Microsoft: You won’t be Using that Qwerty Keyboard Forever

Given the vast number of users who are proficient with Qwerty keyboards, the presence of a Qwerty-like interface on most mobile devices, and the lack of a viable replacement for the Qwerty keyboard … I kind of doubt this will happen in our lifetimes.

Microsoft’s chief envisioning officer Dave Coplin believes that the days of using a Qwerty keyboard to interact with computing devices are numbered. In an interview with the UK’s Evening Standard newspaper, Coplin stated that it was bizarre that today’s workforce was still relying on technology invented in the 19th century. Coplin mentioned the Qwerty keyboard as one of those technologies that is a “sub-optimal design”.

If you thought that Coplin was referring to keyboards with different layouts, then you are wrong. Instead, he made the point that other input technologies such as voice or gestures would take over.

We’re looking at technologies now like voice and gesture recognition, and facial tracking that may make the keyboard redundant.

Mr. Coplin, who works on Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana, believes furthermore that computing will become a full body experience like in the 2002 movie Minority Report.

No Qwerty keyboards anymore?

das keyboard model s professional

Technology has without doubt introduced new ways to interact with machines in recent time. Advancements in voice recognition have made — basic — voice interaction with the computer a thing.

Then there is virtual reality and gestures that play a bigger role in certain applications, and of course AI that is put as a stamp on anything these days.

While it is certainly true that the ride moves towards keyboard-less controls for certain activities, we are far from reaching a Star Trek or Minority Report like interaction with computers and electronic devices.

Assistants or AI may help you with basic tasks such as finding the nearest restaurant, picking up an Uber or booking a flight, but they are fairly limited when it comes to more complex tasks.

Ever seen someone code a program by voice or using gestures? What about editing a photo in Photoshop, using a CAD program, or writing a response to a blog post?

Of those examples, only the latter is somewhat realistic but it still requires manual editing to correct transcription errors.

There is another issue that needs to be addressed in this regard. Imagine that what Coplin said was true. Phones come without keyboard anymore because it is not needed. Now imagine being in a place with a lot of people who all talk to their phones at the same time, and get responses from their phones as well.

Has anyone ever thought about this as an issue that needs to be addressed before the new technology enters mainstream?

I honestly cannot see this happening in the next ten years unless some breakthrough tech is invented. Maybe something that taps right into your brain as it would do away with voice, gestures and all other forms of interaction with devices.

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