Linked by David Adams on Wed 24th May 2006 04:08 UTC
Editorial It's conventional wisdom that computers need to be "easier to use." But do they? More reliable, yes. Easier to troubleshoot, yes. But now that so many people use computers so much, I think there's something to be said for making them less easy-to-use and less intuitive.
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Member since:

Precisely. The author doesn't take into account the nature of intelligent automation. Simple is good. One button that forces you to do a dozen things when six things is all you want done is bad. We want our lives more automated in order to save us time, but we strive to have that automation be as intelligent as we are.

Your example of VCR versus DVR is perfect. I know my ReplayTV has saved me hundreds of hours over the course of its use (a couple years) because it's able to make some decisions for me. The key to the future of computing in general, is designing them not only to mirror the decisions humans make, but also learn how humans make the decisions.

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hobgoblin Member since:

bayesian filters and similar?

didnt microsoft work on that? and one of the results from that was clippy?

Edited 2006-05-25 13:14

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AnalystX Member since:

Clippy is a poor example of intelligent design. It's biggest disadvantage is that Microsoft created it. There are two kinds of examples that exist on either end of the intuitive/intelligent scale.

On the more intuitive end, extending the desktop/folders/files metaphor to include tabbed file/web browsing. This has saved an untold amount of time for a lot of people. You couldn't pull off anything like the efficiency of tabbed browsing in a CLI.

On the more intelligent end, Stanley, Stanford's entry (and winner) into the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge, is a great example of a computer making decisions that a human would normally have to do.

Hopefully, those in the computer industry will see the same vision for augmenting everything from lifestyles to mundane tasks. If done right, general computing will be more like using Star Trek's LCARS, and everything else will be specialized in much the same way lawyers, doctors, carpenters, and accountants are. Personally I'd like to see robot lawyers. Justice might be better served, and if it isn't, we can recycle them into something more useful.

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