In February of this year, you could see the following video of Microsoft’s vision of how the world might appear in 2019.
Now as reported by Gregory T. Huang, Craig Mundie gave some more insights on the Future Vision in helping to kick off Microsoft Research’s 10th annual faculty summit. These were the top five takeaways from his talk:
- 1. It’s all about the natural user interface.
- Today’s devices are able to understand voice, handwriting, and touch commands better than ever before, but nobody has really put it all together yet. Advances in computing algorithms will lead to software that is “better at anticipating what you might want.”
- 2. It’s time for the digital assistant—but fear not, real assistants.
- In a demo, Microsoft researcher Eric Horvitz talked to a “robotic receptionist” (on a screen) to schedule a meeting. The software used machine vision to track Horvitz’s movements, gaze, and orientation to the screen, speech recognition to understand what he was saying, and speech synthesis to communicate back to him—all in real time.
- 3. It’s not all about the cloud.
- As we move to continuous, contextual awareness, the idea that we can time-share these things is not practical. Processing, communication, and integration with any other software needs to be done locally, not by a remote server in the Internet cloud. – clearly countering the Google approach to the cloud.
- 4. It’s four devices, not three.
- Mundie outlined four types of devices in his broader view of computing: phones, laptops, desktops, and something he called “specialty computers.” These are handhelds specialized to do certains kinds of computationally intensive tasks, like environmental forecasting, medical imaging analysis, or even delivering prenatal care in rural regions of a developing country.
- 5. The room is the successor to the desktop.
- In the office of the future, there will be high-definition displays on walls, a keyboard projected onto a desk surface, gesture recognition software that lets you move things around on a digital whiteboard, a digital assistant on the screen, a video conference with a colleague with interactive graphics within the video screen, and so forth.
This Microsoft vision is certainly an impressive display of what may well be available.