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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

June 28, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Bill Gates — in 1987 — predicts flat panel displays, interactive entertainment and something Siri-like

Smithsonian.com recently dug up an interesting 1987 interview with Bill Gates in which the Microsoft co-founder was asked for his predictions of what the world would look like in 2007.

Among Gates’ replies in the January 1987 issue of OMNI magazine, according to Smithsonian.com?

He predicted that the world of 2007 would be filled with flat panel displays, diverse forms of interactive entertainment, highly advanced voice recognition software and the ability to access vast quantities of information at the touch of a button.

Matt Novak, who penned the Smithsonian.com Paleofuture blog post, thinks that the vast majority of Gates’ predictions turned out to be pretty accurate.

Take Gates’ thoughts on what would become interactive entertainment: “I hope passive entertainment will disappear,” Smithsonian.com quotes Gates as saying in the OMNI article. “People want to get involved. It will really start to change the quality of entertainment because it will be so individualized. If you like Bill Cosby, then there will be a digital description of Cosby, his mannerisms and appearance, and you will build your own show from that.”

The blog post also mentions Gates predicting “the perfection of a technology that has been around for decades, but one that many people of 2012 might associate with the name Siri: voice recognition,” Novak writes.

Here’s what Gates said back then in OMNI: “We will have serious voice recognition. I expect to wake up and say, ‘Show me some nice Da Vinci stuff,’ and my ceiling, a high-resolution display, will show me what I want to see — or call up any sort of music or video. The world will be online, and you will be able to simulate just about anything.”

(It must be pointed out, however, that MIcrosoft has its own voice-recognition technology in Kinect.)

Illustrating the post is a History of Microsoft video featuring a 1987 interview with Gates. Take a trip down memory lane:

[do action=”custom_iframe” width=”640″ height=”480″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/B2ImYGUhBgI

(Video from YouTube user jonpaulmoen)

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