There wasn't a whole lot of new products in Samsung's opening keynote address of CES 2020, but there was one crowd-pleaser from the night that had its own hashtag trending within seconds. We're talking about Ballie, of course, Samsung's new softball-sized lifestyle robot that immediately brought to mind the new Star Wars trilogy's BB-8.
Meet Ballie, the lifestyle robot that follows you around and narcs on your dog
Samsung Consumer Electronics President and CEO H.S. Kim introduced Ballie onstage during his remarks about Samsung's look towards more "human-centric" innovations in AI and robotics.
“What makes Samsung’s approach unique is the fact that we have a very clear philosophy built around human-centered innovation," Kim said during his opening remarks of the keynote. "We build and create to solve problems and enhance people’s lives.”
Ballie is meant to be the manifestation of that vision in a cute little rolling ball that will follow you around or patrol your home when you aren't there. It will interact with smart appliances, its environment, and ultimately the consumer. Sebastian Seung, the Executive Vice President and Chief Research Scientist at Samsung Electronics, explained that Ballie's onboard AI allows it to act like a mobile personal assistant a la Amazon's Alexa, but also aiming to go beyond just the personal digital assistants of the last number of years.
“We believe AI is the future of personalized care,” Seung said. “We see on-device AI as central to truly personalized experiences. On-device AI puts you in control of your information and protects your privacy, while still delivering the power of personalization.”
As others online have been quick to point out though, the idea of a mobile camera that is watching everything that you do can be problematic, so Samsung looks to go out of its way to stress that it will absolutely safegaurd and protect your data, though how they will do so is an open question.
You can watch the entire Samsung keynote below.