Connected Home Product
Samsung JetBot 90 AI+

Samsung’s JetBot 90 AI+ gives the humble robot vacuum some new AI-powered smarts. It combines LiDAR and 3D sensors with object-recognition algorithms to be really good at knowing what’s on your floors. For example, the device should be able to recognize small, circular objects like cereal or pet food and vacuum them up while avoiding messes it can’t properly clean up (like an accident your dog had). All these sensors help the vacuum plan the most efficient route around a room while helping it avoid fragile objects entirely. It can even lower itself under furniture if needed. These smarts don’t seem. superfluous either — they should help the vacuum better achieve its goal of keeping your home clean. — Nathan Ingraham, Deputy Managing Editor
TP-Link Deco Voice X20

TP-Link’s new Deco Voice X20 isn’t the first router that also functions as a smart speaker. But this Alexa-powered mesh networking system works with the relatively new WiFi 6 standard, giving it a leg up in speed over similar options like Google’s Nest WiFi system. TP-Link is selling them in a two-pack, which should be enough to blanket 4,000 square feet with fast WiFi 6 coverage. At the same time, you’ll have multiple smart speakers around your house right off the bat. It sounds like an ideal starter kit for improving your WiFi and getting into the Alexa game. — N.I.
LG InstaView Refrigerator with Voice Recognition

LG’s InstaView Door-in-Door refrigerators have always been some of the most high-tech on the market. The signature feature is a see-through mirrored glass panel that lights up with two quick knocks so you can take a quick peek without opening the door. This year’s model brings a few new features, most notably voice recognition. Now you can open the door just by saying “Open the refrigerator door,” which is great if you have your hands full. You can also ask for the day’s agenda or check if you’re low on ice or water. What’s more, the new fridges have UVnano tech built into the water dispenser to help reduce bacteria. — Nicole Lee, Senior Editor
Sony 360 Reality Audio speakers (SRS-RA5000 and SRS-RA3000)

Sony UK
Sony is ready to take on Sonos with the SRS-RA5000 and SRS-RA3000. They utilize Sony’s own 360 Reality Audio immersive audio platform, which impressed us back when the company first demonstrated it to us two years ago. The RA5000 houses seven total drivers while the RA3000 uses five, and are both capable of filling the room with ambient sound. These WiFi-connected speakers can be controlled with a Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa device, and you can use them as part of a multi-room audio system. — N.L.
Best Phone or Mobile Device
LG Rollable

LG has sat out the foldable smartphone craze so far, and this week we got some clues as to why that is. During the briefest of teasers at the top and bottom of its CES press conference, the company officially showed off the Rollable, a smartphone with a full-size display (instead of a too-narrow one like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2’s external screen) that unfurls to become a small tablet. For now, the Rollable is still shrouded in secrecy, but there are two things we know for sure about it. First, LG is committed to releasing it this year. And second, it’s perhaps LG’s best chance to get people excited about their phones again. — Chris Velazco, Senior Mobile Editor
Lenovo NEC Lavie Mini

Thinking of the Lenovo-made NEC Lavie Mini as just a tiny laptop is to miss the point. Yes, you could plop it on a table and send some emails, or edit documents on its 8-inch screen. That said, the president of Lenovo Japan himself told us he nurtured this concept machine because he wanted an ultraportable PC powerful enough to play his favorite flashy games, but small enough that people could hold it in both hands and peck out messages with their thumbs. The end result: a strange, charming netbook lookalike that doubles as a game console and a huge phone. Consider us intrigued. — C.V.

TCL teased its full-color paper-like NXTPAPER display last year, and now it’s arrived in an actual device: an 8.89-inch Android tablet awkwardly called the TCL NXTPAPER. The company claims that the low-power reflective LCD combines paper-like readability (in color!) with relatively high framerates. NXTPAPER can play videos at 30 frames per second, which is much better than the E Ink displays found in typical e-readers.
Until now, color e-readers have been a niche category, but the NXTPAPER combines this functionality with Android tablet features, including video playback, responsive web browsing and standalone apps. All told, it makes for a compelling package. — Mat Smith, UK Bureau Chief
TCL 20 5G

TCL made a splash at this year’s CES, and its latest phones, while not the most headline-grabbing reveal, could help the company establish itself as a mobile force to be reckoned with. The TCL 20 5G ticks a lot of the boxes you’d hope it would. There’s a big 6.67-inch display with a cut-out front camera and HDR10 support; a Snapdragon 690 processor with 5G support; and an array of cameras around back. That includes a 48-megapixel main camera, 8-megapixel ultra-wide sensor and a 2-megapixel macro camera. In Europe, the phone will retail for €299, roughly $365. Although TCL isn’t pushing the boundaries of what smartphones can do, then, the pricing here forces us to consider, once again: Do you need a thousand-dollar smartphone? — M.S.
Best TV Product

LG’s latest OLEDs don’t change up the company’s formula too much — they still have gorgeous screens with rich colors and incredibly deep black levels — but now they feature the company’s Alpha 9 Gen 4 AI processor, which promises far better image processing. The company claims it can “analyze and optimize content” and improve picture quality on a scene by scene basis. (But of course, you can always turn that off.) The C1 OLED TVs also feature LG’s Sound Pro, which can produce a virtual 5.1.2 surround sound up-mix with its built in speakers, and they run an upgraded OS, webOS 6.0. — Devindra Hardawar, Senior Editor
TCL 6-Series (8K)

Two years ago, TCL’s 6-Series Roku TV was among many good value-priced 4K options. Last year, TCL refreshed the lineup with mini LED technology that competitors are only adding just now. Now, TCL is  betting that this is the right time to switch to shift its mainstream TV to 8K. These TVs feel like they’re bringing the future to us now, and at an “accessible” price. — R.L.
Samsung Neo QLED

Every year, Samsung pushes LCD TVs to a new level of excellence, and for 2021 it’s adding mini LED backlighting to the package. That should give these TVs an advantage when it comes to contrast, with lights that are 1/40th the size of traditional tech. Samsung didn’t stop there either: For 2021 it rethought everything from the slim, bezel-less design to the more recyclable box your TV will come in. Google Duo, FreeSync Premium Pro and easy wireless connections to your PC come built in, as well as an advanced audio setup that combine with a matching soundbar for improved audio. And did we mention that the remote can charge its battery from sunlight? — R.L.
Sony Cognitive Processor XR

Perhaps more so than any other TV maker, Sony’s devotion to image processing is legendary. After all, it doesn’t matter what your display is made of if it has trouble actually rendering images. With the Cognitive Processor XR, Sony says it’s taking a step beyond “AI” image processing and closer towards the way our brains handle images. The chip gives Sony’s new Bravia XR TVs the ability to analyze a scene in real time and devote improved image quality to the sections your eyes are drawn to. It could be a face in a close-up, or the lights on a billboard as a character walks through a city. According to Sony, the Cognitive Processor XR will also be a huge help for 8K upscaling, as well as refining such a large image.  — D.H.
Best Gaming Product
Intel Tiger Lake-H laptop chips

Intel announced a number of CPUs at CES this year, but it’s Tiger Lake-H that looks set to make the biggest impact. Rather than go for all-out power or battery life, the H series strikes an interesting balance. With a relatively conservative 35W power target, the chips focus more on high clock speeds than many cores, with the 35W line maxing out at four cores but able to hit peak turbo speeds of 5GHz. Intel believes the new chips will create a new gaming laptop segment, one that’s capable of playing games at 1080p while looking more like an ultraportable. — Aaron Souppouris, Executive Editor
Razer Blade 15 with NVIDIA RTX 30 graphics

Razer’s Blade series has long been among the best laptops money can buy, mixing outrageous performance with, by gaming standards, subdued looks. This year, Razer’s updates are significant. NVIDIA’s latest RTX 30 series graphics will improve performance significantly over previous models, but it’s the display we’re most excited about: 1440p is a sweet spot for desktop PC gaming, and you’ll be able to pick up this year’s Blade with an ultra-fast 240Hz 1440p panel. — J.C.
AMD Ryzen 5000 laptop chips

AMD continued its resurgence in desktop chips last year with its 5000 series CPUs. At CES, the company announced a full lineup of CPUs based on the same Zen 3 cores for laptops. There’s all-out power from chips like the 5900H, which looks like it will keep pace with most desktop CPUs, but there’s also chips like the 5600U, which are designed for ultra-portables with long battery life and strong performance. In 2021, it seems the best laptops will leave all but the strongest desktop PCs wanting for power. — A.S.

The ASUS ROG Flow X13 is lightweight, slim and convertible, while packing enough power to run current-gen games and render art in 4K. It has an eight-core Ryzen 9 5980HS CPU and dedicated NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GPU, plus a 360-degree hinge and touchscreen. However, if you need a little more juice in the tank, the laptop also supports an external dock to expand its graphics capabilities, incorporating a GeForce RTX 3080 GPU that connects directly to the CPU. At just 13 inches wide, 15.8mm thick and 2.9 pounds, the ROG Flow X13 is ultraslim and extra sleek, inside and out. — D.C.
Most Unexpected Product
Volvo Penta Assisted Docking System

If you’ve never piloted a boat, you may think the experience is like driving a car, except with a bigger wheel. But the road doesn’t actively try and push you away from your destination the way the sea does even on a quiet day. That’s why Volvo Penta’s Assisted Docking System is so compelling, since it uses the vessel’s on-board sensors and a computer to compensate for the natural variation in the water. The only thing the pilot needs to do is point their joystick in the right direction and the computer does the rest. Sure, for now this will be the reserve of bougie yacht owners, but hopefully it’ll open up to others in the next few years. — D.C.
Samsung Solar Cell Remote

It’s ridiculous that remote controls, one of the most common devices found in the home, still use AAA batteries even though most other things have switched over to rechargeable solutions. That’s what makes Samsung’s announcement of the Solar Cell Remote such a pleasant surprise — it can be powered off outdoor and indoor light, or supplemented with USB power if it’s too dark. Best of all, you won’t have to wait too long to check one out, as they’ll be included with all of Samsung’s 2021 TVs. — Kris Naudus, Buyer’s Guide Editor
Targus 2Office Antimicrobial Backpack

“Unexpected” is such a tricky thing to define when you can find pretty much anything at CES if you look in the right corner. And while COVID-19 has been on everyone’s mind, the fact that a major luggage and accessory maker has made a product like this is still fairly surprising. The 2Office Antimicrobial Backpack has germ-killing coatings on “key touchpoints” to help cut the risk of picking up something nasty. It looks like, if this is any indication, we’re going to see companies promote how good their gear is at killing germs for years to come. — D.C.
Kohler Stillness Bath

You can outfit your home with mood lighting for movies and gaming, and now Kohler would like to see some color in your bathroom as well with its Stillness Bath. But it’s not just cool blues and soothing pinks that make this Japanese-styled tub a soothing repast, but a fog generator and even scent for that full at-home spa experience. It’s sure to cost a pretty penny, but it also may make a good alternative in a year when you can’t make it to a sauna. — K.N.
Best Sports Tech
Samsung Trainer

With just a TV and a camera, Samsung’s new Smart Trainer can help you maintain the proper form while working out. It’s a new feature of the company’s Health app, which debuted in its TVs last year. Using the help of a third-party camera (most any webcam will work), the app will tell you if your push-ups are straight enough or if you’re holding your plank properly. It even counts reps for you, which is great for the absent-minded among us. — N.L.
Wondercise Live Motion Matching System

Wondercise’s on-demand workout service has used wearables like the Apple Watch and Garmin devices to track your exercise form for a while now, but in 2021, the company has added hardware to the mix. They’re essentially IMU sensor straps that you can add to your existing wearable that promise to make arm-and-leg tracking even more accurate. You’ll see alerts on the video if your form is aligned with the trainer’s, and if it isn’t, it’ll prompt you to correct your stance. — N.L.
Best PC or Tablet
HP Elite Dragonfly Max

Setting aside HP’s ludicrous marketing claim that the original Elite Dragonfly was “lighter than air,” the company’s thin and light business laptop was truly impressive. With the new Dragonfly Max, HP expands the series and brings features like a 5-megapixel webcam and an embedded Tile tracker. That’s one of the sharpest cameras on a laptop yet, in one of the lightest notebooks around, too. As part of a growing trend, the Dragonfly Max’s screen also meets Eyesafe requirements for vision protection. It also comes with features like a mechanical webcam shutter and built-in privacy screen that should appeal to those looking to shield themselves from prying eyes. The Dragonfly Max shows that HP wasn’t just making a one-off gimmick with the original and is expanding the line thoughtfully with useful updates. — C.L.
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga

Dubbed the “thinnest ThinkPad ever” by Lenovo, the X1 Titanium measures a scant 11mm-thick and weighs just 2.5 pounds. And while it doesn’t really stray too far from the company’s ThinkPad aesthetic, it still manages to be an attractive looking notebook. As the name suggests, it relies on titanium to achieve that slim design while keeping its case sturdy. And since the X1 Titanium is a member of Lenovo’s convertible Yoga family, you’ll be able to spin its screen around in a variety of orientations. You can also look forward to a low-power 13.5-inch screen, Dolby Vision HDR, Atmos Sound and Dolby Voice to make you sound clear during conference calls. — D.H.
ASUS ZenBook Duo

ASUS ZenBook Duo 14
ASUS isn’t giving up on dual-screen PCs anytime soon. The new ZenBook Duo is proof of that. It keeps the last model’s wide 12.6-inch ScreenPad Plus, which sits right below its 14-inch main panel. But now that secondary display is brighter and angled up further when you open ZenBook Duo, making it seem as if it’s even more connected to the top screen. The higher screen angle helps to reduce glare and makes it easier to move your fingers or mouse pointer across both displays. Consider it a refinement on an already solid concept.
ASUS also bundled in some more advanced dual-screen technology too — now you can just “flick” apps between the screens, instead of dragging them. The 2021 ZenBook Duo also features Intel’s 11th generation processors, Xe graphics, an optional NVIDIA GeForce MX450, and support for up to 32GB of RAM. It’s not a gaming notebook — it’s just got enough power to play the occasional round of Overwatch while helping you multitask like a boss. — D.H.
We were unable to reveal this finalist at the moment of publishing, which meant we were forced to exclude it from the People’s Choice award.

It’s not often that an Android tablet grabs my attention at CES, but thanks to its unique display tech, the TCL NXTPAPER has me intrigued. It’s the first real product to use the company’s new LCD-based screen, which reflects light to create a paper-like experience and does away with backlighting altogether. Because of that, the company says it’s able to make devices that are much thinner and longer-lasting than before. Plus, NXTPAPER is capable of rendering full color, as well as animations and videos of up to 30 frames per second — something e-ink struggles with due to its low refresh rates. As an e-reader that also boasts Android apps and game or video playback, the TCL NXTPAPER is a fresh entrant in a fairly stale product category. — C.L.
Best Robot or Drone
Sony Airpeak AI drones

That sound? We presume it’s the thud of fist on wood from DJI headquarters. Sony, about the biggest name in consumer technology and cameras, is officially in on the drone game. The newly unveiled Airpeak platform is a business-focused aerial platform, launching this spring. The quadcopter is strong enough to carry one of the company’s Alpha mirrorless cameras yet Sony claims it’s the smallest craft to be able to do so. Sony even claims Airpeak uses AI for improved stabilization. Specific details are sparse, but it’s exciting to see a household name enter the space. — James Trew, Managing Editor
Vanguard Industries Moflin

Vanguard Industries
After quite the year, we bet you could use a hug right now. Moflin might not have the required limbs, but it’s designed to give you the same good feels and is just generally adorable, to boot. Essentially, it’s an AI, emotionally capable pet laden with sensors and connectivity options, allowing it to potentially get more capable over time. Whether you just want something responsive to stroke as you read a book, or a critter to nurture and grow with you, we can see this furry little bag of joy filling that spot perfectly. Even if just so we can watch it peacefully “sleep” (charge) in its delightful egg-shaped nest. — J.T.
Samsung Bot Handy

We can all use a hand with household chores from time to time. Samsung’s prototype domestic robot does exactly that but with a mechanical gripper. The Bot Handy uses cameras mounted on its head and extendable arm to identify the material composition of items around it — including their sizes, shapes and weights — simply by looking at them. This allows the robot to consistently use just the right amount of grip force when picking up and moving objects so it won’t crack plates when loading the dishwasher or accidentally crush your delicate stemware when pouring drinks. There’s no word on when, or even if, the Bot Handy will make it into production, but we’re keeping our grippers crossed. — A.T.
Best Sustainability Product
Samsung Upcycling at Home

It’s a notion we’ve seen before: harnessing an unwanted smartphone’s screen, mic and processor to create a single-use device like a security camera. Samsung’s Galaxy Upcycling at Home program aims to streamline that conversion process. While details are still pending, we know that Samsung will release a software update allowing users to choose what they want their old phone to become. A baby monitor and light detector for the smart home were two of the examples showcased at CES. The apps themselves may not be the breakthrough technology here — the true innovation is that Samsung is smoothing the accessibility to those functions by building them right into its phones. — C.I.
Samsung Solar Cell Remote Control

Sometimes crucial sustainability innovations are simple and small, but done at massive scale. Starting this year, Samsung TV remote controls will have solar panels built in, allowing them to recharge by both indoor and outdoor light. (There will be USB-C charging, too.) No need to cycle through rechargeable batteries or, worse, consume and throw out the single-use variety. On top of that, the remote control is made in part from upcycled plastic bottles. Given how many TVs Samsung sells each year, the net impact of this change could be significant. — C.I.
LivingPackets The Box

Living Packets
LivingPackets is developing a box. Not just any box, though: the kind that can be reused again and again. The company was nominated for an Innovation Award at CES last year. Since then, the team has developed a second-generation box with an integrated camera and sensors that measure temperature, humidity, pressure and other factors that could affect the goods inside. It also has an E Ink display, which can be used to display human and machine-readable shipping labels.
The team says that the revamped Box is rolling off the production line right now. It also used the show to announce a pilot program with Boulanger, a major electronics retailer in France. The Box could reduce our reliance on cardboard. It’s always been a problem, but the ongoing coronavirus pandemic —which has forced many to shift their shopping away from bricks-and-mortar stores — has brought it into sharper focus. If enough retailers jump on board, LivingPackets could help society move away from boxes that are often thrown out after a single use. — Nick Summers, Senior Editor

Lasso wants to radically change how the world recycles. The startup is working on a stylish appliance that accepts seven types of material, including glass, plastic and aluminum. You submit materials and a series of cameras and sensors figures out whether they’re recyclable. Approved items are then cleaned, ground down and organized into neat little boxes. Once your Lasso is full, you’ll be able to open a smartphone app and schedule a curbside collection. Because the materials have already been processed, they can skip the recycling center and go straight to companies that have the expertise to turn them into brand new products.
The team behind Lasso is working on a prototype that should be completed this quarter. It will then move into a pilot phase, which will inform the final design. Despite this timeline, we’re excited by the concept and the impact it could have on our environment. Everyone wants to recycle, but too much ends up in a landfill. That’s because the rules surrounding what you can recycle vary from place to place. Sometimes materials are contaminated, too, because they contain leftover food or have been mixed in with non-recyclable materials. Lasso could solve these issues, reduce our reliance on recycling centers and make the world a greener place. — N.S.

How Success Happened for Alexia Brue with Well+Good

Alexia Brue seized her opportunitity as an entrepreneur during the financial crisis back in 2008-2009. Expect more entreprenuers to flourish after our current pandemic.
Entrepreneur’s New Year’s Guide
Let the business resources in our guide inspire you and help you achieve your goals in 2021.

January 13, 2021 3 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
In 2009 Alexia Brue launched what has become a wellness media powerhouse, Well+Good. She and her business partner, Melisse Gelula, started the media company during the financial crisis of 2009, a time when “wellness” was not yet in our daily lexicon, Peloton didn’t exist, and we never could have imagined that we’d live in athleisure. Alexia was working in print journalism at the time and saw that after the 2008 crisis, the media business was structurally changing. Print publications were shuttering and shrinking, while the barrier to entry for launching a digital site was getting lower. 
Alexia and Melisse had a passion and a unique point of view around wellness that they believed would resonate with others; and they saw white space in the market for information and resources on the emerging trends in nutrition, fitness, beauty, and self-care. Alexia and Melisse started the nascent media company while keeping their day jobs, and after about nine months felt they had enough momentum and traction to go all in, and they never looked back. What set Well+Good apart from traditional women’s fitness magazines was that they talked about fitness and wellness from a place of greater empowerment and positivity: you wouldn’t find anything about “blasting belly fat” on Well+Good. Instead, Well+Good chose to focus on the more community-minded, holistic, and inspiring lifestyle aspects of living a well life—inside and out.  Without raising any outside capital, Alexia bootstrapped the launch and growth of Well+Good,eventually growing the company to reach millions of wellness-conscious readers monthly. The brand grew alongside the boutique fitness boom and the clean beauty and clean eating movements, which led to the start of Well+Good’s event business. What began as meetups at local fitness studios has evolved into monthly panels, 4-day wellness retreats at Miraval, and since COVID-19, digital panels and retreats that allow Well+Good to reach a wider audience than ever before. They also published the Well+Good Cookbook (Random House) which features the easy go-to recipes of nearly 100 wellness experts and influencers. 
Related: How Success Happened For Ethan Brown, Founder of Beyond Meat
In 2018, Alexia and Melisse sold the company to Leaf Group (NYSE: LEAF), allowing them to launch more capital-intensive initiatives, such as a thriving video channel, and bigger content programs including their annual Well+Good Trends Report and their January reset program called Re(New) Year. As Alexia’s day-to-day involvement at Well+Good lessens, she’s gotten to focus on investing in and advising innovative consumer-facing wellness brands, including Otamot, Bubble, and Ace of Air. She also enjoys serving on the board of Wellness in the Schools, a non-profit that brings experiential nutrition and fitness education into over 200 schools, and The Global Wellness Institute. 
Related: How Success Happened For Former NFL Player Justin Forsett
As for the post-pandemic future of wellness, Alexia believes the newer digital components (e.g. telehealth and digital fitness) will continue their exponential growth, while the in-person retail businesses will come roaring back as soon as it’s safe to do so.  Just like in 2009, look out for many new wellness innovations and opportunities to come from this time of crisis—and watch as Well+Good reports on them along the way.

Uber and Moderna seek alliance to facilitate vaccination against the coronavirus

The private transport app would offer information about the immunizing drug and help to schedule trips to go to the vaccine application appointments.
Entrepreneur’s New Year’s Guide
Let the business resources in our guide inspire you and help you achieve your goals in 2021.

January 13, 2021 3 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

On Tuesday, Uber announced that it will partner with Modern Pharma to “support adoption” of COVID-19 vaccines. The idea would be to provide information about the immunizer to users of the application and help them to schedule appointments for inoculation.
Through a message, sent from the application in the United States, Uber explained that with this initiative they hope to expand the program to its more than 78 million monthly users.
“The effort may also include working with public health officials to incorporate travel scheduling into the reservation process and sending text reminders for appointments,” the statement read.
It should be remembered that since December, the private transport app offers free or discounted trips to the vaccination points.

Today, we’re committing 10 million rides to make it easier for people to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Because needing a ride shouldn’t be a barrier.#MoveWhatMatters
– Uber (@Uber) December 17, 2020
So far, 9.27 million people have been vaccinated in the United States. That amount corresponds to only 36% of vaccines already distributed in the states, Bloomberg reported.
The first to access the inoculation were the members of the health personnel in the hospitals. In a second phase, it is planned to extend vaccination to people over 65 years of age and immunocompromised patients.
Authorities have faced two major complications in implementing mass vaccination. On the one hand there is the difficulty to access certain areas, and on the other, the resistance of many to receive the immunizing drug.
“Bringing the vaccine to those settings and convincing people to get vaccinated remains a challenge. More than two-thirds of Americans now say they intend to get vaccinated, an increase from September, when a Gallup poll found that number to be just 50%, ” explains Bloomberg.
One of the first strategies to distribute the anticovid vaccines was to apply them in the Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies . The company says that “90% of the American population lives within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of a Walmart,” so they are a great option to cover more territory quickly.
This week it was announced that Disneyland will reopen its doors to function as a mass vaccination center . The amusement park, located in Anaheim, California, will be one of the five major vaccine dispensing points, called ‘super POD’.

The Startup Shortcut That Accelerates Your Growth and Turns Customers Into Fans

January 13, 2021 4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Every choice has a cost. 
Startups know this better than anyone. Choosing to bring your product to market quickly will limit the number of features you can include. Choosing to build the best, most comprehensive product on the market will take more time. It’s a constantly shifting balancing act of technology, opportunity, and delivering value to customers.  
But there’s a way to maximize all three, to seize opportunities by getting more done in less time without building out your team. It’s as close as you’ll ever get to a shortcut. 
It’s a technology partner. Joining forces with a like-minded partner can make 1+1=3 and ignite your growth. Especially for startups in a new market, partners can help build and maintain competitive momentum. 
Partnerships have helped fuel both of my startups, but one recent example shows the value of a technology partner and presents a strategy for finding one for your own company that can help you leap ahead in your growth. 
How to find the right technology partner
Finding the perfect match isn’t always simple. Don’t assume you can identify the “right” tech, team, and values for your partnership from the outset. Instead, audit your needs, your goals, and the things you can’t compromise on. That way, you know what the right partner looks like. 
When customers asked us to add a new security feature to our platform, we followed these steps: 
1. List out the technology you need and why
Maybe you need more comprehensive mobile features, want to add new tools to streamline internal processes, or see an opportunity to expand your product to new areas. All of these help narrow your search for a partner. 
Define the goal of the integration, and describe the functionality of each new feature, keeping the user experience in mind. Map out the project workflow and milestones. Recruit your development team to meet exactly what’s required. 
We started with a goal of adding several security features and functions that our customers were asking for. That quickly sharpened our focus. Our company’s developers went to work mapping out where and how these features would fit into our platform, and our search for a partner that could help make it a reality began.
Related: How to Gradually Infuse Tech Into Your Non-tech Startup
2. Vet the team
Technology is important, but so is the team that will deliver it. You need to know who comprises the team, what knowledge they possess, and how they operate — in that order. 
While it might be obvious, start by looking for a team with industry expertise. A successful partner needs to be aware of your compliance requirements, end-user preferences, and industry terminology. From there, evaluate what a relationship would look like with this partner. You’ll be working hand-in-hand with them often. Open, anytime communication is critical.
For us, communication was key in our recent search. We eliminated many potential partners simply because they had a bureaucratic way of communicating. If problems arose, how long would it take them to respond? That’s a risk we weren’t willing to take.
Related: 5 Types of Technology That All Entrepreneurs Need Access to in the Digital Age 
3. Don’t compromise your vision
Your culture and organizational goals can be a litmus test for any partner. But it can also serve as a blueprint for conflict resolution or realignment, if necessary. 
You’ll need a hard and soft vision. Define the timeline and metrics and milestones of the integration project, but also describe the goal the partnership achieves and how each partner will see value. 
We ultimately narrowed our choice down to two suitable partners. Both checked all the boxes in terms of technology and team. But only one had a vision that was as user-centric as ours. We knew they’d be accountable and work hard to make their tech work seamlessly with ours. In the end, this cultural fit was a key factor in our decision.
Related: How to Choose the Right Tech For Your Startup
The point of partnership
After following these steps, we found a partner that meshed seamlessly as an extension of our team. We got the new feature in place faster than we could have in house, and customers were happy not only to have what they wanted, but that we delivered it so quickly. 
Every startup has to make choices that inevitably require tradeoffs. But by choosing the right partner, you not only minimize tradeoffs and maximize value, you can also accelerate your growth and turn customers into fans.  

As the SEC Launches Crypto Office, Blockchain Security Brings Out Its Big Guns

January 13, 2021 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
When they say “the love of money is the root of all evil,” it’s not just a biblical verse intended to guide impressionable children. It’s a clear reminder that wherever financial gain is possible, those with malicious intent lurk not too far behind. 
Recent events have proven there’s financial gain in cryptocurrency, if that wasn’t clear enough already. Shortly after PayPal announced it would allow its users to buy, sell, and hold cryptocurrency and Joe Biden won the U.S. presidency, Bitcoin’s price shot up to record highs, eventually breaching the $37k mark. Other cryptocurrencies followed suit. While the latter doesn’t necessarily indicate causation, Bitcoin held its highs, and Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency, boomed after the president-elect appointed cryptocurrency-savvy Gary Gensler to lead his financial policy transition team.
And the icing on the cake? The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced earlier this month the launch of a new standalone office dedicated solely to blockchain and digital assets to keep up with the technological advancements.
Related: How to Buy, Sell and Keep Track of Bitcoin
These are only the latest developments, as institutional investors put their money in crypto and digital assets exchanges sprout all over the world. Now that these novel assets are joining the big leagues, so must the security protocols entrusted to protect everyone’s money. And the security heavyweights are bringing out the big guns. 
In early December, cyber startup GK8 brought its high-security vault for digital assets to the Spain-based Prosegur, one of the world’s largest custodians in the field of physical security for traditional banks. The vault will power Prosegur’s new service for custody and management of digital assets, representing the first time a cash-management company enters the digital asset space and offers custody of cryptocurrency. 
Blockchain is secure, but digital assets can be stolen
For those less acquainted with the cryptocurrency industry, this development raises several questions. Firstly, if blockchain is so secure, why does one need an ultra-secure vault to store it? Secondly, isn’t cryptocurrency digital? Why the need for physical armor? 
Cryptocurrency is known, especially by industry outsiders and average people, as an inherently secure currency because it is powered by blockchain technology, a notoriously secure framework for record-keeping on an online ledger. While that’s not wrong, there are blind spots and weaknesses that hackers can, and do, exploit. According to blockchain analytics firm CipherTrace, malicious hackers have amassed $1.36 billion in stolen crypto through the first five months of 2020 alone. That heist puts 2020 on a fast track to become the second-costliest year in crypto history, behind 2019’s record $4.5 billion.
Most often, hackers reach the cryptocurrency by attacking the endpoints using wallets to create and sign transactions before they are sent to the blockchain. To hack the blockchain itself, they have to gain control of more than half of the network’s computing power and rewrite the transaction history—a challenging, though not impossible, task. It has happened in the past, perhaps most notably when Ethereum Classic (ETC), one of the cryptocurrencies people can buy and sell on Coinbase’s popular exchange platform, was attacked in this manner. Almost $1.1 million in crypto was stolen.
Related: 5 Crypto Investment Mistakes You Should Avoid in 2021 
Why a physical wallet for digital assets?
However, the wallets and vaults where the cryptocurrency is stored are the targets, not the blockchain itself. This ties into the second question posed above, regarding crypto being stored in a physical wallet. It’s true people buying Bitcoin, XRP and the like often store their currencies in digital wallets, but often the most secure wallets are physical, “cold” wallets that aren’t connected to the internet, such as the famous Trezor. The hardware wallet has earned itself quite the reputation among crypto enthusiasts for its top-notch security, with reviews such as the one published in Coindesk in the early days of the walled titled “Bitcoin ‘Vault’ Trezor Lives Up to its Name.” 
Related: 5 Types of Cryptocurrency Entrepreneurs Should Know About
Such wallets are almost—but not fully—impossible to hack. The weak point is that they connect to the internet when executing transactions, and that’s when hackers can theoretically strike. For individual use, wallets like the Trezor and the Ledger Nano X are the crème de la crème, consistently appearing in top hardware wallet lists across the web. However, Custodial use requires a different level of security, known as a vault, rather than a wallet.
GK8’s institutional-grade vault being implemented by Prosegur takes the “cold” aspect a step further, letting institutions transact on the blockchain while being totally offline. The vault accomplishes this feat through patented cryptography that enables it to create, sign and send blockchain transactions through a unidirectional connection without receiving any digital input that can include malicious code.
“Prosegur built its business around cash management and physical security services, and wanted to expand into digital-asset custody and get a foothold in the exploding crypto-economy,” GK8 CEO and Co-Founder Lior Lamesh said. “Custody of cash, gold, jewelry and physical assets requires very different security measures than crypto custody. With our cyber expertise and end-to-end platform, we enabled Prosegur to accomplish this transformation while adhering to the highest security standards.”
The development of high-security digital-assets storage marks the next step in the natural evolution of cryptocurrency, as much of the premise behind Bitcoin, the world’s first cryptocurrency, centered around the privacy and security inherent in blockchain. We can expect hackers to up the ante and security experts to continue to respond in the future. Hopefully, the good guys stay ahead of the game.

Second Round of PPP Loans Now Available

The second round of PPP funding has begun. Call it PPP2, if you will.
And some banks started taking applications for the Paycheck Protection Program on January 11. The second round of PPP funding includes $284 billion, and $60 million of that is for businesses that didn’t get a loan the first time.
PPP is a forgivable that’s designed to help struggling small businesses keep employees on their payroll through the coronavirus pandemic. If a borrowing small business spends the money it gets through a PPP loan, it doesn’t have to be paid back to the bank.
Millions of small businesses across the U.S. applied for and got loans during an initial round of funding in 2020, toward the start of the COVID pandemic.
While the program was largely celebrated for offering some financial help to small businesses suddenly closed due to virus mitigation efforts implemented by federal, state and local governments, there were some instances of fraud which are still being investigated and uncovered.
This second round of PPP loans was approved as part of the recent pandemic stimulus bill passed through Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump.

Second Round of PPP Loans Going to Small Businesses Now
Community Financial Institutions (CFIs) will be the first lenders to accept applications. CFIs include Community Development Financial Institutions, Minority Depository Institutions, Certified Development Companies and Microloan Intermediaries.
Only about 10% of PPP loans came through CFIs during the first round. And the applications will only be exclusive to CFIs for a short time. In a few days, other lenders will offer the second-round loans.
CFIs First to Handle Loan Apps
Why the roll out to CFIs first? To promote access to capital for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that only community financial institutions will be able to make First Draw PPP Loans on Monday, January 11, and Second Draw PPP Loans on Wednesday, January 13.  The PPP will open to all participating lenders shortly thereafter.
This round of the PPP continues to prioritize millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $284 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses through March 31, 2021, and by allowing certain existing PPP borrowers to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan.
How to Qualify
You have to prove a 25% drop in gross receipts revenue. Gross receipts include sales of products and services, interest, dividends, rents, royalties, fees or commissions.
Need to know fact – your gross receipts DO NOT include the amount of a first-round PPP loan.
Proving the 25% drop in revenue is easier this time around. You can verify the loss using annual tax returns. You can compare 2019 to 2020.
If you haven’t completed the 2020 annual return, you can compare quarterly reports from matching time periods in 2019 and 2020.
Did you use 2019 figures to get a first round PPP loan? If so, you can use the same figures to apply for a second draw, if you go to the same lender and the loan amount is less than $150,000.
If the loan amount is more than $150,000, you’ll need to supply quarterly financial or tax statements from 2020.
If you got a loan in the first round, can you get a loan in the second round? Yes, if you have or will use the full amount, have fewer than 300 employees and can proved that 25% reduction in gross receipts.
Adjusted Timing for Calculating Average Monthly Payroll
You can calculate average monthly payroll using any 365-day period, as long as that period begins after January 1, 2019. In other words, you can use February 1, 2019 to February 1, 2020.
The maximum amount of the loan you can get will be equal to 2 ½ months of your average payroll costs, or $2 million dollars – whichever amount is lower.
What’s New with PPP2?
Here are some changes to the Paycheck Protection Program for the second round of loans:
PPP borrowers can set their PPP loan’s covered period to be any length between 8 and 24 weeks.
PPP loans will cover additional expenses, including operations expenditures, property damage costs, supplier costs, and worker protection expenditures.
The Program’s eligibility is expanded to include 501c6 organizations, housing cooperatives, and destination marketing organizations, among others.
PPP2 provides greater flexibility for seasonal employees.
Certain existing PPP borrowers can request to modify their First Draw PPP Loan amount; and
Certain existing PPP borrowers are now eligible to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan.
Do You Qualify?
You won’t qualify for a loan if:
You haven’t spent all the money from the first PPP loan on eligible expenses.
Your business is in bankruptcy.
Your business was delinquent on a loan from the SBA or any other federal agency during the past 7 years.

How to Leverage Personal Videos to Build Relationships with Customers

The founder of a software platform for sending personal videos to sales leads talks about the importance of business-customer relationships.
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January 13, 2021 1 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Matt Barnett is the founder of Bonjoro, a tool for sending personal videos to customers. In this clip from an episode of “The Startup Story” podcast, Barnett talks about leveraging video for customer satisfaction, onboarding and sales cycles to increase revenue.
Listen to the complete interview on this episode of “The Startup Story.”
Barnett unpacks the value proposition of video as a tool for building relationships with potential customers and how to leverage a video solution at scale for ecommerce. He also talks about how Bonjoro works for businesses, including step-by-step instructions for using the platform.
Related: How to Acquire Your First 100 Customers

Humans won't be able to control artificial intelligence, scientists warn

Some smart robots can perform complex tasks on their own, without the programmers understanding how they learned them.
Entrepreneur’s New Year’s Guide
Let the business resources in our guide inspire you and help you achieve your goals in 2021.

January 13, 2021 3 min read

This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

The most recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have raised several ethical dilemmas. Perhaps one of the most important is whether humanity will be able to control autonomous machines.
It is becoming more and more common to see robots in charge of housework or self-driving vehicles (such as Amazon’s ), which are powered by AI. While this type of technology makes life easier, it could also complicate it.
An international group of researchers warned of the potential risks of creating overly powerful and standalone software. Using a series of theoretical calculations, the scientists explored how artificial intelligence could be kept in check. His conclusion is that it would be impossible, according to the study published by the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research portal.
“A super-intelligent machine that controls the world sounds like science fiction. But there are already machines that carry out certain important tasks independently without the programmers fully understanding how they learned it […], a situation that could at some point become uncontrollable and dangerous for humanity, ” said Manuel Cebrian, co-author of the study, to the Max Planck Institute for Human Development .
[embedded content]
The scientists experimented with two ways to control artificial intelligence. One was to isolate her from the Internet and other devices, limiting her contact with the outside world. The problem is, that would greatly reduce its ability to perform the functions for which it was created.
The other was to design a “theoretical containment algorithm” to ensure that an artificial intelligence “cannot harm people under any circumstances.” However, an analysis of the current computing paradigm showed that no such algorithm can be created.
“If we decompose the problem into basic rules of theoretical computing, it turns out that an algorithm that instructed an AI not to destroy the world could inadvertently stop its own operations. If this happened, we would not know if the containment algorithm would continue to analyze the threat, or if it would have stopped to contain the harmful AI. In effect, this makes the containment algorithm unusable, ” explained Iyad Rahwan, another of the researchers.
Based on these calculations, the problem is that no algorithm can determine whether an AI would harm the world. The researchers also point out that humanity may not even know when superintelligent machines have arrived, because deciding whether a device possesses intelligence superior to humans is in the same realm as the containment problem.

Three Reasons Why Organizational Development is a Startup's Secret Weapon

January 13, 2021 5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The name “Philips” has long been synonymous with light bulbs. Founded in 1891, the Dutch company also developed some of the earliest radios, electric shavers, TVs, and imaging products like CT scanners and MRI systems.
As the world began to shift from incandescent bulbs to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and more efficient technologies, Philips realized it needed to adapt – fast. Its lighting division now focuses on systems and services, from corporate installations to selling wi-fi-enabled lights controlled by voice and mobile apps.
To date, Philips has dodged the fate of failed giants like Kodak, Blockbuster, Tower Records, and Pan Am by looking ahead to see a different world. Instead of doubling down on past triumphs, companies that realize they need to evolve – and have the tools, systems, and people in place to do so – enjoy a deep market advantage.
There are endless ways to think about change. It’s a huge topic for startups and global conglomerates alike. As the founder of my own startup, I want to ensure our business remains innovative and adaptable. That’s why I’m eager to learn more about Organizational Development (OD), and to share what I’ve discovered to date.
Related: Is Organizational Renewal the New Phenomena to Achieve Success?
What is OD?
Honestly, I hadn’t heard of Organizational Development until a few months ago; the phrase doesn’t exactly get your pulse racing. But this comprehensive field holds exciting possibilities.
In his classic 1969 book, Organization Development: Strategies and Models, Richard Beckhard said OD initiatives should be planned across the company, managed from the top, and increase the organization’s health and effectiveness. “OD professionals focus on enhancing organization capacity,” writes Beckhard, “through alignment of strategy, structure, management processes, people, and rewards and metrics.”
Beckhard’s definition is a mouthful, but OD is essentially the art and science of change – ensuring people and systems can adapt, innovate, and embrace constant transformation. While employee training and development is often an ad-hoc process, for example, OD flows directly from a company’s core goals.
OD initiatives might include hiring a sustainability consultant, hosting a learning session on personality types in the workplace, enrolling employees in technical classes, or anything else that strengthens a company from the inside out.  
Why it matters
Developing skilled, engaged staff and efficient systems is always a good business strategy. However, the benefits don’t end there. Here are three reasons to consider a structured OD program for your company.
1. It boosts emotional intelligence
Both people and companies can have emotional intelligence – and it’s critical for a healthy work culture. Emotionally intelligent companies help their employees develop skills and become better, more productive people. “The best companies have mentoring programs or their equivalent, where new employees learn from more senior ones,” writes leadership consultant Judith Humphrey. “More broadly, talent development should be embedded in the organizational DNA.”
Related: How can an Organization Become Sustainable?
At JotForm, our New Grad program pairs inexperienced employees with seasoned designers, developers, or other professionals. Brand-new staff members serve as “co-pilots” for senior employees, or work on dedicated projects and receive regular feedback. We also bring in external mentors to stretch our skills in areas like data science and marketing.
2. You’ll attract and retain upcoming talent
Millennials and Gen Z currently comprise 38% of the U.S. workforce – a number that’s expected to reach 58% over the next decade. Experts say young workers expect more frequent and formal professional development from their employers than previous generations. “They believe that training should be focused, customized, and directed toward their career advancement and personal development,” authors Robert Cummings, Sheila Grice, and Nicole Modzelewski write in Fast Company.  
The authors say millennials also prefer hands-on learning. They want to solve real problems and respond best to interactive training, rather than traditional, top-down instruction. At our company, we ask new hires to release a product update on their very first day. The update can be tiny, but the challenge underscores personal agency; everyone is empowered to act decisively and implement their ideas.  
3. OD can reinforce your purpose
Knowing why you’re in business – beyond making profits – is essential for both success and satisfaction. Purpose clarifies tough decisions. It also filters everything from marketing messages to hiring. As you develop a cohesive OD program, purpose is the guiding light; it determines what your company needs to effectively navigate change.
Weaving your WHY into learning, development, training, and onboarding will ensure your company pursues the right opportunities, and it encourages teams to connect the dots between their day-to-day activities and the company’s vision.
For decades, everyone from academics to psychologists viewed work as a transactional experience. They believed employees simply traded their time for financial compensation and benefits. Not only do we know, implicitly, that this relationship is far more complex, but research shows that most people crave meaning in their work.
“Conventional economic logic tends to rely on external motivators,” professors Anjan V. Thakor and Robert E. Quinn write in Harvard Business Review. “As leaders embrace higher purpose, however, they recognize that learning and development are powerful incentives. Employees actually want to think, learn, and grow.”
In addition to a formalized OD program, look for the people who naturally spread ideas, while encouraging others to embrace new possibilities. “Every organization has a pool of change agents that usually goes untapped,” say Thakor and Quinn. “We refer to this pool as the network of positive energizers.” Harness this important group, and you’ll amplify your company’s ability to manage, and even maximize, the power of change.
Related: The Five Areas to Develop Blockchain Skills Within Your Organization

What's New on TV This Week: 'Wandavision' and 'One Night in Miami'

Also new this week: ‘Search Party,’ ‘Servant’ and a Tiger Woods documentary.
Entrepreneur’s New Year’s Guide
Let the business resources in our guide inspire you and help you achieve your goals in 2021.

January 13, 2021 3 min read
This story originally appeared on Engadget
This week the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes to Disney+, as Wandavision premieres Friday morning with two episodes available for streaming. For sports fans, while college football has wrapped up its season there are still several major NFL playoff matchups to look forward to, and improbably the Browns will be playing in one of them. Also, HBO and HBO Max are presenting the final half of a new Tiger Woods documentary, as well as season four of Search Party.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game Complete Edition is launching on several platforms this week, and The Freshman is getting a new Blu-ray release. Finally, on other streaming platforms, Apple TV+ is kicking off season two of Servant, Netflix has released an extended cut of Chris Rock’s last comedy special and Amazon will present Regina King’s directorial debut with One Night in Miami…. Look below to check out each day’s highlights, including trailers and let us know what you think (or what we missed).
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Blu-ray, video on-demand & Games

The Freshman

Minding the Gap (Criterion)

Lupin III: The First


Laurel or Hardy

Blind Fury

Five Nights at Freddy’s: Core Collection (PS4, Xbox One)

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game Complete Edition (PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One – 1/14)

MXGP 2020 (PS5 – 1/14)

Life of Fly (Switch, Xbox One – 1/14)

Jet Kave Adventure (PC, Switch, Xbox One – 1/15)


Lovestruck in the City, Netflix, 3 AM

Chris Rock Total Blackout: The Tamborine Extended Cut, Netflix, 3 AM


The Expanse, Amazon Prime, 3 AM

Everyone is Doing Great (S1), Hulu, 3 AM

The Price is Right at Night, CBS, 8 PM


The Goldbergs (winter premiere), ABC, 8 PM

Chicago Med (winter premiere), NBC, 8 PM

The Masked Dancer, Fox, 8 PM

American Housewife (winter premiere), ABC, 8:30 PM

House of Payne (season finale), BET, 9 PM

Chicago Fire (winter premiere), NBC, 9 PM

SEAL Team (winter premiere), CBS, 9 PM

Assisted Living (season finale), BET, 9:30 PM

Call Your Mother (series premiere), ABC, 9:30 PM

Chicago PD (winter premiere), NBC, 10 PM

S.W.A.T. (winter premiere), CBS, 10 PM

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (season premiere), TBS, 10:30 PM


Search Party (season premiere), HBO Max, 3 AM

American Gangster: Trap Queens (season premiere), BET+, 3 AM

The Event (series premiere), HBO Max, 3 AM

Locked Down, HBO Max, 3 AM

The Heartbreak Club, Netflix, 3 AM

The Stand, CBS All Access, 3 AM

Sesame Street, HBO Max, 3 AM

UFO Witness (series premiere), Discovery+, 3 AM

76ers/Heat, TNT, 7:30 PM

Warriors/Nuggets, TNT, 10 PM

Battlebots, Discovery, 8 PM

Mr. Mayor, NBC, 8 PM

Superstore (winter premiere), NBC, 8:30 PM

Call Me Kat, Fox, 9 PM

The Chase, ABC, 9 PM

Law & Order: SVU, NBC, 9 PM

The Hustler, ABC, 10 PM


Wandavision (series premiere), Disney+, 3 AM

Endlings (S2), Hulu, 3 AM

Servant (season premiere), Apple TV+, 3 AM

Tandav (series premiere), Amazon Prime, 3 AM

Dickinson, Apple TV+, 3 AM

Disenchantment: Part 3, Netflix, 3 AM

Carmen Sandiego (S4), Netflix, 3 AM

One Night in Miami…, Amazon Prime 3 AM

The Ultimate Playlist of Noise, Hulu, 3 AM

Bling Empire (S1), Netflix, 3 AM

Macgyver, CBS, 8 PM

U.S. Figure Skating Championship, NBC, 8 PM

Whose Line Is It Anyway?, CW, 8 PM

Magnum P.I., CBS, 9 PM

Penn & Teller: Fool Us, CW, 9 PM

ELeague: Madden NFL 21, TBS, 11 PM


The Netflix Afterparty, Netflix, 3 AM

Ravens at Bills, NBC, 8:15 PM

The Evil Twin, Lifetime, 8 PM


Buccaneers at Saints, Fox, 6:40 PM

Batwoman (season premiere), CW, 8 PM

Miss Scarlet & The Duke (series premiere), PBS, 8 PM

American Gods, Starz, 8 PM

The Circus, Showtime, 8 PM

Who Wants to Be A Millionaire, ABC, 8 PM

The Watch, BBC America, 8 PM

Browns/Steelers, NBC, 8:15 PM


Tiger: Part II (finale), HBO, 9 PM

The Simpsons, Fox, 9 PM

Shameless, Showtime, 9 PM


Cal Fire, Discovery, 10 PM

The Rookie, ABC, 10 PM

Your Honor, Showtime, 10 PM

Family Guy, Fox, 10:30 PM

All times listed are ET.