San Francisco -- Speaking on Thursday at a forum in San Francisco, the CTO of Santa Clara-based chipmaker Intel made the bold prediction that the gap between humans and machines will close by 2050. "The industry has taken much greater strides than anyone ever imagined 40 years ago," said Justin Rattner. "There is speculation that we may be approaching an inflection point where the rate of technology advancements is accelerating at an exponential rate, and machines could even overtake humans in their ability to reason, in the not so distant future." Rattner said that Intel's research labs already are looking at human-machine interfaces and examining future implications to computing. On the not-too-distant horizon are technologies that could wirelessly recharge a laptop battery and change the physical shape of a computing device to suit the specific needs of its user, as well as autonomous robots capable of recognizing faces and interpreting and executing commands.