In this thoughtful essay, “From Computing Machinery to Interaction Design,” published in Beyond Calculation: The Next Fifty Years of Computing (1997), Stanford Human-Computer Interaction professor Terry Winograd considers how computers and interfaces might evolve over the next 50 years.
Summary: Winograd foresees three key trends in this evolution:
Many have envisioned a future populated by intelligent, even sentient computer-beings, created by us but independent of us. Winograd says this perspective is based on the false assumption that if we create machines capable of higher and higher levels of pure data-processing power, eventually all that number-crunching will somehow add up to artificial intelligence (AI).
“…the [early] mainstream AI effort rested on a view of human intelligence and action that implicitly assumed that all of intelligence could be produced by mechanisms that were inherently like the conscious logical manipulation of facts represented in language… what appeared to be inevitable trends were based on misconceptions about intellectual foundations.”
“The biggest advances will come not from doing more and bigger and faster of what we are already doing, but from finding new metaphors, new starting points… There are ways to open up a clearing in which new possibilities can be glimpsed, even if their full potential cannot [yet] be known.”