Intel CEO Paul Otellini used his CES keynote to describe the future of the Internet as bringing the information and tools users need at any given time for any given personal situation and to rock out with Smash Mouth.
The next phase of the Internet is beyond push media and RSS, and more proactive, predictive and context aware, Otellini said. He dubbed his vision the "personal" Internet.
As a demonstration of this more advanced Internet, Otellini created a scenario of traveling in China, using a device that with GPS and mobile broadband allows you to navigate around cities easily, getting instant translations of signage in foreign languages. He also demonstrated real-time speech-to- speech translation (from Chinese to English and vice versa), and EveryScape, a Web application that provides full panoramic views of cities as a way to get around and find locations.
Getting back to Intel, Otellini said the point of the demo was the need for exponentially more powerful processors and exponentially lower power processors, capable of performing real-time translation and augmented reality on mobile devices.
He also said that we need higher levels of broadband connectivity and penetration, and search needs to move from searching for information to finding information proactively. "The problem is that the Internet needs to know about you, so the impetus on the industry is to provide the security and privacy consumers need to enable this kind of service," Otellini said.
This more "personal" Internet also needs much improved user interfaces, with gestures, motion and facial expression.
To demonstrate some of the user interface concepts, Otellini brought Smash Mouth lead singer Steven Harwell on stage.
With help from eJamming (peer-to-peer virtual jamming in real time) BigStage (life-like avatars with expressive gestures), Virtual Heroes (realistic virtual humans) and Organic Motion (motion capture), Smash Mouth performed what Otellini called the first ever live virtual jam session.
Otellini isn't offering anything new in his vision for the future, but unlike most keynoters offering visions of the future he backed it up with a compelling demo using existing and near term technologies. Mere mortals can't seamlessly and easily duplicate the synthesis of products that Otellini's team put together for the demo, but he expects the barrier to be removed in the next three to five years.
While Otellini was playing to the consumer electronics crowd, he could have shown scenarios for health care, education and other domains that show the potential to harness the Internet in more advanced ways with existing technologies and those on the near horizon.
Otellini left the audience with a quote from Intel founder Bob Noyce to ponder: "Don't be encumbered by history, go off and do something wonderful." For Intel the wonderfulness is expressed in selling billions of transistors per second.