FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, January 05, 2007

Bill Gates Predicts a Robotic Explosion

The world is on the verge of an explosion in robot innovation, says Microsoft's Bill Gates. In an essay in Scientific American, he compares the robotics industry to the state of the personal computer industry in the mid-1970s, when he co-founded his landmark software company.

In Gates' vision, common household tasks will one day all be performed robotically, and controllable remotely via the Web, so a homeowner can complete chores while at work. "Companionbots" will help care for the elderly and disabled, monitoring their health and administering medicine.

Despite problems in getting robots to perform tasks that humans take for granted, Gates can "envision a future in which robotic devices will become a nearly ubiquitous part of our day-to-day lives." He cites recent advances in robotics, lowered costs of sensors and memory, as well as the need for standardized development tools (which Microsoft is beginning to develop).

Source: The Guardian International