I’ve always been fascinated by human/machine interfaces. It might come from my days as a programmer, writing accounting, database, and office automation systems for small businesses. We’re talking 8″ double-sided double-density floppy disks days here, but it still taught me a lot about how people and computers interact, and how they should interact. The interfaces on GPS systems is a great example these days, but that’s a discussion for a different day.
Being a propeller beanie wearing, SF-reading, card carrying geek since before it was chic, I’ve seen my share of cool computer and AI concepts. While I would kill for a BrainPal from John Scalzi’s “Old Man’s War” universe, what I really lust for are the sentient ship’s computers/pilots of Robert Heinlein’s “Time Enough For Love.” There’s a reason that I often refer to my computers as “Dora.”
But we don’t have that yet. IBM’s Watson is getting there, but still needs a building to hold all of the processors and hard disk arrays and a small army to keep feeding data into it. When they have that, or at least direct and constant access to that, via a neural link of some sort, I’ll be more than happy to be a guinea pig to test it.
I occasionally play with Siri on my phone or iPad. I’m often disappointed, although I do like some of the more clever Easter eggs buried in the software. But they’re just tricks. Occasionally I’ll ask a question and actually get the answer I’m looking for, but most of the time I’ll get, at best, a “here’s what I found on the web” answer. Which is sort of useless if I’m driving and can’t read it. Like, duh, that’s the reason I was asking Siri instead of using Google, right?
Google’s better simply because you can type out your question and keep honing the exact question to get the results you’re looking for. But it’s not a great mobile interface.
No, I’m going to wait for Dora. Or my BrainPal.
Do you remember what John Perry named his BrainPal?
Want to guess what I’ll name mine?