Smart home robot gives LG exec the silent treatment during CES keynote

LG spent much of their lackluster CES keynote highlighting the potential of its new AI platform, ThinQ, to revolutionize the lives of consumers and their company’s bottom line. A big part of this vision was voice control interfaces.

Not only did the South Korean company highlight the continued growth of its partnership with Google, but they gave significant stage time to its CLOi voice assistant robot, which the company boasted could tie together all of its touchscreen fridges, rose gold AC units and fancy washing machines.

Now, keynote demo mishaps with voice recognition products are par for the course, but the company’s Hub Robot, which debuted at CES last year, didn’t work onstage for the majority of the keynote, leaving an LG exec speechless and fumbling to stick to the script while the dumb little robot he talked at blinked innocently.

“Even robots have bad days,” the human executive said.

The crowd’s awkward chuckling grew louder each time the Hub Robot failed to respond to prompts related to the company’s full-court press on smart home interconnectedness.

Now, an expensive little robot not working when you want to get recipes or check on your laundry is one thing, but LG is looking to make a play in the services market with special robots optimized for hotels and groceries. Yelling at an unresponsive LG robot in the supermarket sounds like a bad branding moment. LG avoided using voice commands with the¬†later keynote demo of their hotel service robots, instead opting to have them do complex maneuvers such as… turning around.