Steve Ballmer wants to shout at his TV

The Microsoft CEO wants to call out Bill Gates' name and have a computer track him down

If Bill Gates is hoping for a quiet retirement he may find it interrupted by technology.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer envisages being able to call out the Microsoft co-founder's name and have an advanced IT system spring into action and track Gates down anywhere on the planet within the next ten years -- and he wants to give us the same power too.

"In the next few years I know I'll be watching my favorite golfer, Tiger Woods, play in a tournament and I'll see him hit a particularly brilliant shot," Ballmer said at a Tokyo news conference on Thursday. "I'll shout at my television set, 'Hey Bill, did you see Tiger make that putt?' and Microsoft software will wake up in the TV, it will recognize my voice, it will know when I say 'Bill' I mean Bill Gates, it'll find him wherever he is, it will see whether he's willing to be interrupted for the call."

"He'll say 'Of course, for Steve I'm always able to be interrupted'," said Ballmer. "'Hey Bill, did you see Tiger make that putt?' Maybe Bill will say, 'Yes Steve, but what golf ball is he using?' I'll literally take my finger and I'll point at the golf ball, a search will go on across the Internet to figure out what ball it is, and I'll say 'Hey Bill, that's the new Nike ball, shall I order some for you too?'"

Interacting with contacts via a television set ties in to Microsoft's recently announced "Three screens, one cloud" vision that sees customers using PCs, TVs and cellular phones to access data and applications stored on servers, both real and virtual, residing on the Internet or "the cloud" as it is becoming known.

Ballmer predicted the technology is just a "few years" away, although development seldom brings about such advances in a short time. While many of the necessary building blocks in voice recognition, user interface and artificial intelligence already exist, tying them together and getting them to work reliably could be a significant task.

"The next five or ten years will be amazing," he said. "Ten years from now when we sit together we'll look back and we'll say, 'Wasn't technology primitive in 2009? Computers didn't recognize our speech, our voice, our intention. We didn't have instantaneous access to the world's information. We've gotten rid of paper as a means of note taking and communication.'"

Earlier in the week Microsoft announced plans to launch a project to forge closer ties with Japanese universities. Its Microsoft Research unit will start a number of initiatives intended to put Microsoft money to work on projects being studied in Japan, bring Japanese scientists into its own research labs and promote information exchange within the research community.

"The world has so much to invent in this industry and I'm very excited about what Microsoft is doing to drive that innovation," he said.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?