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04 December 2023

Smart robot falls dumb as LG touts 'connected life'


A cute, table-top robot packed with digital smarts fell dumb on stage at an LG Electronics event touting "connected" lifestyles where machines obey spoken commands and anticipate needs.

The ignoble demo failure came before an audience packed with journalists and analysts on the eve of the official opening of the annual Consumer Electronics Show gadget extravaganza here on Tuesday.

It also took place shortly after LG's chief technology officer stressed how the South Korean consumer device giant was using internet connections, artificial intelligence and cloud computing to make everyday life easier.

LG US marketing vice president David VanderWaal strode on stage to demonstrate how the new CLOi robot, shaped like a small snow person with a round screen face with endearing glowing eyes could be told to boss home appliances around or tend to online tasks.

CLOi quickly ignored VanderWaal, who tried repeatedly to get it to listen.

"CLOi doesn't like me evidently," VanderWaal quipped, as he switched to using touch screen controls on appliances to continue with the 45-minute long presentation.

"Even robots have bad days."

VanderWaal even tried anew to get CLOi to cooperate after stepping backstage while a video was shown to the audience in the large, packed ballroom in the Mandalay Bay convention center.

Such moments are playfully referred to as "the curse of the live demo" in Silicon Valley.