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The Unfinished Revolution: Human-Centered Computers and What They Can Do for Us

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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 fo 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.


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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 fo 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.

49 review for The Unfinished Revolution: Human-Centered Computers and What They Can Do for Us

  1. 5 out of 5

    Gareth Kay

    This book may feel a little dared now but is still important as a) the guide for what Google has done and b) what technology still fails to do more often than not. Revisit this every couple of years

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Sammis

    The Unfinished Revolution begins with the same thesis statement as The Humane Interface: computers and applications are too complicated. I agree but only to a point: operating systems are often too complicated for the average user to debug or modify but the basic ways in which computers are used on a day to day basis are fairly straightforward. The Unfinished Revolution proposes to fix this unwanted complexity through a combination of voice activated software, XML tags and collaboration. With the The Unfinished Revolution begins with the same thesis statement as The Humane Interface: computers and applications are too complicated. I agree but only to a point: operating systems are often too complicated for the average user to debug or modify but the basic ways in which computers are used on a day to day basis are fairly straightforward. The Unfinished Revolution proposes to fix this unwanted complexity through a combination of voice activated software, XML tags and collaboration. With the hundreds of languages spoken in the world and the thousands of dialects, it is impossible to expect voice activated programs to work efficiently or intuitively. Take for instance how frustrating the few voice operated phone tree systems some companies use to direct calls. Nothing gets me swearing at my phone faster than one of those voice operated trees! XML is certainly a powerful and flexible language and it is making the internet more flexible through things like RSS and for the way database results are presented on dynamically generated pages (Amazon's catalogue and BookCrossing are prime examples). But XML and tags (the blog model) are not the catch-all answer to all of complexity to using computers. Amazon.com's new tag cloud for recommendations, their new "plog" which I can't figure out how to turn off, and their instance on having reviewers tag their reviews are new "blog features" about Amazon that I absolutely hate. Amazon.com is not a blog; it is a vendor. It sells books, music and a whole bunch of other stuff. It isn't a blog. I don't want to go there to read blog entries. Finally that brings up the problem of collaboration. Yes, there are times when people have to collaborate over distances for work, education, and what-not. But that doesn't mean I always want to go to my friends or family first for recommendations on things. My friends and family have very different tastes than I do on a number of things. They aren't necessarily unbiased enough to give me the pros and cons when I'm searching for information. On the flip side, I'm not sure I want my computer searched without my knowledge! So far I've yet to read a book that seems to see computers the same way I do. I don't often find myself wasting my time — certainly not on email or searching the internet. Spam filters are wonderful devices when programmed correctly and Boolean logic makes searching a snap if the information exists on the internet. When the internet fails, there is always the library!

  3. 4 out of 5

    James King

    This is a great book with tremendous vision for what technology can accomplish. The book is slightly dated but you can see hints of the authors technology vision in a large number of applications that we currently use every day. If we can fulfill 80% what the vision in this book, technology will certainly make our lives easier.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ariel Rodriguez Rodriguez

    Dertouzos, one of my personal heros, was a strong proponent of the "human centered computing", and this book, where he talks about Oxygen, is a description of a what can be achieved with a lot of imagination, and the desire to put humans, and not computers, at the center of the scene. Dertouzos, one of my personal heros, was a strong proponent of the "human centered computing", and this book, where he talks about Oxygen, is a description of a what can be achieved with a lot of imagination, and the desire to put humans, and not computers, at the center of the scene.

  5. 4 out of 5

    David

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michael Ferguson

  7. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Fodor

  8. 4 out of 5

    Chad

  9. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mark Sarimanolis

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lefteris

  12. 5 out of 5

    Stavros

  13. 4 out of 5

    Giulio

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jim

  15. 4 out of 5

    Azzaz

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bob Ryskamp

  17. 5 out of 5

    Subhajit Das

  18. 5 out of 5

    Gregory Davrazos

  19. 4 out of 5

    Hes Tallman

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ratty Black

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jerry Hilts

  22. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bobby

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jake

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amber

  26. 4 out of 5

    Korbodogmail.Com

  27. 4 out of 5

    Charles Mcclain

  28. 5 out of 5

    Vicky

  29. 5 out of 5

    Piyush Chokshi

  30. 4 out of 5

    Zac Matthews

  31. 4 out of 5

    Tim Kadlec

  32. 4 out of 5

    Chiara

  33. 4 out of 5

    Terry Kuny

  34. 5 out of 5

    Girish

  35. 5 out of 5

    Gabe Mounce

  36. 4 out of 5

    Robert

  37. 4 out of 5

    Cezar Popescu

  38. 5 out of 5

    Edward Betts

  39. 4 out of 5

    Rafael

  40. 4 out of 5

    Rayo VM

  41. 5 out of 5

    Ronald

  42. 4 out of 5

    Zhetrina

  43. 5 out of 5

    Revati

  44. 4 out of 5

    Jared Dial

  45. 4 out of 5

    Eva Pineda

  46. 4 out of 5

    John

  47. 5 out of 5

    Elmo Honors

  48. 4 out of 5

    Nate Swanberg

  49. 5 out of 5

    Kim

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