Bill Gates jokes Microsoft Bob will make a comeback

Microsoft co-founder and Chairman Bill Gates is devoted to helping education in the U.S. through grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, but he apparently doesn't think that the current trend for wearable computing, such as Google Glass, will be a boost in schools.

As part of his keynote address during today's Microsoft Research Faculty Summit, Gates responded to a question from an online viewer concerning the possible use of wearable technology in education. After smiling at the question, Gates responded with an obviously humorous answer, "It will help you cheat, I guess."

After that bit of levity in an otherwise dry keynote and Q&A, Gates responded more seriously to the question, stating that while wearable technology is a "very cool thing" and saying, "I don't really couple it that much to education."

Gates took a number of questions from both the live audience today as well as online viewers who watched the keynote. When asked by an audience member what the next step will be in terms of advancing computer use in the home for ordinary people, Gates said that when regular folks use the web or Office software and that "there's all sorts of capability in there that, if you had to explain it to them, they could get more out of it."

Gates believes that the long-standing idea of the "Personal Agent" is now actually possible and that the gap between what the software can do for people and what people actually use software for will be reduced.

Gates even brought up Microsoft Bob, the Windows software launched in 1995, a few months before Windows 95, that was supposed to bring some personality to a user's PC. It's often named as one of Microsoft's biggest failures and Gates even said today "that was definitely premature."

He suggested, half in jest, that something similar to what Microsoft Bob was supposed to do might show up someday, saying, "I think it will re-emerge, but perhaps with a bit more sophistication. We were just a bit ahead of our time, like most of our mistakes."

Source: Microsoft | Images via Microsoft and Alex St John

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