Just as artificial intelligence (AI) has dominated business conversations this year, it’s also infiltrating holiday gift-giving lists. And it’s no coincidence – the same AI technologies that are driving business-changing enterprise systems are also becoming useful in our homes.  In fact, this giving season is a good time to experience the future of life, both at home and at work, as imagined through an AI lens.

Here’s a hand-chosen guide to eight gifts that will bring AI into your home.  Each was selected not just because they use similar AI patterns as we do at Cognizant but also because I’ve personally tried many of them and find them both intriguing and eminently useful.  

Eight Must-Have AI Gifts

1) Have allergies? Don’t have a big yard?  Want to live in the future now? The Sony aibo ERS-1000 is the newest addition to Sony’s line of learning robot pets. Because the device uploads its daily life experiences to an AI engine, it can access its database of memories and experiences to develop its own unique personality, adapted to how you raise it. For $2,900, you get a pet dog that never needs shots. It provides emotional feedback, it remembers you, and it’s fun.

2) Need to keep an eye on your kids, protect your home from intruders, and customize alerts for future events you want to be notified about? The Light.house AI camera is a 3-D, AI-powered security camera for your home. Its computer vision technology recognizes individual people’s by faces, its 3-D sensing technology all but eliminates false alerts, and its natural language processing capabilities enable easy voice-based searching. With all these capabilities, you get a set of eyes at home so you’re free to be where you need to be.

3) Want an AI assistant with manners? The new Google Home Hub understands your speech and answers questions nearly as naturally as you would expect from a modern home digital assistant. What’s nice is that it also has a display for your photos and the weather. Even better, the device now cares about manners. If you say please and thank you, it will express its appreciation for these niceties, thus reinforcing polite behavior, even when talking to a machine. This is a step toward humanized AI!

4) Do you wish you could have a companion while you work, who can clean your desk, tell you the weather, recognize you and look at you with expressive eyes? The Anki Vector robot is the desktop robot colleague you never knew you needed. Using voice commands, you can ask about the weather in any city in the world, set a timer, take a photo and play blackjack. The device will soon be integrated with Alexa, which will expand its capabilities to adding items to your shopping list, setting reminders and controlling smart home devices like lights, speakers and thermostats.

5) Need to block out all the noise around you, while still being able to access a digital assistant with the click of a button, ready to deliver entertainment, relay information or manage your day? The BOSE QuietComfort35 wireless headphones bring you the best combination of great sound and noise cancellation, with Alexa ready to whisper in your ear.

6) Need an extra set of eyes and ears at home? The $20 Wyzecam uses motion tagging to track things moving past your camera and smart sound recognition to alert you when a smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector goes off or a package is delivered. This is AI operating on the simplest of devices.

7) Self-driving cars are the future, but rather than risking your life now, you can play with self- driving cars, at one-eighth scale, right in your home. The new AWS DeepRacer – which comes complete with an onboard Intel Atom processor running Ubuntu, Robot Operating System software and Intel OpenVino machine-vision software – lets you work on your own self-driving algorithms, right next to that train that drives around your Christmas tree.

8) The first is still the best – the Nest Learning thermostat uses AI to learn your usage patterns and detect if you’re home or away. It then adapts your heating and cooling to your requirements. The Nest has spawned new versions and many competitors, but it remains the benchmark for design and elegance, all powered by a bit of AI to save you money.

Opening the Door to AI

There’s no question that AI is influencing our lives, at work and at home, and that by this time next year, many of these AI capabilities could be mainstream. This giving season is a great time to get a headstart on interfacing directly with these technologies and seeing what they’re capable of by welcoming them into your home. The recipients will thank you for the entre into our AI-driven future.

Bret Greenstein

Bret Greenstein

Bret Greenstein is Global Vice-President and Head of Cognizant’s Digital Business AI Practice, focusing on technology and business strategy, go-to-market and innovation... Read more