SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) -- The global information technology (IT) industry is moving from the era of personal computers to a new era of personal computing, a shift that is expected to transform technology, enterprise sectors and society as a whole, a senior executive at Microsoft Corp. predicted.
"The integration of a wide range of devices, cloud services, and natural experiences that span the technology ecosystem will enable truly personal computing -- nothing will work in isolation, and everything will work for you," Craig Mundie, Microsoft's chief research and strategy officer, told Xinhua in a recent written interview.
Several technology trends will be critical in driving the new era of personal computing, among them is the blending of digital and physical worlds, said Mundie, who is responsible for Microsoft 's long-term technology strategy and overseas the software giant's large computer-science research division.
"When we blend digital and physical together, we get something completely new. In the future, neither the physical world nor the digital world will be sufficient by itself," he said.
According to Mundie, another notable technological trend is the so-called "big data," or the generation of massive amounts of data.
"At the same time, we are developing some exciting new ways to analyze data, which can help us see patterns or relationships that were previously hidden. All this generates valuable insights," he said.
"To tap into the latent value of big data, we'll need machine learning -- technology that learns from experience," he added.
The Microsoft executive also pointed out that computing systems are now gaining human-like perception, a better ability to see, hear and understand their human users, as natural user interfaces including voice, vision, gesture and multi-touch are becoming more prevalent.
"Combining this enhanced perception with big data and machine learning, these systems are beginning to understand our intent and context. This makes it possible for computers to really help us and even work on our behalf," he noted.
Citing the anticipated breakthroughs in computing, Mundie said he is "extremely optimistic" about the role technology will play over the coming years in addressing many societal challenges globally, across both developed and emerging markets.
"Many of these -- including education, healthcare, and environmental issues -- will get a significant boost from technological advances," he said.
Taking education as an example, Mundie projected that the sector will go through a revolution "with the increasing accessibility of low-cost computing devices and massively connected educational opportunities."
"This will have a profound effect on our society globally," he said.