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Everything will be a computer, Gates saysIn the coming years, the conference table will be a computer, the whiteboard will be a computer, says Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. He sits down with CNET News.com's Ina Fried to discuss what he sees as the future of tech.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:02 >> Recognition is coming. I see it as part of the overall framework where being able to touch and manipulate things like Serpas or iPhone, being able to sense where things are, like the Nintendo Wii in the gaming space. But that natural interface is quite broad. The screens are everywhere, you won't have a white board. It will be an intelligent screen. You won't even have a mirror, it will be an intelligent screen that of course you can see yourself, you can see other things as well. That pervasiveness combined with cameras that can do vision, the pens that can do ink, the microphones that connect up to speech recognition, the office environment will look quite different. The round table is a great example of the start of that. Where it's got many cameras, many microphones, and software that is telling who's talking and can create a wonderful remote meeting experience because of that. >> And you talked about, you know, the desk, you know, today we have conference tables. That actually being your computer, perhaps, like surface. Do you think some of these things are right around the corner, a little ways -- which of these sort of natural language interfaces do you see happening sooner and which are going to take more time? >> Well, for dictation where you're not using the keyboard but you're talking to a document, we've got a lot of users who don't like the keyboard or are unable to use it. We're finding that very attractive right now. The idea of taking your desk and putting the computer in the surface type of thing, or that E room table, we need to bring the cost of that down, but we have the product. Will ship next year, 2008, into retailers, where making the experience a lot more engaging is very high value for them. And so we have hardware technology that's going to bring that down so it can be in every desk, it can be in every table, it can be in every white board, every mirror. And so it will give us a five to ten year timeframe, and we'll wonder why our tables used to just sit there and not do anything for us. >> Do you think it will be the same with the PC. I mean, will we have, you know, touch in every PC fairly soon. I mean, it seems both with surface and with the iPhone, people definitely grove on the idea. >> Oh, touch is great. And we have some partners who are building touch into Windows-based PCs at fairly low cost. And so the software is helping you get at that and start using that. You know, the -- the idea of touch in one place versus touching in multiple places, really having a camera that can recognize what's going on. There will be different levels of it. But the basic touch capability, I think, will actually be quite pervasive in Windows PCs.