Forget the keyboard or mouse. Bill Gates predicts that we will soon be able to interact with our computer with a wave of our hand.
He also foresees a world where computers are built into desks, walls and furniture and are far easier to use.
He made these predictions at the Consumer Electronics Show, where he took his audience through a quick ride of the first digital decade, pointing out that the global installed base of PCs grew to more than one billion machines, broadband rose from almost nothing to 250 million users and 40% of the world’s population now use mobile phones.
He says software, the driver of many of the digital innovations of the past 10 years, will remain a key driver. “The trend here is clear – all media and entertainment will be software driven,” Gates says.
He says the second digital decade will be far more focused on users and connecting them with each other.
Computers would be ubiquitous – not just on the desk but built into the desk – and people would be able to access their files and applications seamlessly on any device such as a mobile phone, computer or television.
But Gates says the most underestimated change coming in the next decade is the shift to a “natural user interface”, where users interact with computers using hand gestures.
Apple’s iPhone, which uses a gesture-based interface, and Nintendo’s Wii games console, are leading this revolution.
Get ready for far more 3D, with online shopping, online chat and many other activities operating in that environment. “No longer will users have to bridge between devices,” Gates says. “When you get a new phone or want to borrow a device, it will be a very simple thing to be up and running [with all of your files and applications loaded automatically].”