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Bill Gates is helping Microsoft create 'Personal Agent', thinks HoloLens is 'amazing'

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates wrote today that the company's recently revealed Microsoft HoloLens hardware is "pretty amazing" and "the start of virtual reality." He also revealed, as part of a Reddit AMA session, he is working with Microsoft on a project called Personal Agent.

Today was Gates' third such Reddit AMA session and while most of his responses were based around his annual letter from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he did answer a few Microsoft-based questions. One person asked him what he thought of the HoloLens device that was shown last week as part of Microsoft's Windows 10 event. Gates replied:

"The Hololens is pretty amazing. Microsoft has put a lot into the chips and the software. It is the start of virtual reality. Making the device so you don't get dizzy or nauseous is really hard - the speed of the alignment has to be super super fast. It will take a few years of software applications being built to realize the full promise of this."

Microsoft HoloLens

Another person mentioned that 2015 is the 30th anniversary of the first version of Windows and asked Gates what he thought the next 30 years would be like in terms of technology and personal computing. Gates wrote:

"There will be more progress in the next 30 years than ever. Even in the next 10 problems like vision and speech understanding and translation will be very good. Mechanical robot tasks like picking fruit or moving a hospital patient will be solved. Once computers/robots get to a level of capability where seeing and moving is easy for them then they will be used very extensively.""One project I am working on with Microsoft is the Personal Agent which will remember everything and help you go back and find things and help you pick what things to pay attention to. The idea that you have to find applications and pick them and they each are trying to tell you what is new is just not the efficient model - the agent will help solve this. It will work across all your devices.

Source: Reddit

103 Comments
  • All hail Bill Gates, one of the best human beings alive
  • +1
  • +928
  • +Icon
  • +1330
  • He will be remembered for thousands years, not only for Microsoft but more for his humanitarian work.
  • No! The world is going totally wrong after "Reaganism/Thatcherism/market knows it ALL"! 80 persons own 50% of the value in the world! That is totally wrong.  
  • How is that wrong considering the fact anyone has that same opportunity? Hell if your mind is not capable of ideas that can bring change to people and someone else did why complain.
  • "...anyone has that same opportunity" I guess you live in another world. Of course some people really are geniuses and worked hard (and were lucky, also) to get their fortunes and accomplish their dreams, but many of the rich people or persons in power are in that position due to the family they were born in. Don't tell me that the sons and doughters of powerful/rich people in New York have the same opportunities than the ones of a bangladesh farmer. In my country, I could write a long list with the names of sons/daughters of politicians that just "happened to get" a very good job (high salary, little work, small responsabilities, permanent contract...) just after graduating from university, even if everybody knows they are not that bright. At the same time, people with 2 master degrees, one Phd and speaking 3 languages are working overtime just to get the minimum salary or little more . Yeah, really same opportunities. :-/  
  • You should do some research on his social policies and then it can become very easy to be disgusted by him, from his investment in monsanto to the mess his vaccination program left in India and Africa to much much more. I think it would be in Microsoft's best interest to gradually distance themselves from him as much as possible
  • At least frank knows.
  • I've seen online videos that suggest his vaccination programme is intending murder people. I then watched the video that conclusion was based on, and they clearly misunderstood what he was saying. A plain reading of what he said does not support their hysteria. Are you referring to that, or something different? At this point, I think the work will remember Gates fondly. I'm open to any information you have that lends itself to a contrary conclusion though.
  • I had the "joy" of listening to someone on another tech forum that sounded a lot like you, using some anti-vaccer claim that BillG was using his charity to hide his true self - a racist eugenicist who was trying to eradicate the population of Africa by slowly killing a few children here and there through his vacinations. Of course he is saving the lives of 10s of thousands more people, but that is all part of the plan save many to hide is true intent. He is investing in Monsanto. If there was no Monsanto then there would be less food in the world, which means we would not be able to feed those people that BillG is either saving the live of, or murdering, depending on how you are trying to make him look bad. No, I don't agree with all he does. He recently spent quite a bit of money supporting an anti-gun initiative in Washington. But trying to paint Bill as a Mengele is just foolish.
  • @frank, I don't know why, but your comment seems to make me have that feeling about you! I must do some social research then.
  • He is a nerd who got lucky. Microsoft lied to IBM saying they had an OS when they didn't, they bought DOS quickly when IBM signed the deal. Bill is still one of if not the richest person in the world despite claiming he was giving away his fortune. Don't fall for the PR hype, the best charity is anonymous.
  • I really hope you are being sarcastic, he's the epitome of evil. Vaccine pushing, global depopulation, elitist, globalist. The list goes on.
  • So what's project agent exactly?
  • alijasdoj
  • What lol?
  • Um... You've never heard of alijasdoj....? I don't see how someone doesn't know their burfnufrans
  • Translation: READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE
  • Dude, just read please!!!
  • o hallo wireshark , nice to meet you wireshark
  • Lol i love wireshark! IT major here :) wireshark is my homie
  • Hahahaha I have just truly LOL-ed XD
  • im still trying to decipher this estrange word
  • You rang?
  • Cortana
  • It seemed like he was implying something more of a user experience change rather than Cortana. I feel like he was hinting at a different dashboard for information at a glance. Rather than the current Live Tile interface. What do you all think?
  • The comeback is real.
  • Next 30 years...!worlds gonna sleep...^.^
  • Woah bro...that comment...evolutionary O.O
  • If at the end of it I'll be 60/61 ugg
  • 50 (:
  • Damn ill be 72... Screw you guys :P lol
  • 90 but  not likely, dead more likely.
  • Haha xD
  • Jajajajajaja
  • I really like Bill Gates as a person, he reminds of Woz. Just really loves tech. Side note, prefect kids game for hololens, besides Minecraft, just a sandbox Scribblenauts. ...I want that!
  • I think hololens is amazeballs too Bill:)
  • Sounds like his agent's name is Didact.
  • CORTANA IS COMING.
  • WHAT DID I LEARN TODAY??? I am a year older than windows!!!!!
  • I am older than you and older than Windows as well. :(
  • Hmm, I'm almost as old as Windows. :P
  • Windows is older than me... :(
  • Windows will be as old as me now in 3 years :)
  • Are you gonna fly through space?
  • Same here..):
  • Personal agent reminds of an episode from Black Mirror called "The entire history of you" where everything we see and do is recorded so we can go back and recall them. It replaced our need for memories, because memories were subjective to our own skewness. 
  • Loved that epidsode.  I think personal/wearable cameras also fit into that senario.
  • HELP THE PHONE DIVISION OF WINDOWS. IT'S DYING.
  • Bill help Belfiore since Nadella is not doing a good work..
  • Really?
  • "It will work across all your devices."
    Hmm, does he imply Cortana will be coming to other platforms? We already know it's going to happen someday, but hopefully not before Windows gets the full 'non-beta' version.
    Or is Personal Agent some kind of app launcher reorganizing itself depending on time and location, with Cortana integration?
  • I can't tell you much right now
  • Can't tell that it is, but it will be available on iOS first.
  • Forgot to mention Android will get it soon after iOS..
  • I think it will be a sort of personal data center thingy. Taking all your personal data from your apps and suggesting you products. Something like "hey your track runner app tells us that you've run X km with your current pair of shoes, check the promo on running shoes on this other app." Or " You listen to X, Y and Z artists a lot on Spotify, check this new album on XBM" Or suggesting you restaurants based on your and others Yelp, Foursquare, etc reviews.
  • "so you don't get dizzy or nauseous" [sic] Even the almighty Bill Gates doesn't know how to use the word nauseous. Should've been "nauseated". Come on, Bill. Study harder.
  • lol if I were a billionaire I wouldn't care on my grammar as long as can rub cash in my ass. Haha
  • Why?
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/nauseous
  • Because nauseous literally means "causing nausea", not "being afflicted with  nausea". Dictionaries like Dictionary.com and Merriam-Webster are often not totally reliable because they let popular usage trump literal usage (which is also why they provide incorrect definitions for words like 'momentarily' and 'hopefully', as well). The American Heritage English Dictionary clearly addresses this issue by properly defining both words: nauseous: causing nausea; sickening nauseated: to be feeling, or having been caused to feel nausea The Oxford English dictionary provides both the correct and incorrect definitions, but they carefully specify that the incorrect usage of nauseous--that is, how Bill Gates used it above and how the grand majority of English speakers incorrectly use it--is a figurative usage, not a literal one. Grammar nerds cringe at the latter usage.
  • No need to go in depth. Good for you for knowing he said something wrong, it's not exactly that important. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I went in depth because someone asked me to. It's pretty simple. Hey, what app did you use to post your message? Oh, never mind. I see it now. Posted via Internet Explorer 11 for Windows 8.1 Pro with Windows Media Player
  • The meanings of words are determined by how they are being used. As long as the meaning doesn't contradict the structure of the word, it should be accepted. For example, using "nauseating" instead of "nauseated" would be inacceptable, because the present participle ("-ing") clearly indicated a different meaning. But the suffix "-ous" in "nauseous" doesn't contradict the meaning of "affected by nausea". "-ous" indicates a quality or trait that is related to the noun which the adjective is derived from. That relation between the quality/trait and the noun varies from term to term. A dangerous method is one that is associated with danger, a poisonous drink is a one that contains poison, a bulbous shape is one that reselmbles a bulb. So there's nothing wrong about using nausous as "affected by nausea".
  • I'm not contesting that the meanings of words change over time, or that popular usage is irrelevant. But allowing popular usage to trump the basic rules of language in general (to clearly convey information) or a language in particular (rules that preclude ambiguity and promote consistency) is exactly why English is such a difficult langauge to learn: it is plagued by irregularities. The inconsistent -ous suffix is a prime example of that, as a suffix with such a wide array of meanings, which you inadvertently demonstrated with your examples of "dangerous", "poisonous", "bulbous", and the like. Poisonous, in particular, is a great example of why the use of nauseous to mean "affected with nausea" is so problematic. As Theodore Bernstein wrote in The Careful Writer, "A person who is sick is no more nauseous than a person who has been poisoned is poisonous." What Bernstein is getting at is expounded on by the Chicago Manual of Style:
    "Whatever is nauseous induces a feeling of nausea—it makes us feel sick to our stomachs. To feel sick is to be nauseated. The use of nauseous to mean nauseated may be too common to be called error anymore, but strictly speaking it is poor usage. Because of the ambiguity of nauseous, the wisest course may be to stick to the participial adjectives nauseated and nauseating."
    And therein lies the rub: the meaning of nauseous, the adjective, is ambiguous. In contrast, nauseated, the past participle of the infinitive, to nauseate, is unambiguous: it clearly means that a person is affected with nausea. Nauseous does not clearly mean that.
  • Ambiguity is a ubiquitous phenomenon in terminology and can't be considered a problem by itself. Problems arise only when people who use terms with multiple meanings without being aware of that ambiguity. But in the case of "nauseous", problems are very unlikely to arise, because there is probably no single sentence in which the intended meaning of "nauseous" would not be obvious in context. The way Gates used the term is both precise contentwise, and grammatically correct (considering the unspecific function of the suffix "-ous") Just to demonstrate how well language can deal with ambiguity, look at the Japanese language. There are almost no morphological distinctions between tenses, numbers, cases, gender, ..., and the vocabulary is full of homonyms. The meanings and grammatical functons of words are apparent in the context of a sentence. So if the Japanese language can deal with that level of ambiguity, we should be able to live with something like "-ous".
  • Frills removed, your first two sentences argues that ambiguity isn't a problem, unless it is unintentional. Clearly we're only discussing unintentional ambiguity, so I don't see the point of mentioning that. A conscientious decision by a speaker to say something ambiguous is a different topic. Back to the issue at hand, trying to defend the use of nauseous, the adjective, as a suitable replacement for nauseated, the past participle, by proclaiming that ambiguity is unlikely is a weak argument. Why tolerate any ambiguity when we have a perfectly good word that offers no abmiguity? I can think of an endless amount of sentences using "nauseous" that are ambiguous: [subject + copula + nauseous]. Any form of that sentence is ambiguous: "That dog is nauseous" (Is the dog feeling nauseated or is his pungent odor capable of causing nausea in others? Unclear). Or, do to paraphrase Bill Gates's example: "Making Google Glass so you don't get nauseous is really hard [because people will become nauseated at the sight of any Glasshole]". "Just to demonstrate how well language can deal with ambiguity, look at the Japanese language." Sorry, but do you speak Japanese? I do. I majored in it, lived in Japan for 5 years, and have a Japanese wife. Its ambiguity causes all sorts of problems in its spoken form, even for native speakers (although they're much better at picking up meaning from context than non-native speakers of Japanese, obviously, though they too are still plagued by ambiguities in the language). The very fact that they rarely use pronouns, clear tenses, prepositions, gender, singular or plural forms, and the like, results in a necessary back-and-forth unseen in English but that is common to Japanese conversations. And this is a great example of why we should strive to avoid ambiguity in English.
  • No I'm not saying it's are a problem only when used unintentionally, I'm saying it's a problem only when the term is used in a way that causes confusion (which happens when the speaker is not aware of the ambiguity of the word's meaning). When used the right way (as Gates did), there's no problem. You ask, why use those words when there are alternatives? There's no reason why you should NOT use them, as long as it's done right. Regarding "the dog is nauseous" - you seem to forget that sentences never stand alone without context. What kind of context would that be in which the meaning of that sentence would not be clear? The same applies to your "Google Glass" sentence. And of course to Bill Gates' sentence as well. Regarding the Japanese language (yes, I speak Japanese. Btw, no need to apologize!) - I am not saying that it doesn't cause confusion. My point is that the fact that it's even possible to communicate in a language with that level of ambiguity in grammar and terminology, demonstrates how well context can compensate for lack of clarity.
  • The fact that the word nauseous can, due to its ambigous and contradictory meanings, cause confusion is reason alone not to use it. That it needs additional context to illuminate the intended meaning makes language less efficient. I see no reason to use "nauseous" to mean "feeling nauseated" when we have a word that unambiguously means that already: nauseated. Thus, I'm with the Chicago Manual of Style on this one: using 'nauseous' as Bill Gates did is poor usage. Bill Gates should heed the words of Bill Shakespeare: "Brevity is the sould of wit". "There's no reason why you should NOT use them, as long as it's done right." The reason why you should not use them is because it promotes inefficiency in the language by continuing to popularize an ambiguous word. "Regarding 'the dog is nauseous' - you seem to forget that sentences never stand alone without context." Sure they do: "The dog is nauseated". No context but the meaning is clear; the sentence stands alone. "What kind of context would that be in which the meaning of that sentence would not be clear?" In almost any situation where that coversation is started with that sentence. I get home and my wife says "The dog is nauseous". It's immediately unclear whether she means the dog is feeling nauseated or the dog is makinger her nauseated. To determine the answer requires additional context and clarification: a waste of words and time. Had she simply said, "The dog is nauseated", I'd immediately know the dog is under the weather. And, if we didn't have so many people using "nauseous" to mean nauseated, in that more perfect world, she could say "The dog is nauseous" and immediately I'd know that the dog is making her nauseated. I'd never argue that something promoting inefficiency and confusion is preferable, particularly when the solution that problem already exists. Yes, languages like Japanese are evidence that even vague languages can still function to communicate effectively, but that doesn't mean that all languages are equally efficient. Spoken Japanese is evidence of that.
  • "I see no reason to use "nauseous" to mean "feeling nauseated" when we have a word that unambiguously means that already: nauseated." - When used properly in context, "nauseous" is just as clear as "nauseated". "... by continuing to popularize an ambiguous word" - Come on, it's not Bill Gates' or my fault when other people don't know how to properly use the word. Besides that, I have not once in my life come across a case of unclear use of the word nauseous, so what you think is being promoted by the use of the word, doesn't really exist. Regarding your "wife" argument: Of course you would know what she means by that. If you get home and your wife says "the dog is nauseous" and you can't tell from the way she says it whether she is being concerned about the dog's health or if the dog is driving her crazy, there's something wrong with your communication skills. I never said that all languages are equally efficient. All I say is that context compensates for a lot of grammatical and terminological unclarity, which is the case with the term "nauseous" This conversation is making me kind of nauseous ;)
  • The word "nauseous" requires context to make its intended meaning clear. The word "nauseated" does not. Therefore there is no good reason to use the former, ever. It's less efficient. Case in point, your rebuttal to my "wife" argument. She sent it by text message, so tone and body language are not options. Also, those fall under the "context" umbrella, reaffirming the superiority of the past participle, nauseated, over the ambiguous adjective, nauseous. If she sends a text saying "The dog is nauseated". I know exactly what she means. No context needed. It's a beautiful example of language working. If that text were to say "The dog is nauseous", it would be completely unclear. You may not have experienced that type of situation, as you claim, but that's irrelevant: the possibility exists, and that's enough to tilt the scales in favor of using "nauseated" instead. I'd rather see our language become more efficient, not more nebulous. Unfortunately, that battle has long been lost, to my chagrin. Nevertheless, I always appreciate a good academic discussion.
  • Bill you have to Wakeup Microsoft. The time is passing. Take over and the press will be in your side..
  • Microsoft is already awake my little human.
  • Interesting suggestion. I think you'd be likely to be correct. It was Steve Jobs' second term that made him a household name. Gates is probably remembered more fondly with the benefit of hindsight, which would be a strong start. That said, Nadella is doing a good job so be careful what you wish for.
  • Nadela is doing a good job but ge doesn't have Gates marketing name
  • At all.. Everyone would be dying to use WP if Bill was still in charge
  • Yes pretty amazing. Now, if they could just bring Cyan and Denim to the Lumia Icon, that would be pretty amazing too.
  • Windows 10
  • I would image Denim is a prerequisite for Windows. 10. And Cyan is a prerequisite for 8.1. The rest of the world will have Windows 10 on their phones and the Icon will still be stuck with 8.0
  • Windows 11
  • Bill is amazing. I wish he got as much praise as Steve Jobs. He deserves it more.
  • Thank u
  • Awesome. Bill Gates is a great person.
  • Thank you
  • I hope that there will be more information/videos for the HoloLens in the near future 
  • Yes. They will be
  • Bill gates is a common core supporter. If it wasn't for the fact that he left ms I wouldn't be buying any ms products. No way should people like gates be redesigning societies.
  • common core?
  • It's a new teaching curriculum that is supposed to get the majority of American public schools on the same page across the board. The Common Core has faced a lot of harsh criticism that it's ineffective and, in some cases, outright inferior to some states' existing systems. It's a very divisive topic currently since the one size fits all approach to schooling in the US doesn't really mesh well with the extreme cultural diversity and differing economic status we have.
  • He supports it because it's going to require millions of Office and Windows activations. ​
  • What a guy! I'd love him to be back properly working at MSFT.
  • He works on projects but not that much
  • How do u know about him..? R u a personal assistance..of bill..?
  • the best.:)
  • (:
  • Oops. I guess Gates didn't get the memo about HoloLens being "holography" and not "virtual reality." 
  • We miss you bill
  • Everyone would be using WP by now if he was still in charge :(
  • +1520
  • HoloLens is Augmented Reality, not Virtual Reality.
  • I love you Bill Gates... You are the meaning of Heal The World...From Microsoft to Bill & Melinda Gates...