It wasn't exactly Minority Report but Bill Gates' technology demonstration at the company's CEO Summit earlier Wednesday may be remembered years from now as a harbinger of the end for the keyboard and mouse era. Not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But soon enough. (Cue Winston Churchill here about how this is not the end, the beginning of the end, but perhaps, it's the end of the beginning.)
As Gates demoed a 4-foot-by-6-foot prototype called TouchWall, there was little resemblance to Tom Cruise's futuristic data juggling in that 2002 sci-fi performance as he moved 3D screens around with simple hand gestures. Making what is likely his last appearance as master of ceremonies at this annual conclave of corporate heavy hitters, Gates used the show-and-tell session to offer a prediction.
In the future, he said, all surfaces will feature "an inexpensive screen display capability and software that sees what you're doing there so that it's completely interactive."