Gates nurtures 'sub-derma' technology

Advances in technology will one day enable computers to be implanted in the human body, potentially helping the blind to see and the deaf to hear says Microsoft's chief software architect, Bill Gates.

Speaking at a company seminar in Singapore, the technology boss was quizzed over whether computers would ever be connected to a human brain, in an attempt to heal people's pain and problems.

Admitting he's slightly dubious about wiring up his own body, Gates acknowledged the explosion of implanted technologies - but added he personally prefers to be 'unconnected' from tests fusing flesh with computers, reports AP.

"One of the guys that works at Microsoft ... always says to me 'I'm ready, plug me in,'" Gates told an audience on Friday.

"I don't feel quite the same way. I'm happy to have the computer over there and I'm over here."

But Gates did endorse the use of cochlear implants, which employ electrical signals that the brain interprets as sound, saying the emerging technology has already had a dramatic impact on people's lives by allowing deaf people partial hearing.

Likewise he said small implanted technologies can help fix problems with eyesight – as will a range of similar surgically implanted devices, designed for "correcting deficiencies."

This admission emerges from a chairman of a technology company that is spending more than $6BN US dollars on research and development to keep ahead of the latest software developments.

Observers hope claims back in 2000 that paper-thin video displays could one day be inserted into the human body to analyse illness and dispense medicines as needed, have been developed under the grand R&D scheme.

During his address, Gates predicted most of his spotlighted developments would become mainstream, but cited the author Ray Kurzeil, as a respected AI commentator, not expecting commercial usage until several generations time.

Turning to today's technology in the future, Gates said voice recognition software would not supersede the computer keyboard, and predicted the pen would make a comeback; ink not included.

These modes of communication will mark the three main ways people will interact with their computers, while speech is expected to become the primary tool for inputting data into mobile devices.

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