Jan 5, 2007

The Hanna-Barbera world of Bill Gates

According to The Guardian, Bill Gates envisions Rosie the companionbot...

An office worker checks her home-gadget webpage from her work computer. The tasks she set for her home robots in the morning have all been completed: washing and ironing, vacuuming the lounge and mowing the lawn.


She orders dinner from the kitchen chefbot - sushi today, using a recipe from a Japanese website - then checks her elderly mother's house. The companionbot has given mum her medicine and helped her out of bed and into a chair.

As the article points out, it's thinking like this that leads to innovation, however solutions are found in practicality:


Mr Gates thinks the plunging cost of computer memory and components will contribute to advances. But he believes that, like the early computer industry, robot developers need a common set of programming tools to solve problems such as dealing with numerous sources of information simultaneously. He has set up a team to solve these problems.

Source: Gates says day of the home-help robot is near | The Guardian | Guardian Unlimited

Read Bill's article "A Robot in Every Home" in the Scientific American, which is very practical.


Anonymous said...

What this really is about, is the next generation operating system software which Bill Gates would like to be the lead on.

The next generation of things to create software on and for are robotics hardware and things to interface with it. Gates wants to make sure that just as no computer hardware today can be made without Windows drivers (ok, a few MAC only hardware items exist, but they're increasingly rare) in the future no robotics devices can be created without their embedded (Microsoft Licensed) interface software which of course will be controlled by Microsoft developer tools.

It's an interesting fight, and it will come down to the consumer robotics market from one end and the linux based 'small form factor device' market on the other.

Open source is well suited to build these tools, but Gates can bypass them neatly by getting parents to buy consumer devices controlled with microsoft based software.

Just my thoughts.


Karen Hobert said...

Sure it is!

Lock-in starts at the platform level, as you point out. The stakes continue to rise as more services converge on the application layer. The .NET framework is just one example, fewer tools are required to build more applications since they all reuse the same services that are now a part of the Windows platform.

Consider a few more recent MSFT developments:

1. The 2007 trifecta Windows/Office/Exchange releases with the Honorable Mention of Office Communication Server

2. Bill Gate's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) keynote announcement of the Windows Home Server

3. Microsoft's fledgling partnerships with TV content providers

BTW: Links courtesy of Peter O'Kelly's Reality Check blog.