While I was waiting to watch Panasonic's 3DHD demonstration earlier this week, I overheard what was surely the strangest conversation I'd ever eavesdropped at CES.
You see, while I thought that I'd arrived at the right spot for the 3DHD demo, I'd really been waiting in a sort of backstage area, where engineers, CEOs and Titanic producer Jon Landau were gearing up to pitch me and 30 other members of the press about their low power 3D plasmas.
I thought it was strange enough to see Panasonic corporate types posing with Landau's Oscar that he'd brought out for the occasion, handing off their mobile phones to grab proud shots with the statue. Then a man in a grey suit and glasses walked up to one of the engineers standing to the side. He had an aura of overconfidence.
"Do you handle demonstrations of the 3DHD display technology," he asked the Panasonic engineer.
"Yes," the engineer responded after a moment.
"And you have prototypes in the US?"
"Yes, why?" asked the engineer, growing a bit uncomfortable at the man's forward nature.
The suited man paused for an intentional beat.
"I'm with the CIA, and we'd like to include your product in a presentation at the White House for the President." This was said nonchalantly, in that way people present grand pieces of information in a euphemistic tone meant to draw the listener in.
But it backfired when applied to the Japanese engineer whose English wasn't so fluent. So the engineer's following "what?" wasn't one of "holy cow, how is this possible?" but more just an earnest "what are you talking about?"
"The President of the United States," the CIA guy repeated, this time using full ceremonial emphasis.
"Uhhh..." the engineer responded nervously, completely confused now as to what was going on.
"I'm with the CIA. We're giving a presentation in two months to the President on eco technologies that will reduce our nation's dependence on oil. You know, oil?"
We'd like to include your display if you have one available in the States."
"Can I take a look?" Mr. CIA asked, motioning to the demo room.
And with that, another international technological concordance was made. [Image]