People want to know what their future computing devices will do and how soon they will do it. What prototypes are you working with to envision the applications of the next decade?
We have been looking at a whole range of applications, which require enormous amounts of computing power to be practical, to be viable. That's consistent with what we were talking about earlier, of building very high multiple-core machines like the 80-core processor. ... We look at a whole range from things like useful motion tracking, the ability for video cameras to watch what you're doing and translate your movements into the motion of a human in a computer. So as you move your arms then the figure in the computer moves its arms, and if you blink your eyes then the figure in the computer blinks its eyes. We look at that to catch facial expressions as well as doing whole body motion. That might be the basis for a future kind of game or it might be the way you teach someone how to dance. Your virtual partner is a computer.
Another application that generates a lot of interest is where we fit the live video of a sporting match like football -- not American football, international football -- and the computer tracks all the individual players and watches the game play and automatically displays a highlight video. So you say, 'I just want to see shots on goal' or 'I just want to see the penalty kicks' [or] 'I just want to watch this one player, show me all the plays where this player has the ball.' The computer can do all of that automatically. This requires a tremendous amount of computing as you can imagine: track all the players, analyze the movements, whatever it is. So, very computer intensive, but in five years it might not be unusual to find this feature in television sets. Those are a couple of future applications that we work with.
Now, we also do help devices. We've been experimenting with a number of technologies that you would either carry with you or you would hold beneath your clothing. They will basically monitor your heartbeat, your respiration, your physical activity, and all those kinds of things. They will basically provide you information that would improve your life style and lead to better health or alert you to a medical condition that would take you to see a doctor.
Today, we begin to see some real impressive robots, equipped with image and speech recognition. Some of them, especially those projected for the Department of Defense, can walk as if they were alive. Do you think the Terminator age is close or the age of intelligent machines is coming?
The age of intelligent machines, is that what you said? Well, I think that in some ways the answer has to be yes. The help platform I was talking about has a whole variety of forms. Right now you can put it in your pocket or clip it on your belt or something like that. It gathers all these data and it makes inferences. It can tell whether you're sitting down or standing up, whether indoors or outdoors, whether you're climbing, going upstairs or downstairs, and then based on that it can make a whole range of other decisions about what you're doing. I mean, when it learns patterns of your behavior it can tell whether you're at home, whether you're at work, whether you are driving your car or sitting on the beach someplace.
I think this whole area of perceptual computing is ready to make very rapid advances. I think that over the next decade or so there will be devices, whether they're robots or not, that exploit computational perception and exhibit a very human like behavior. I think it is definitely going to happen.