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 â€˜Human Centered Computingâ€™ (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, itâ€™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 whatâ€™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.