Reply to post: Re: Time for some truly revolutionary GUIs?

The Windows 8 dilemma: Win 8 or wait for 9?

Nigel 11

Re: Time for some truly revolutionary GUIs?

Pretend that the hard problem has been solved, and a computer contains a weak AI that is capable of disambiguating natural language, that can filter your voice from others in the background, and work out the difference between input and meta-input (commands), and handle all the contextual mappings that are an instinctive part on natural language. (Personally I think that's fifty years to infinity away). But anyway,...

There's a subtle but significant difference between spoken / informal written communication (texts, memo pads), and formal written documents. There's also a not-so-subtle difference in how they are created. The former are linear, rarely revised, read once and thrown away, subject to question-and-answer clarification if unclear (conversation). Formal documents are usually not created in a linear fashion. They used to be written as drafts, with crossings out, arrows and boxes showing text relocations or insertions, etc. Then typed. With a computer one types and reads it back, and can do the editing as one goes. It's probably an improvement. But the key thing is, "how do I know what I think until I've read what I've written"? (A quote, possibly mangled). Speech has no part in this process - it would completely get in the way. Unless it's a play. In which case, the editing process likely involves listening to (and possibly watching) a rough and ready performance, and deciding what worked and what didn't.

BTW the reason why e-mail causes so many office embarassments, arguments, grudges and bust-ups is that it straddles the line between these two forms of communication, and what was intended as a conversation get interpreted as a formal document or vice versa. A genuinely useful AI would be capable of doing the same as a PA or a PR person - "do you really want to say that, because ..." Like I said, it'll be a long time coming.

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