NVIDIA at CES 2018: Big Format displays, NVIDIA Freestyle, GeForce Now, and the future of AI
NVIDIA is back with another huge presence at CES 2018, and this year they’ve once again brought out a lot of new tech for gaming, and even more for autonomous driving and artificial intelligence.
This includes stepping up their game in the monitor department with BFGDs, new live graphics filters with NVIDIA Freestyle, and more AI and autonomous driving tech than you can shake a virtual stick at. So, let’s dive into some of the highlights of the boys in green at CES 2018.
Big Format Gaming Displays from NVIDIA
NVIDIA has been steadily developing tech to help improve your monitor experience for years, and with their BFGDs (short for Big Format Gaming Displays), they’re bringing everything we love about high end gaming monitors to 65-inch TVs. Things like 4K resolution and High Dynamic Range aren’t an alien concept to a 65-inch display, but features like G-Sync, a 120Hz refresh rate, and 1ms response times are traditionally kept on a much smaller screen, a standard that NVIDIA wants to change. Even better, these displays will also come with a built in NVIDIA Shield, which will allow it to function as a high end smart TV and support services like NVIDIA’s desktop to Shield streaming and GeForce Now.
The first NVIDIA BFGDs will be available in 65-inch models this coming year from ACER, ASUS, and HP, so if you’re interested start pinching your pennies now.
Choose your Filter with NVIDIA Freestyle, and get up to date with Ansel
A few years ago NVIDIA gave us Ansel, and as part of a continued effort to give players more control over their cinematic experience outside of what developers normally deliver they’ve officially announced NVIDIA Freestyle. NVIDIA Freestyle gives you the option to add filters and reshades to your game directly from your NVIDIA GeForce Experience overlay. For performance junkies this isn’t necessarily a positive, but it’s a cool idea for people that like taking a bit of an artistic or practical look at color correction in their games.
Freestyle’s filters will cover everything from classics like retro and sepia to accessibility options for colorblind users and depth of field options for people that have issues with motion sickness. In total, Freestyle will launch with 15 filters and 38 different settings within those filters that allow you to add a bit of a unique flair to your gaming experience.
Not to be left out entirely, Ansel will also be receiving a UI update, which includes eight new filters and new features for real time photo editing, which should delight gaming photographers across the board.
GeForce Now Free Beta and Uplay Compatibility
A lot of people are familiar with NVIDIA’s GeForce Now service, which allows users to stream their games from NVIDIA’s beefy datacenters rather than trying to run games like The Witcher 3 on laptops that would normally light on fire even attempting it. According to NVIDIA the service has had a pretty successful closed beta, and as of today, NVIDIA’s announced that for the public beta the service will be free for the foreseeable future.
If you’re skeptical of game streaming services in general it’s a fantastic opportunity to give the service a test drive, and maybe breathe some new life into your trusty old war machine of a PC. Not only that, but the service now also supports Uplay, which means you’ll be able to access both your Steam and Uplay libraries through the service at no extra cost.
To get on the waiting list for the Beta, visit NVIDIA’s official site.
Artificial Intelligence Writing Concertos
Just like last year, artificial intelligence was a key theme for NVIDIA’s keynote address at CES 2018, and a huge part of this year’s presentation revolved around the advances brought on by the sheer horsepower offered by NVIDIA’s new Volta chips.
With Volta on their side, NVIDIA has managed to make several big leaps in AI deep learning and is able to offer that service to researchers and developers everywhere thanks to their new DGX AI supercomputer, which is packing a full petaflop of processing horsepower in a tiny desktop-sized package.
Some of NVIDIA’s personal projects included training one AI to render a lifelike human face, while another attempted to detect if that face was real or fake. Both quickly became extremely proficient at the task, and the result was a face that anyone would swear was made the old-fashioned way rather than by an AI effectively playing a game of guess who with another AI.
As if that wasn’t impressive enough, NVIDIA also set out to teach one of their AIs to compose original music that mirrors John Williams’ style of composition. This was originally in honor of NVIDIA’s recent partnership with Disney to create several Star Wars themed custom GPUS, but the result is an impressive work of art all its own. The AI originally learned from classical composers like Mozart and Beethoven, and then moved on to examine Williams’ work before creating the piece demoed to us during the keynote.
Autonomous Driving is Right Around the Corner
With this level of deep learning on their side, NVIDIA also went to great length to demo the advances they’ve made in autonomous driving, showcasing a number of huge improvements in the hardware and software sector thanks to their Volta powered chipset that have allowed them to make autonomous driving safer than ever and miles closer to becoming a reality.
A huge part of this is thanks to their new Drive Xavier Autonomous Machine Processor, and their NVIDIA Drive Pegasus, both of which use Volta to deliver unheard of processing power in a tiny low-watt package that can handle the insane amount of data it takes to process and adapt to the ever-changing conditions of the road.
With these upgrades in their pocket NVIDIA demoed a video at the keynote where one of their prototype cars was able to travel an eight-mile autonomous route with 23 intersections, 8 hard turns, 2 stop signs, and more importantly no issues interacting and responding to the actions of real human beings. The test driver was able to sit calmly as the autonomous car did absolutely all the thinking, and all of the work to make it from point A to point B safely.
NVIDIA had a lot more to show off, but the most interesting tidbits revolved around how they’re working to make autonomous driving as safe as possible using advanced virtual testing on their DGX AI supercomputers, and how they’re adapting their autonomous technology to create layers of redundancy to prevent even multiple system failures from creating a potentially dangerous situation on the road.
It’s clear that autonomous vehicles are on their way to consumers in the near future, and it’s interesting to see the conversation shift from, “is this even possible” to “this is how we’re making it safe” in the space of a few short years. Either way, NVIDIA appears to be spearheading an autonomous revolution that’s going to change the way we make our way from point A to point B for decades to come.