Re: Time for some truly revolutionary GUIs?
> Pretend that the hard problem has been solved
> There's a subtle but significant difference ...
I agree. However, the key is to not think of this as any one form of input supplanting all others.
The whole "secret" is to provide an interface than can utillise many forms of input, depending on what is suitable, optimum or even physically possible (given the range of physical limitations that people can have).
I also agree about emails - and also about forum posts. However ISTM there are many flame-wars that start or get out of control because purely textual content doesn't convey intonation, jocularity, seriousness or any other emotions. So it's left up to the reader to guess, ascribe or project the emotional content of written content - depending on the mood they are in - or what medication they are (or should be) taking. On the opposite side, I wonder how much "confusion" has occurred from people typing "not" when they mean "now" and vice-versa?
Other forms of interface could also empower automatic translation: thus enlarging the sphere of communications and (as Douglas Adams pointed out) vastly increasing the scope for confusion and misinterpretation to global proportions.
We also need to remember, that most of the working practices that we have now, are the result of the limitations of the tools we have available. A greater number of forms of interaction would also expand the form and content of the material we produce with it. I think that's why so many comments here are so scornful of voice as the only alternative: they have not considered that practices, content and form will evolve and adapt as more possible ways of interacting become available. Throat or ear microphones (which have been around for decades) and maybe sub-auditory sensing methods being the obvious response to all the nay-sayers.
What we need to do is look over the parapet and use our imaginations. Instead of saying "such-n-such will never work because ... (of limitations that only exist in the present, or in our minds) " and look for ways to improve things and THEN to look for ways to implement them. Rather than for people to always stick with what they are familiar with and rejecting all new possibilities, simply because they don't like change.
The one thing we know about IT is that change DOES happen - except in the world of UIs, where we still seem to be stuck with 19th century manual input formats and 1970's style GUIs and mice. And it seems to be the GUIs that account for all the criticism that W8 has attracted. You'd hope that soeone, somewhere would be trying to break away from all that.