The future direction of personal computing was highlighted during an entertaining speech by Microsoft Corporation’s Chief Research and Strategy officer Mr Craig Mundie at CERT Technology Park in Abu Dhabi last week.
As head of Microsoft’s research and strategy arm Mr Mundie is responsible for the corporation’s long-term technology strategy.
During his speech to Higher Colleges of Technology and CERT IT, business and Engineering students, faculty and staff Mr Mundie told the packed audience that the next 2-5 years would see the emergence of computers with natural interface, where they will be “more texturally aware and understand what the user wants and predict what they will be doing”.
“Micro-processing is going through a revolution and we want to make computers more like people where we will be able to interact with them,” Mr Mundie said.
“In 2012 new programs will become available which will have the ability to emulate the sensory behavior of people – such as speech, learning, handwriting, touch. It will become an assistant to people and not just a tool.
“There will be greater interaction with the device and the new computers will be able to anticipate your needs and not be reactive.
“It will go from working at your commands to working on your behalf a comprehensive partner in solving problems when leading your life.”
Mr Mundie said areas of application for the new generation of computers would extend to medical diagnostics, financial areas, translation and greater online learning capabilities.
But he also said a growing area for Microsoft to consider was the growing percentage of the world’s population who do not have access to computers and who have limited learning capabilities and access to health care.
“It’s not just about establishing an economy but looking at how this technology will make a better place for billions of people,” he said.
In his first “broader” visit to the UAE, Mr Mundie said he was keen to balance Microsoft’s interest in the region, after having a major focus on the Chinese and Indian markets.
He gave a glowing assessment of the HCT system, saying it offered a “high-quality education that is technically advanced” and therefore “engaged students for learning”.