Linked by Kostis Kapelonis on Mon 29th Nov 2004 18:55 UTC
Editorial The IT sector today is a complete mess. The end-users rarely understand this, but most insiders reach a point when they realize that things should be different. The problems are numerous but they all reduce to a basic principle. IT and consumer electronics companies are interested more about money than helping people solve their problems. Of course companies need to make a profit and nobody denies that. They should however make money by helping people and not by creating more problems for them.
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by Dekk on Wed 1st Dec 2004 18:04 UTC

Instead of getting stuck in specific examples, focus on the overall message. While for expert users current interfaces may be fine, for the majority of novice as well as users for whom computers are a secondary tools, most current interfaces are too complex.

Ideally we'd have the StarTrek interface, also used in most ohter sci-fi movies, where people simply speak command in a plain human language (English). That way we could simply ask for a ABC recport or info on XYZ without worrying about disk directories, http,ftp,SOAP protocols, etc. Of course, we are still well short of this ultimate goal.

1) AI R&D is pathetic
While univerities are doing Artificial Intelligence research, there is little to no development and use in mainstream apps. IT and software industry is completely neglecting AI (with some exceptions).
To make computers easier to use we need to make them "smarter" so that they can understand our instructions without having to specify a great number of parameters, we need AI.

2) Little focus on automation, most efforts on features
New CPUs are starting to add multiple cores, so there is plenty of capacity for execution of many threads. Software could/should create extra threads to automate mundane tasks, such as disk mgmt,.... Given a certain configuration outlook automatically archives messages in background. Simple to program and saves me a lot of mgmt work.

Instead, IT and software industry is focusing on adding new features which of course have to be invoked manually. After all it is features that sell a new version, make a new version more valuable than the old one. If AI and automation were more aggresivelly used you'd actually remove features. How do you sell a new version that has less features?!?!?

The result is a code bloat, simple mindless piling of features, forms, windows and dialogs on top of one another, until the point where software is far too complex. The industry seems simply not to care.

There are not technical impediments to implementing at least some simple automation/AI features. File manager could perhaps "observe" user actions and "learn" about repetitve tasks, then perform (or offer to perform) them automatically. There are many possibilities, but the industry is not looking at them.

As the author suggested it comes down to money. There is more money in bigger more complex apps. More support, more features can be sold for more money, etc. OSS will have to take the lead, as users for the moment are not rebeling.