Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Book Review - Jack

Chapter 5
The book brings up automation at this point. There is an example of a house with a number of sensors which acts dynamically with the inhabitant. The house modifies its temperature, lighting and other aspects according to the user's input. The author describes this house not as intelligent but rather adaptive. This brought up the idea of the turing test in my mind. If the house is capable of simulating the the behavior of the human would it not be able to somehow pass a modified Turing test and beyond that, would this not constitute intelligence or thought?
The book then looks at the difference between automation and augmentation, and the role of each. The author seems to think that automation should be saved for difficult and repetitive tasks. I agree that in most cases only the most annoying and time consumming tasks should be addressed first in automation. On the other hand, it seems short sighted to say think that only the certain things should be automated as there are tasks which seemed menial a few years ago which are now effective. Ex. self checkout at grocery store.

Chapter 6
Human computer interaction remains al issue and major hurdle with technology. People are still using century old technology in the form of keyboards because there has yet to be a device created which grants the user the same control over the computer. Voice recognition is still slow and somewhat glichy although it is improving and only recently have touchscreens become reliable enough for comfortable use. The author attributes the difficulties of human computer interaction to the need for:
Rich complex and natural signals
Predictability
A good conceptual model (the user has an idea of how it works
understandable output
feedback to user
natural mappings (like talking or writing)

Chapter 7
The author seems to think the future may involve adding interaction to more and more items we use. Very little information here.

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