Human Centered Computing 1

Computing was developed by humans, for use by humans, to advance human society. In a sense, all computing is human centered. Once humans successfully developed machines to augment their mechanical strength, they focused on developing machinery to augment their analytical abilities. The first analytical ability to be addressed and successfully solved was simple mathematical calculations. That resulted in different types of calculators leading finally to electronic computers in the middle of the last century. Augmentation of human analytical facilities was the primary goal behind the development of Computers, and that still remains the goal. Computing has definitely been evolving rapidly with advances in processing, storage, communication, sensing and related areas. Another driving force has been the emergence of increasingly challenging problems in different aspects of society that appear to be solvable using computing. Current interest in the so called ‘Human Centered Computing’ (HCC) is suggestive of new winds blowing in the computing community. This paper examines some fundamental issues in HCC and draws examples from some applications and proposes a perspective on what will facilitate bringing HCC closer to its goal.

HCC is combination of many powerful approaches evolving independently in many aspects of computing ranging from human computer interfaces (HCI), computer vision, speech recognition, and pervasive computing to virtual reality systems. But it is not just any one of those. It is a Gestalt of many emerging approaches and hence is much more than the sum of the techniques being pulled together. The goal of HCC is simply: by human, for human, and to advance human society.
In computing systems, it’s possible to create powerful interfaces using audio-visual techniques, but the performance of the system really comes from the content, data organization, and presentation mechanisms employed. Most of the real thing is behind the interfaces, which is just the face and is only skin deep. To design HCC systems that provide a compelling experience to people, quality content, carefully plan data organization and access mechanisms, and powerful presentation approaches are essential. Content is ultimately what’s interesting to users and hence its quality is the most important factor. Quality includes its credibility, depth, and timeliness. The challenges faced by HCC researchers are not limited to only HCI, or gestural approaches, but go deeper into what should be the correct organization of multimodal data coming from disparate sources, what is the best combination of multimedia sources to communicate the message or the experience, how should it be presented and distributed for the best subjective quality of experience, and how to help advance human knowledge and build stronger communities using these approaches.

(More soon.)

2 thoughts on “Human Centered Computing 1

  1. gl hoffman

    Hello Professor,

    This interests me quite a lot, but not from the same angle.
    I am making the assumption that search will continue to develop and think for me. The issue for me is how will that effort be monetized in the presentation process If history repeats itself, the presentation process will be the equivalent of flashing neon lights.

    I mean, do I really want to sit through, or sift through clutter and featured advertisers to see what I want to see?

    I am excited about something we are developing that is fairly disruptive in this area. As my mentor Mike Vance use to say, “creativity is not only thinking up new things, it is re-arranging old things in new ways.”

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts here, by the way.


  2. Ramesh Post author

    More on this topic is coming. I believe that GUI (or neon lights) are skin deep — you need to think how to organize and what to presnt then only how to present comes in.

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