The Unfinished Revolution: Human-Centered Computers and What They Can Do for Us
If our cars were as difficult to drive as our computers are to operate, they would never leave the garage. Yet everyday we put up with infuriating complications and incomprehensible error messages that spew forth from our technology: software upgrades crash our machines, Web sites take forever to download, e-mail overwhelms us. We spend endless time on the phone waiting for automated assistance.
In effect, we continue to serve our machines' lowly needs, instead of insisting that they serve us -- a situation that will only get worse as millions of new mobile devices arrive on the scene.
Our world doesn't have to be this way. It shouldn't be this way.
Wouldn't it be great if using your computer was as effortless as steering your car? In The Unfinished Revolution, Michael Dertouzos introduces human-centered computing a radical change in the way we fashion and use computer systems that will ultimately make this goal possible.
The Unfinished Revolution is nothing less than an inspired manifesto for the future of computing. Dertouzos's vision will change how businesses, organizations, and governments work with each other, and how individuals interact. It represents the dawn of a new era in information technology.
Human-centered computing goes well beyond the empty promises of "user-friendly" interfaces. At its foundation are five key technologies that will dramatically amplify our human capabilities: natural interaction, automation, individualized information access, collaboration, and customization. Human-centered systems will understand us when we speak to them; will do much of our routine brainwork for us; will get us the information we want, when and where we want it; will help us work with other people across space and time; and will adapt on their own to our individual needs and desires.
By exploiting these five emerging technologies in combination -- in our professional specialties and in our personal lives -- we will see a vast increase in our productivity and a marked change in the ways we live and work. Human-centered technologies will make computers simpler, more natural, and more useful to us. The collective benefits of human-centered machines will give ordinary people capabilities that go beyond those enjoyed today by the most privileged. Human-centered systems will give us the gaspedal, brakes, and steering wheel of the Information Age.
When can all this happen? Dertouzos says the time to start is now. You can begin simplifying and improving your relationship with computers today. Dertouzos offers dozens of scenarios that illustrate the potential of human centered computing, as well as a preview of the MIT Oxygen project -- a prototype now under development that aims to make pervasive human-centered computing a reality. Dertouzos also provides the new century's first glimpse of how upcoming information technology advances will significantly improve our lives and truly revolutionize our relationships with the computer.
This is a book for everyone, professionals and nonspecialists, who yearn for machines that live up to the grand promise of the Information Revolution -- fulfilling real human needs with greater simplicity -- that still lingers unfulfilled. The Unfinished Revlolution is for those who want to enhance their computer productivity and fun, in short, for every person who wants to do more by doing less.