The Future of HCI: Intelligent User Interfaces as Agents of Change


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The predominant interaction paradigm for the last 30 years has been Direct Manipulation. This metaphor is starting to crack under the weight of information it has to deal with. The Indirect Management approach taken by systems such as Intelligent Agents aim to alleviate the cognitive load on users.

This presentation shows the constraints we face in the user experience field and some future opportunities and threats.

Published in: Business, Technology

The Future of HCI: Intelligent User Interfaces as Agents of Change

  1. 1. Future of HCI: Intelligent User Interfaces as Agents of Change Dr Christopher Khalil News Digital Media 7/2/2009 1
  2. 2. Future is hard to predict "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." -- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943 "Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." -- Lord Kelvin, president, Royal Society, 1895. "This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us." -- Western Union internal memo, 1876. "We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." -- Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.
  3. 3. Evolution of Man
  4. 4. Evolution slow
  5. 5. We have a Stone Age brain The Brains we are born with today are practically identical to those of Cro- Magnon man of 40,000 years ago “Since the time of Cro-Magnon man there has been no marked increase in man’s cranial capacity and probably little or no increase in his inherent intellectual ability… the intellectual evolution of the race, no less than physical, has slowed down until it has practically stopped” The Direction of Human Evolution By Edwin Grant Conklin
  6. 6. If Cro-Magnon man was around today He’d be just like us
  7. 7. Facing lots of information
  8. 8. Hitting us fast
  9. 9. But with a Stone Age brain Cro-Magnon man met as many people in year as we do in one day, PLUS all the information we have to deal with
  10. 10. It’s like Running the Internet It’s possible but not necessarily desirable On a Commodore 64
  11. 11. Information is: incessant, relentless & everywhere
  12. 12. How can we cope?
  13. 13. We augment I can’t see well
  14. 14. The physical I can’t get to places quickly
  15. 15. Computer Augments the Memory Who remembers phone numbers nowadays?
  16. 16. Computer Augments the Memory Anyone else think their spelling has deteriorated? “We shape our tools, whereafter our tools shape us.” – Marshal Macluhan
  17. 17. Yet, augmentation is failing Direct Manipulation is over 30 years old Apple Lisa: 1984 Xerox Alto: 1973
  18. 18. Hasn’t changed much Windows 7: 2009
  19. 19. Makes us do unnecessary interactions GOAL: I want to store information for later retrieval: ‘Save’ 1. Open Save ‘Dialog’: 2. Find appropriate file location (multiple appropriate places) 3. Place file ‘Retrieve’ 1. ‘Open’ dialog 2. Attempt recall at where you placed it 3. Search multiple places/versions 4. ‘Open File’
  20. 20. Not everything has a GUI Internet of things: Ambient Intelligence
  21. 21. Augmented Reality/ UBICOMP
  22. 22. Visual Bandwidth Limited Interfaces • Mobile • How to perform complex interactions? • On the move?
  23. 23. Another Metaphor From inanimate objects: To: Assistants
  24. 24. Indirect Management An Intelligent Agent is an autonomous entity which observes and acts upon an environment and directs its activity towards achieving goals Knows about you | Gets better with experience | Understands context | Proactive
  25. 25. Been tried before
  26. 26. Why now? semantic web computing power recommendation engines social connectivity location aware networked natural language processing multi-channel integration speech recognition planning and reasoning capabilities
  27. 27. Early Example: CALO DARPA Project - CALO: Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes Gigantic Join: Composing and Integrating Data across Applications Where should I go on holiday? How do I get the best fare? What What is it like there? How Travel Travel Where Services Interests Who Places Where should I stay? to go What People who have been there What do I need to know about it? Photos, blogs, news stories
  28. 28. Agents leverage their Networks Me
  29. 29. Overcomes some problems Ambient Intelligence: • ‘Keep it warm in here, stock up on food’ Mobile on-the-go: • ‘Find me a cheap flight that leaves in 2 hours’ Augmented: • ‘I know you hate driving in the CBD so I’m going to try and find a better route, is that ok?’
  30. 30. 10,20,50,100,500 years… Technology will come What’s the problem?
  31. 31. Trust Disruptive technologies bring fear – loss of control
  32. 32. Gen Z Never known a life without the internet Never known a life without mobiles
  33. 33. What for us Wireframes: Specify literal behaviour Contracts: Define boundaries •Closer to Service Design than IxD •Emergent System Intelligence •Unpredictable
  34. 34. HCI or HCSymbiosis Symbiosis of human/machine is not coming, its already here Humans splintering their personality – Avatars live on in virtual world once they have ‘disconnected’
  35. 35. Human Evolution Pt 2 Symbiogenesis The biologist Lynn Margulis contends that symbiosis is a major driving force behind evolution. She considers Darwin's notion of evolution, driven by competition, as incomplete and claims that evolution is strongly based on co-operation, interaction, and mutual dependence among organisms. According to Margulis and Dorion Sagan: "Life did not take over the globe by combat, but by networking.”
  36. 36. Agents of Change UI Agents could be agents of change: For better: For Worse:
  37. 37. Thanks Email: Twitter: chris_khalil Web: