Doing with Images Makes Symbols (1987)

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welcome to the distinguished lecture series I'm Karin Matthews of university
video communications our program is designed to enrich graduate and upper-division curricula with academic
presentations by top computer scientists from industry its speakers and topics
were nominated by computer science faculty of more than 50 universities
this presentation is sponsored by the higher education Marketing Group at
Apple Computer dr. Alan Kay a pioneer in computer human interaction received his
PhD in computer science from the University of Utah in 1969 he joined the
artificial intelligence project at Stanford and in 1970 became a founding
principal of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center where he remained for 10
years after Xerox he was chief scientist of Atari since 1984 Alan has been an
Apple fellow with the charity to explore new ideas for Apple's future his talk
today is doing with images make symbols communicating with computers it's our
pleasure to introduce dr. Alan Kay Allen
thank you this is a talk about the only computer most of us ever see the one
that's acted out on the stage of the screen called the user interface design
user interface in many ways is a second
stage of development after the operating system because the operating system as
we all know was a layering of software that tried to turn a sometimes poor
designed machine into one that was more
fruitful for the software environment the user interface tries to do the same
thing it tries to design a special kind of machine that's very understandable
very efficient for the person who uses it without removing any of the things
that the machine can actually do this talk is too short to include all of the
people that can contribute it to user interface over the years I'm just going
to pick out a few that particularly struck me along the way and illustrated
by means of examples so in order to get started let's go back 25 years to the
what must seem like the pleistocene age for most people in universities today to
the dawn of some very important idea and first was the very first personal
computer which you see on the slide here this is a machine called the link it was
designed at Lincoln labs in 1962 by Wes Clark and it's my vote for the first
personal computer ever done you see it has a display and a keyboard and has
some funny little things that look like deck tapes but were actually originally designed for this machine and one of the
design criteria for this machine was it was supposed to be small enough on the
desk so that a person could see over it so one of the ideas that this machine
should not be intimidating and about 2,000 of these were built in the 60s
mostly for biomedical technicians who didn't have a mainframe to at their
disposal and didn't want to hire programmers to use it they wanted something that they could build set up
experiments themselves do their own programming and remarkably at a very
large number of the original 2,000 are still in use today 25 years later the
reason is is that among other things nervous systems of animals haven't sped
up in those years and so a computer that worked very well back then for doing
neurological experiments works very well today something else was happening at
Lincoln labs in 1962 and that was the invention of computer graphics Ivan
Sutherlands sketchpad probably the most significant single thesis ever done
remarkable program in many ways even today as we'll see by looking at this
tape this tape is from the very first
from the very first movie of sketchpad
taken in the summer of 1962 so this is 25 years old rubber bands you're
familiar with but look at what he's doing he's pointing at the edges and saying I want them to be all mutually
perpendicular and sketchpad just figured out how to do that
sketch pad is the first system to ever have a window he's actually drawing on a
virtual sheet of paper about 1/3 of a mile on a side and again to get
something he wants he simply sketches it in roughly and then gives rules like be parallel and perpendicular and sketchpad
figures out and solves the problems here the rule is collinearity so that the
dashes lie directly over the guidelines below the sketch pad was able to solve
very complicated problems in real time
involving both linear and nonlinear systems of constraints so it was the
first non procedural programming system and considerably more powerful in the
spreadsheets of today so he's made a hole in the flange continuously zooms
back now he wants to make a rivet and
again we see why it's called sketch pad he just draws a rough shape uses the
center of the cross bar there as the
center of the arc and then points to the
edges and says I want these to be mutually perpendicular again solving
that forces the cross bar to change which forces the arc to change which
gives you a perfectly symmetrical rivet
Annie shows that how no matter how you distort it when he turns the
problem-solver on it will come up with a symmetrical solution and he could have
made it more complicated he could have constrained the side lengths to be ratios of each other or tied to some
other drawing in the in the environment
now another important idea seen here for practically the first time is that of
master drawings and instances he was working on a master drawing and what he
has here now is an instance of that the
instance can be rotated and scaled and positioned so he's going to insert the
rivet in the hole by the way the sketchpad was the first system in which
it was definitely discovered that the light pen is a very bad input device the
blood runs out of your hand in about 20 seconds and leaves it numb and in spite
of that it's been reinvented at least 90 times in the last 25 years
here's another instance of the rivet another one display is jumping around
like that because this they didn't even really have computer displays back then
the tx2 is putting up every dot by brute
force he didn't like the crosspieces so he goes to the master drawing makes them
transparent lo and behold we see dynamically that the rivets the instance
rivets have felt that change so sketchpad is also the first
object-oriented software system I once asked Ivan Sutherland how could you
possibly have done the first interactive
graphics program the first non procedural programming language the
first object-oriented software system all in one year he said well I didn't
know it was hard it's nothing like this before and here he's showing that every
instance that you make of something
every master can create instances so he's making a bunch of copies of the
whole in the in the flange I'd like to
tell you where you could go to buy a system as good as sketchpad but I don't
know where because there isn't anything like it even on the market today 25
years later it was a one-of-a-kind thing it ran on a machine much larger than the
studio that I'm recording the talk on that was the last computer large enough
to have its own roof the United States that mammoth machine had all of 460 K
bytes and executed about one hundred thousand instructions per second which meant that this machine the
supercomputer of 25 years ago was about the size of a 512 K Macintosh so what
you saw there on the screen could be done on any of the desktop computers
today but nobody is doing it something we should think about just why now
moving ahead just a couple of years we see another pioneer Douglas Engelbart
the fellow who invented the mouse the black-on-white display and the first
person to successfully implement hypertext something that everybody is
talking about today and he did something else that was almost obscene even by
today's standards he actually went and studied his users so he would poke
around in people's offices and see the way people actually worked in offices
and he discovered something funny that even after 16 years of schooling that
people wouldn't sit hunched over their desks the way they've been taught think of it a tremendous failure in American
education 16 years of being taught to sit hunched over a desk and people would
still scoot around in their office chairs and put their feet up on their desk and and so forth an ankle Bart said
well why the heck should we make people hunched over their desks to use their personal computers why not build
something into the in this case it's a lap board that's built into the arm of
the chair that so as the person moves around the room and does all the things
they're used to doing with their chair he is able to also use his computer
navigation equipment here's an example of angle Bart's system as of about 20
years ago in a live demonstration from San Francisco he is sitting in San
Francisco in an auditorium with about 3,000 people and his group and the
machines and the rest of the paraphernalia are in Menlo Park about 35
miles away program that I'm going to
describe to you is quickly characterisible by saying
if in your office you as an intellectual worker were supplied with a computer
display backed up by a computer that was alive for you all day
and was instantly responsible responsive
infini responsive to every action you had how much value could you drive from
that well this basically characterizes what we've been pursuing for many years
in what we call the Augmented human intellect Research Center at Stanford Research Institute so look what else we
can do in here I've got this file that's structured if I want to see what's in
there I can walk down [Music]
the hierarchy levels in C or return but
there's another thing I can do there's a route I said I got here
that's a
I've already seen
too much and so we have this teacher structure on
material they articulate in the move around when we get a hierarchy
[Music] such as I can show you here
I can do things that might work we'll just say I'd like to interchange the
argument and materials and go and
they're all numbered right I care too low interchanging them very quickly
cancer gonna get interchange the part of us
that do it and all gets renumber so i've
ways of studying over making different views moving around going to specified
points and modifying the structure at
the same time I seem that I have a repertoire of different entities my
character replace a character make that
P so I have entities of all sorts that I
can say I want to do operations on and the space a structure I can move over and study and get about very quickly so
that is the essence No
that's the essence of the tool you have a lot of details and that's why good
feedback here our characters have show me the different viewing by them there's
a few specs they get bars at times it looks I can put single strokes to change
those new parameters and each of those
means something to me and they're being larger particular times tells me I can
give a very quick abbreviation for changing the view so I can say I'd like
to go to produce but I'd like to go to
produce they get big I'd like to say one branch only and let me look just that
low when I see it oh I can say I'd like
to see one line only I can see so these
ways I move around the way I get feedback up here the way I use both
hands to coordinate and tell the computer what come in and watch short
literals I want carefully designed to go
together to make the repertoire I like the link to go and I don't know
what his terminal is right now so I have to ask for somebody connect me to him
audibly audio Lee so girl will you come
in through this intercom I I need to
know what terminal you're on though 13 okay I like a few texts and so this is
the thing if I label 13 will switch switch over just like he sees my well
exited and sure enough does what's that running on well he's looking at text he
flag has something to say about it so we put on marker sparkly control so he's
sitting in a no-parking at this text and he write to it but we've carefully
reserved from either right to crawl on operate on us so my blog is more power
than yours but we can have argument yeah
so so in case you've been listening
we're going through lots of samples and setup and collaboration here so we can
go on international fuel and we set up now audio company and we're both looking
at the same delay and that we've handy to work we talk to each other and maybe later I hand you the talk on
this before like saying you control the latest mode and added a feature
hardware-wise available to kind of decide we have item to see you working
on it so before I can do that I have to set up my play in a certain way
set it up so I see it over like that leaves a corner up there I say now cuter
good the mag switching to bring in a camera picture the camera mounted on his
caudal such a camera mounted on - hi bill that's great now we're connected
audio you can see my work you can point out it and I can see your face and we
can talk so let's do some collaborating
so Engelbart had a complete vision of what this was going to be like years
before all of the rest of us the vision included not just some of the ideas
about how people were going to react and interact with the machine but also that
since people aren't natural born Hermits in fact we're all really communications
junkies Engelbart realized that any kind of a Doozer interface design must
include person-to-person collaboration through the medium of the machine and so
as the very first set of ideas that they had it wasn't just how you organized
your information and forms of n-dimensional hypertext but how you could share it how you could do
something much more than electronic mail but be able to do direct contact sharing
the information be able to point being able to talk to each other and being able to see each other we might compare
that with a very fragmentary vision of the current day micro industry which is
just struggling over decades to try and reach the vision that Engelbart had
almost in a complete form as early as 1962 another thing that's interesting if
we look at the the set up here of the mouse in one hand regular keyboard in
the center and a five finger keyboard on the left hand we see something that was
a very good idea and we may have noticed
something that was also a bad idea the very good idea angle Bart realized that
you really didn't want to spend most of your time going back and forth between
the regular keyboard and the mouse because you have to find the mouse you
have to find the keyboard and so forth stay at Engelbart wanted to set it up so
that you would spend a relatively long period of time in either of those two
ways of doing things either you'd be typing a paragraph of text or you
be doing lots of navigation and fixing single character errors and stuff and so
the Fivefinger keyboard working with the three button mouse is a way of doing all
the things that you could do with the keyboard so you could stay for a very long time and never touch the regular
keyboard and then the thing that they missed and they partially missed it
because of the inaccuracy of the analog mouse was the the what we call modeless
interaction where you indicate the object first and then give the command
because the mouse was inaccurate what they would do in the command instead of
just hitting something like a word or a character or a paragraph and then saying
something like move or going to some drag icon they would have to go and say
move word then wait for a mouse click to
indicate which word and by what you said to move like move word move character
move paragraph the program would know how fine to try and interpret the mouse
coordinates of got then after it had picked the object you then had to do a
command except so in order to move something you had to do four separate
actions which is quite inefficient even though we'd already set up a more
inefficient scheme than we use today for actually using the tools kind of an
interesting paradox that's sort of the way it way it goes now a few years later
1967 time period this is the first
personal computer that I worked on called the Flex machine did it with edy
Cheadle and this is a picture of it on its own display so by that time we'd
realized that we could build a desktop computer and of course this was a desktop computer for only very special
kinds of desks like those made out of steel so it weighed well over a hundred
pounds and it had two characteristics that were very noticeable one of them
was it was a tremendous coffee warmer you know these little black dual inline
packages that hold silicon the Macintosh
has about 50 of them or so that makes up a Macintosh back then you're lucky if
you could get eight or sixteen gates in one of these dip packages and so this
had about 700 of those and generated an enormous amount of heat and had a fan
that was likened to a 747 taking off the
other thing that was very noticeable about the machine is that the user-interface
tend to repel most of the people that we tried it on I was a designer of that
interface and I was really crestfallen that people regarded somewhat the way he
would if he lifted the lid on a garbage can and saw something moist and fuzzy
down inside very puzzled is how could we put all this work in the machine the had
a very powerful interactive object-oriented language that I had derived from similar graphic very high
quality graphics back it had one of the very first gadgets called the clipping
divider done at the same time as Ivan Sutherland in in Harvard and then
brought later brought out to Utah had a very large virtual screen that you could
map on to the physical screen it had
multiple windowing not overlapping windowing because it was a calligraphic
display lots of good stuff and yet it didn't fly with the people that we tried
it with and one of the insights as to
why this was and what to do about it came from early contact in 1968 with
seymour papert's logo work at Bridge school in Lexington Mass the whole idea
of children being able to program on a device that up to now had been in what
is called the glass house in industry it's that big room with air conditioning
and raised floor and so forth whole idea that this could be extended down at the
world of a child just changed my whole conception about what it was I went from
thinking of it as did anger Bart as some sort of super vehicle something akin to
a car as compared to IBM's Pennsylvania Railroad when from thinking of it as
that to something much simpler I thought of it now as media because cars we
withhold from children until they're 18 though I don't know why that's when they're most dangerous but we still
nonetheless think of until they're 18 media we never think
that way paper and pencil we want children to start using from the time they can grab
a crayon and so this work of PAP rates was critical in our understanding of
what was going on another thing that was
going on at Lincoln Labs was the first iconic programming it was done at RAND
Corporation the people who did the wonderful interactive programming
language Joss was done for economists
and other non computer specialists at Rand who had to compute and one of their
complaints about there aren't really they're only complained about Joss was
they said hey none of us can type can't you do something about that so that led
to the in invention of the first data
tablets called the ran tablet back then and this system from about 1968 called
Grail for graphical input language
this list of processes takes us back to the topmost level where we may start to
edit the flow table keyboard whatsoever first we erase a Chloe arrow then move
the connector out of the way so that we may draw a box in its place recognize he
wants that one in a box and made one the press recognising is and running
commentary only in this case the box is slightly too long change the size of the
window here's where Macintosh window control came from literally then draw
flow from the connector to the box
attach a decision element to the box enjoy flow from it to scan notice that
every command is not just iconic but also analogic new area and by that I
mean that it looks like the thing that you want so if you want to scrub
something out you scrub it out you want to draw a box you just draw a box it
recognizes he wants one makes one the same size but chop off a corner and
label it can you want characters you just make characters and it recognizes
those there no menus to reach to you're always looking directly at where you're working now notice it missed the end at
the end of sub scan there he saw and he hesitated but it's the world's first
modeless system so I was able to just go and change it without issuing any more
commands so that you see every command that's actually being issued and they're all in the form of direct action the
diagram from scan pose what a remarkable
system that was and when I saw that I
felt and used it for a half an hour in 1968 I felt like I was sticking my hands
right through the display and actually touching the information structures
directly those are the first system I'd ever used and practically the only one
since that I'd call truly intimate and it was this degree of intimacy that was
so important in a user interface I used to show this movie to my group at Xerox
PARC every three months or so so we wouldn't forget what we're trying to do another
thing that we saw in 1968 was tiny one
inch square first flat panel display done at the University of Illinois we
realized it was only gonna be a matter of years until you could put all of the electronics that we had in the Flex
machine on the back of a flat panel display you'd have something like this
which I later came to call a diner book back in 1968 when I made this cardboard
model I just thought of it as the machine of the future and started
thinking about what would it be like for millions of people to have one of these machines and so the metaphor became the
pencil what would it be like to have something like this as extant in the
world as a pencil and paper could people actually use it and the answer in 1968
and the early 1970s was no so one of the
ways I started thinking about answering the question is since we had failed at designing for adults and I remembered a
wonderful phrase of Marshall McLuhan's he said the I don't know who discovered
water but it wasn't a fish the idea is if you're immersed in a context you
can't even see it so we decided to follow seymour papert's lead and instead
of trying to diet designed for adults we would try and see what this Dynabook of
the future would be like for children and then maybe hope that some of it
might spill over into the adult world so children were an absolutely critical
factor here and the first stuff I did in
my notebook in 1970 he was called Kitty Comp and here's what it first looked
like it's gonna be built out of a sony tummy trying to Tron and then Xerox PARC
came along with some wonderful almost open charter funding and a very
interesting culture these are the bean bags that were so famous at Parc and one
of the reasons we use them we discovered that it was impossible to leap to your feet to denounce somebody once you sat
in a beanbag chair because you tended to sink into it further and further so it
had a way of relaxing people I was very good for design and then we started
experimenting so he built this machine which was a very very high resolution
way of displaying video images and the
first fruits of that was this font editor the first font editor done by Ben
laws and all of a sudden you could get
images like this that it was quite
possible to mimic the high quality printing images on a bitmap display we
got very interested in that trying some of these ideas out on children we
discovered they didn't always like there you might zoom in on that they didn't
always like to have their rough drafts look like they've been printed by the
New York Times so some of the children said well what we really would like to have for rough drafts is our own
handwriting so they use this font editor and put it in their own handwriting and
that was a way of instantly telling when
you looked at a document just how finished it was intended to be and the
bitmap display also allowed us to do sketching and drawing as well as Chris
computer graphics and again one of the things that had not been possible before
is doing real design on a computer before people always design in the back
of an envelope and then brought the back of the envelope to the computer as a way
to render it but here what we'd hope for is that people would actually stay with
the computer for the better part of the day and we put a lot of effort into making this display be something you
could look at for 6 or 7 hours without ice drain next envisionment of this was
a little system we called mini-com and this was the summer of 1971 and we went
consistent to a considerable direction in thinking about making this
and then we also did some dynamic
animation as we'll see in a minute space war had a very important part in the
design of things because it was a conceptually simple precursor of all the
videogames we know today it should be something that a child could write for
himself now we started working on small
talk-- an object-oriented language based on Simula but also with a lot of look
back to what sketchpad then all of this led to the alto computer built mostly by
Chuck Thacker at Xerox PARC the first
workstation and led to all of the subsequent workstations and also led
directly to the Lisa and the Macintosh at Apple we used a improved version of
Engelbart's Mouse and in its early
stages we call it the interim Dynabook
we brought lots of children into Park to work on these machines and then we took
the machines down into the Palo Alto schools working with several hundred children in all here we are at Jordan
Junior High School around 1976 now let's
take a look at animated versions of some of the things that ran on this machine
and some of the things that the children did
so here's the famous Dynabook model and back then we wanted it to be like the
hewlett-packard calculator except to be a real live computer this is the
inspiration for all that we are thinking about is what it was going to be like here's been laws font editor being used
to make an A and Lydian cursive
most of these are taken from home movies
we shot with a 16 millimeter bollocks
here's the painting program this is something I designed in the summer of
1972 and Steve Purcell implemented it
here you see some hand character recognition it recognized the letter C
for as a command for drawing circles that was put in by John shock we were
experimenting with this at the time here's an L for drawing lines well the nice things about hand
character recognition is that you don't have to move very far to hit something
here's a d4 drawing which fires up the
painting program and I think you can see it has most of the features of the
well-known Mac paint on the on the Macintosh
the idea of actually being able to fashion your brushes right in the the
the combination of canvas and pallet itself was something that Purcell
thought up I think the idea of having
charcoal and airbrush effects was something that was also added at the
very beginning of this this program putting in specular reflections here's
an example of making a little brush a bunch of different dots pick it up and
you get some charcoal effects here's
some experiments for the very first experiments with windows dragging them
around by one corner opening their size at the other corner just like on the Mac
today making another one by going up to
the upper right hand corner typing something in it clipping the
stuff that's inside I think this is the very first actual test although we you
know of course we knew Windows we're going to work because there had been examples of Windows before this is the
very first test of them on a bitmap display and some experiments with the
user interface what they might be like to just manipulate them
here is one of the very first group of kids I can tell that because the there
aren't even display covers on the display we had to put in old cardboard
boxes to keep the kids from getting electrocuted this is a group of I think
sixth graders fifth or sixth graders and this is Adele Goldberg who later went on
to head the group after I left park and she was responsible for many of the
ideas in teaching the children we first
did logo like things in small talk such as this program and we also experimented
with with animated windows here's the very first test of an animated window
which we later abandoned because the machine wasn't quite fast enough but I
still think it's a nicer way of doing it we're instead of getting a just an open
frame that moves you actually animate all the text itself and have it have it
include the window so this is the alto
screen in early 1973 not long after the
alto had first started to work the alto
is actually a very powerful computer if
you could get to its microcode directly we could and the alto is able to animate
about 120 square inches of graphics in
multiple planes so you could do very complex two-and-a-half d animation
effects and this is something done by Purcell I think around the end of 1973
and that was really the machine we thought we had was a machine that you
could animate everything on it tying all
that stuff together with small talk we got a number of interesting things with
the kids here's one of the second level classes this was a 13 year old teaching
12 year olds and Marion had done one of the very first tools in small talk the
year before when she had learned it and she was a very outgoing ebullient young lady and
she wanted to teach a class and so we brought in we had five machines at the
time so he's had five children and we videotaped all of the 100 hours of it
and here's an example this is from 1975
of a program that looks very much like Mack draw it's an object-oriented
graphics illustrator you can select by
means of selection handles you can
change colors you can change the size so
the menu is being used on the lower right hand there and the the feedback is
coming in the window and the in the center the only thing that's really
interesting about this program is besides that it was done in 1975 which
is before you could buy it in a store as it was actually conceived designed and
implemented by a twelve-year-old girl after only a few months of programming
and small talk it took her about two weeks to do this and the size of the
program in small talk 72 was about a page long so part of our aim here was
not just to get people to be able to access things by means of the windows
but also to be able to do the equivalent of writing short essays and having them
take have great effect and one of the
things that is disturbingly true about most novices on computers is that about
two pages of program is the maximum they can handle they like to be able to spread it out use their visual field as
an extension of their short-term memory here's another example a 15 year old boy
again after a few months of programming in small talk 72 he was interested in
ham radio but really had gotten bored
with the tedium of drawing radio diagrams so he decided to make himself a
ham radio illustrator and has
quite sophisticated features you see here a pop up menu with often used
things like open and closed dots and he has a more extensive menu of iconic
shapes for the circuits down below so he can pick up a a battery symbol and
rotate it and put it in this is also done in in 1975 and it's one of my
favorite programs done by a child because less than ten years before this
a PhD had been awarded for a system that wasn't as good this program is about 80
lines of code long in Smalltalk 72 next
we have a program done by adults but for
the most part who had never programmed before they were professional animators that came to park in the summer of 74
and the thing that animators would like
to do is to see whether their animator animations are going to work before they have to go to film so that summer they
devised a variety of systems and this is
what every animator would like to do is draw the picture reach over into the
movie window grab the thing you've just drawn show it what to do have it
playback now of course it's not
squishing when it hits so it doesn't look quite real so he wants he goes to the steps there in the iconic menu and
when it gets down to the bottom here what he's going to do is replace that with a fresh drawing that's going to
come from another transparent cell that he overlays in the drawing windows on
the right hand side so the drawing windows can have several transparent
cells overlaid each other he uses the old one for registration purposes so
he's now drawing on an on another cell and that drawing will be inserted into
the animation as the animation goes and now the animator can see how much detail
he has to put into that squash drawing before we see it as actually squashing
any obviously has to at least put in the specular reflection on the ball there he
goes now we see it as a deformation even though it's a one frame change a program
was about five pages long which is longer than children can actually do but
here's a twelve-year-old girl that was
very interested in horses and so she
spent some time getting the correct gait and animating a horse across the screen
but then she wanted to feature that the adult animators hadn't put in and that
was to be able to combine two animations into a single one so she has the horse
animation going over there and here she has a jockey animation and she wants to
be able to pick it up and the in the act of actually combining she wants them now
to fuse into one drawing this is a feature that she was able to put in herself because even though she wasn't
capable of writing a 5 page program like the adults she was quite capable of
reading it in making a change in it and
here's the finished animation
now what we've just seen are some things that are familiar to us now in this day
of the micro computer we've also seen some things that people aren't yet doing
people don't usually sit down and do for themselves a complete tool like an
illustrator they go to the school store and spend several hundreds of dollars and yet here we see twelve-year-old
children coming up with the idea and being able to implement it and not only being able to implement it but being
able to implement it in a very compact form now why is that and why is this
such an important part of computer literacy now I think literacy has three
important parts to it there's an access part and in the print medium we call
that reading somebody else makes up the material and we have the skills to
penetrate that material and understand it access literacy second one is
creative literacy we don't think a person is literally if all I can do is
read we think they should be able to write and the English language is
powerful enough in its in its metaphor that we can do very strong expressions
of our own intent in just a page or two can start a revolution with two pages of
well couched prose programming languages just haven't been strong enough and easy
enough to understand but if we're ever to have computer literacy it is going to
have to have those two things as first order attributes and then the third
thing in computer literacy is that for anything that we can be literate in
there is a literature so when we read
Shakespeare we have to read Shakespeare with a completely different approach to
the genre of the Elizabethan age than we do from reading Mickey Spillane so
throughout the many centuries in which the English language has existed there are different genre that we have to be
able to adapt to that's the third form of literacy is genre literacy
and then the third thing in computer literacy is that for anything that we
can be literate in there is a literature so when we read Shakespeare we have to
read Shakespeare with a completely different approach to the genre of the
Elizabethan age than we do from reading Mickey Spillane so throughout the many
centuries in which the English language has existed there are different genre
that we have to be able to adapt to that's the third form of literacy is
genre literacy I'm gonna in this talk I'm concentrating mostly on the first
two and now I want to go and focus on why this stuff works and how we came to
some of these design decisions of course some of it was just haphazard and random
some of it we rationalized after the fact but some of it we actually thought
it through and were able to use stuff that had been done before so give you an
idea of how difficult it is to understand how the mind works let's take a look at this slide and see if we can
see what's wrong with it if you look at it for a while you'll see that the mouth
is is somehow upside down and maybe the
eyes something wrong with the eyes maybe they're upside down too and if I were
teaching in a school and trying to teach you about what had been done with this
slide I would say in English sentence like the following I'd say well here
we've taken a slide of a young girl extracted her eyes and mouth and put
them back in with an air brush and then turned the entire slide upside down
that's an English sentence and now that I've said that you can understand
everything about what it looks like when I turn it right-side up now given this
talk many times and I'm gonna have to move it backward because I've discovered nobody will listen to me when that slide
is on and from the many times I've given
the talk I know that there are gasps in the classroom when you saw that picture
because you weren't prepared for it even though I told you everything about what
had been done to it now perceptual psychologists really love when something
like this happens because it means that information going in through one channel the auditory channel to your
language processing centers elicited one kind of response to my sentence and when
you saw the actual picture through your visual channel it elicited a completely
different response and this is actually understood physiologically as well as
psychologically on the under right-hand side of your brain where you do face
recognition there are two pieces of brain tissue about an inch apart one of
them is an expert at faces it's a thing that allows you to see faces and clouds
the thing that scares children and Twilight they see menacing shadows and
it's reporting right now I see an upside down face like thing then about an inch
away is another piece of brain tissue there's an expert in eyes and mouth and
eyes and mouth only and it's saying well that's a good-looking mouth and those
are okay eyes there's very little dissonance between the reports of these
two separate pieces of brain tissue now when I go to this right-side up version
of the thing the face recognition guy is saying well that's a right-side up face
like thing and the eyes and mouth guy is saying something is terribly wrong here
and you can imagine why nature might have arranged for you to be startled
seeing a face like this up close might mean you're going to die in the next ten
seconds and effect it is built into all mammals something that we don't learn
but is in the mammalian nervous system so if you try this on a dog I suggest
you pick a small one so the basic idea
here is that we don't what we think of
as the unitary eye the unitary eyeness
of I myself and me is really a multiple set of different mentalities that
apparently came about during different evolutionary periods the mentalities
think differently they don't communicate very well with each other they're often
in conflict and only a few of them talk so we're only aware of a few of them in
our what we call our consciousness most of what the other mentalities do we call
our subconscious but relegating everything they think to the subconscious is almost akin to mysticism
and in fact there's a lot more to be learned about this area and we got
interested in three these mentalities first from the work of Jean Piaget and Piaget said that the he
thought children and adults have a unitary mentality that goes through
stages as the child matures so Piaget said first there is a doing stage where
the whole is to dig it and an object is to grab it thinking his action in that
stage a child doesn't think ahead he doesn't imagine the consequences of
his action he just does later on is the
image stage child of five or six or seven who for instance when given a
squat glass poured into a tall thin glass we'll say there's more water in
the tall thin glass I think everybody is familiar with the with that experiment
of PJs and it's because the child is being dominated by the visual image the
looks like there's more water there and so the visual logic says that there is
then around 11 or 12 PA says that the
child goes to a facts and logic stage away from the immediacy of the visual
environment or at least in Swiss French children who 11 and 12 there are less
less evidence that American children ever get into the facts and logic stage
now when we looked at PJs theory it was
interesting what it seemed to say is that if the child is below the age of
five say you should only do muscular things and if the child is in this age between say roughly five and eleven that
you should do mostly visual things and then above that you should do sort of
symbolic things so it just didn't come through with any ideas for us but while
reading about Piaget we had found the work of Bruner
who was the American psychologist who was one of the persons to Byng Piaget to
the American public's attention and Bruner had a more interesting theory and
it came about from experiments that he did to confirm what Piaget was talking
about so Bruni did the experiment took the water in the squat class and poured it into the tall
thin one the child said yes there's more water in the tall thin glass then
Brenner did something that Piaget hadn't thought to do Bruner then covered up the
glass and the child said oh but wait there must be the same amount of water
because where would it go and then Bruner revealed the tall thin glass and
the child said oh wait no look there's more water better cover it up again and
the child said oh there must be the same amount of water because where would it
go so if you have any nine year olds
you'd like to torment this is a good way to do it because what Brenner was doing
was jumping the child not from this mentality back to a previous stage but
he was showing as he did in many experiments the existence of multiple mentalities so the child was normally
visually dominant here but if you occluded the visual field then this
fledgling symbolic mentality that was really going to meet switched-on in a
stronger way later on could actually work and from this we got a lot of ideas
it suggested that there are ways of using some of these other mentalities
and we got some confirmation from some interesting work in the literature of
creativity one of them was by jacques
hadamard the famous french mathematician who in the late stages of his life
decided to pull his 99 buddy's the other
who made up together the 100 great mathematicians and physicists on the
earth and he asked them how do you do your thing and they were all personal
friends of his so they wrote back depositions and only a few out of the hundred claimed to use mathematical
symbology at all there's quite a surprise all of them said they did it
mostly in imagery or figurative terms and an amazing 30 percent or so
including Einstein were down here in the mud pies Einstein's definition said I
have sensations of a kinesthetic or muscular type Einstein could feel the
the abstract spaces he was dealing with in the muscles of his arms and his
fingers so one way of interpreting Hadamard diagram here is
the genius is the ability to recap your childhood it will that's sort of the PIA
jetting and way of looking at it but a stronger way is to look at it through Brunner's eyes and see that what is
actually going on is that these very creative people are somehow able to be
in contact with other mentalities that are going on all the time now this is a
better way of thinking about this then simply splitting things up into conscious and subconscious or right
brain and left brain this notion that there are each one of these things
evolved for a different reason and can do different kinds of logics is very
important and we'll see why in a second now I'm going to give you a the most
graphic demonstration I know of this
principle in action of what it means to actually be able to teach directly to
the mentality that's going to learn rather than trying to teach through an inappropriate channel you see the sad
part of had a marriage diagram is that every child in the United States is
taught math and physics through this channel the channel that know almost no
adult creative mathematician and physicists used to uses to do it and
that is really a shame they use this channel to communicate but not to do
their thing and much of our education is
founded on those principles that just because we can talk about something there's a naive belief that we can teach
through talking and listening now this example I'm going to show is taken from
a television show in 1975 on Harry
reasoner's great television show in on
ABC and he had read a book that apparently upset him called the inner
game of tennis which basically said almost anybody can learn to play a
decent game of tennis in just a single afternoon if you don't try too hard and
that had made him wonder because he'd been trying to play tennis for many
years and so he sent a an ABC News squad
out to California to expose the charlatans and what they did was to
round up a number of people and get them to sign
legal affidavits saying that they had
that they had never played tennis before they took them all out in the court and
picked the worst one who happened to be a 55 year old lady 40 pounds overweight
5 foot 2 and a moo-moo and she had the muumuu because her deposition said that
not only had she never played tennis but she's not even exercised in 20 years so
taking the ball on the court turning on the live TV cameras they set a clock and
said to Tim Galway you have 20 minutes to teach her how to play tennis now let's look at this from the standpoint
of user interface design because in every way Tim Galway is the user
interface of this interactive teaching
situation we have and let's see what he
actually does and there's a ball fly
through the air I want you just to watch it the very instant the ball hits the
court I want you to say bounce and the
very instant the ball hits the racket I want you to say hit you just be saying
bounce hip all you need to do is watch the ball okay the key of all the exercises in the
inner game is to focus their minds attention somewhere where it will not
interfere with the body's ability to hit
the ball automatically you stand here and Tim will throw you a couple and you
just continue doing the same thing China Haiti not at first at first just say
bounce with the ball bounces and hit when you would hit it but don't hit then
after you feel like I didn't go ahead and hit it okay now you might watch her
right on here yeah something's trying to hit that ball she
was told that she didn't have to now she actually tries she misses he's also out
of the corner of his eye watching me hit the ball so even though he's not trying
to see how I hit it the image of me hitting it is going right into his
memory enjoying himself yeah it's really the cardinal principle
in any book written on tennis about you tennis is to watch the ball no tennis
player really sees the ball no the
reason is they get bored so I've tried to give them something to see in the
ball that's interesting so we watch the trajectory of the ball
the gracefulness of the line made by the balls that fly through the air how is it
the same put the mind somewhere work and stay calm and not get you up tight but
relaxed and interested then the body does so beautifully so beautiful I might
start listening to the ball ball listen to how it sounds on your racquet hear
that yes that sound like very dull it
was like wood that would sound people
listening oh you'll hear this town that you like pretty soon just listen to her
okay now listen on this side
No be aware that racket is part of your arm I just feel it so hard every time I
did start to think things went wrong they just stopped thinking the body
seems to know what to do can you feel when your left hand where
it is how'd it go just wait in the back there feel it
we're gonna do one other stroke now and this one's called the serve and the
service just like a dance you just like a dance we'll come back here no I'll
show you how to do a dance call the sir okay and I've done this
dance a little bit so I'll just do it okay in fact you can start humming if
you want the rhythm like this okay now I
want you to stand there shut your eyes shut your eyes and imagine yourself
doing that same dance you might start humming a little bit as you're doing it
yeah okay now about to do there's no
thinking just go do it quick just no thinking just go serve yeah sir don't
worry about missing keep serving keeps their own thing go dududu quick that's
it fine again don't worry about hitting it let's hear it out loud there you go I
get them to hum the rhythm of my serve
so they're not thinking oh this is what are you doing with his elbow this is what he's doing his hands out loud down
there you go I get them to hum the rhythm of my serve
so they're not thinking oh this is what he's doing with his elbow this is what he's doing his hands they're not trying
to remember all that they start humming and they see themselves doing very
similar things muscular movements to what I did but they're not thinking
about it so it just comes out naturally and fluently so that didn't take long
that's called serving
don't miss it okay okay that's the first
point kind of 15 no need for you to miss
all of a sudden everything became effortless just I was just sort of like
floating along you know in doing what came naturally let me know and I said
I'm playing tennis yeah it's really really beautiful I have a clearer idea
of what you want then let it happen don't try too hard I'm gonna try to make
you miss Marri cuz it's going on too long so all just get a little bit harder
you just keep watching the ball
don't be distracted keep on that ball
[Music] [Applause]
[Music] well when I saw that I said something
akin to holy cow so I just seen something that I wouldn't
have believed possible and I realized that it applied very strongly to user
interface design that something really important had been was going on here so
I got Tim Galway's book the inner game of tennis and I read it and a number of
things that he said really stuck in my mind first one was almost a cliche
he said learning happens when attention is focused but he was able to get
something out of that because if you don't have a good theory of learning
then you can still get it to happen by just helping the person focus one of the
ways you can help a person focus is by removing interference a lot of what you
saw in that tape was a way of holding
focus of the mentality that actually had to learn to play the tennis and removing
interference from the mentality the that likes to talk and make comments
another thing that Tim said that's particularly stuck in my mind was said
the problem with most theories of teaching is that the parts of the body
you want to have learn don't understand English so the part of your mentality that
understands English doesn't play tennis and can't play tennis can't do
mathematics it can't do music you can what it can do is talk and comment and
so in general for learning most things it is good to find a way of
short-circuiting that mentality that we think of as the eye that always tries to
take over and finally Tim made a very
interesting observation and that is that the problem with being a beginner is
that you get a lot of practice in staying a beginner so a beginning tennis
player most of the time is does chase the ball you got to be really good at
chasing the ball but all other forms of tennis involved hitting the so it's very important for Tim to find a
way of catapulting anybody learning tennis like Molly they're out of the
chaser ball stage and instantly get into hitting the ball stage so he had to find
a way of getting a person who had never picked up a tennis racket before to be
able to hit the ball 98 percent of the time they swung at it we realized that
was an incredibly important principle for user interface design why spend two
weeks trying to read an ms-dos manual to see how to copy a file or open up an
application why do any of those things what is it what do you get from it much better to
find a way of designing the user interface so that the person who uses it
acts like an intermediate from the very first time that they sit down and then
they get into a process that is rewarding in itself now these ideas work
beautifully for music and they also apply in cognitive areas very strongly
here's a an example of a programming
problem and that is let's take the logo turtle and write a program to draw a
circle and we'll do it with three ages
of people a five year old a 10 year old and a 15 year old as representatives
from these three mental mentality
dominant areas the body the visual and the symbolic now the way you do a get a
five-year-old to to do a picture to do a
circle that's something that's Seymour Papert learned long ago and that is you tell the five-year-old close your eyes
and make a circle with your body if
they've gone part way around you say well what were you doing and the
five-year-old says well I was going a little and turning a little over and over again if you type that into logo
you get a perfect circle and that's
because the five-year-old nose differential equations because the
circle is particularly simple thing in differential geometry which is only discovered about 150 years ago by Carl
Gauss so a circle is that thing that has constant curvature so the change in
curvature is zero and the trials body
mentality doing mentality understands
that kind of geometry so the five-year-old comes up with a very
simple program that produces an elegant circle the ten-year-old has a harder
time because a ten-year-old is visual and really wants to look at things he
doesn't want to do things with his body so much anymore and so he wants to draw
a circles with a compass and after a while he will see that the by drawing
lots of circles you'll see that the main thing about drawing circles with a compass is that the points on the rim
were always the same distance from the center so his turtle program picks the
pin up starting in the center jumps out to the rim goes 100 there puts the pen
down makes a mark picks the pan up backs to the center turns one degree and does
that over and over again so it's chug-a-chug-a chug-a-chug-a chug-a-chug-a chug-a-chug-a chug-a-chug-a circle much harder way of
doing it but still a good circle and of course I wouldn't be telling this story if the fifteen-year-old were able to get
a circle at all because like most adults he's in the facts and logic stage and he
knows the most horrible fact thought up by the mind of man which is x squared
plus y squared equals R squared a very bad coordinate system and even if it
were a good coordinate system it has very little operational significance so
here we see an example of just concentrating on different mentalities
in people's skulls getting vastly different results in doing the program
and surprisingly the the the age levels
that are supposed to do less will actually do better and this led to a
slogan I made up which is the point of view is worth 80 IQ points so in other
words if you're in 60 BC and Rome trying to multiply two numbers together you had
to be a genius to be able to remember all the partial products that no Roman
numeral is generated if you're in 1380 wondering where Mars is going to go you
had to be a genius to be able to figure out all of the Ptolemaic epicycles so
it's not logic that is powerful logic is
actually a weak method because depends on fragile chains of inference
and people have used logic throughout history but mostly in inappropriate
context there is nothing illogical about
the way the alchemists or the Babylonians did things it was that they were in a context in which their logic
couldn't do much so there's this notion that the context is powerful
and if you want to be able to be good at solving problem and acting much smarter
than you are then you have to find a context that is going to do most of the thinking for you most computer
scientists know this because it goes under another heading of call choose the
appropriate data structure before you start tinkering around with the algorithm do the right data structure it
will have most of the result computed almost automatically as part of its
inherent structure and all that reminds
me of Edward de Bono's famous comment
about American business and I think it probably applies to American
universities also he said the problem with American business is when it gets in trouble it redoubles its efforts and
he likened this to if you have a bunch
of people digging for gold in a certain spot they get down 5 feet and they don't
find any go one of the the the ways they could do to resolve their problem is to
dig twice as hard and of course if gold is 20 feet over to the side then they
can dig all the way to China without finding it out and the important idea here is that problem solving all of
these things have more than one dimension and a lot of the important
dimensions for doing thinking lie along the lines of these different mentalities
and that led to a another slogan which
said well gee we don't know how to choose between these brain area mentalities the kinesthetic one is very
valuable knows where things are the image one is tremendously valuable
because it'll gives you a way of picking things out of a conglomeration very
easily it's quite a bit more efficient to pick an image from a bulletin board
than to pick an item out of a out of a linear list of symbols and the symbolic
one of course is very powerful given the right context because it can do inferencing that is not open to these
other mentalities so we thought that the right slogan would be
well gee why can't we find some way of tying these together the way we did it
was to say well one way of involving the
kinesthetic mentality is to give you something to point with so we have the
mouse they are not just because it's good to point to the screen occasionally
but because it involves the kinesthetic sense and the kinesthetic sense is the
one that knows where you are it's the one that locates you in space not your eyes your eyes are an extension of that
sense the image one there is for recognition here's a good experiment you
can try sometime get a friend to manipulate cable television movie
channels go to a random movie and see how many frames it takes before you can
say whether you've seen it before I think what that means you may not have seen this movie for 12 or 15 years and
yet after just a few seconds for most people you can identify that you've seen
this movie and usually be able to remember what comes next famous experiment by hartmann some years
ago took 25 or 30 people showed them 10,000 images spaced 10 seconds apart so
it took hours and hours to show them all these random photographs of things and even after 30 days all of the people in
the experiment had better than 90 percent recall on all of the images so
they could say with an image was one of the set with 90 percent probability they
could identify occluded portions in the image an unbelievable feat is performed
by this mentality tremendous for creativity in lots of different ways and
then this one is the one that allows you to abstract what you've done concretely
there so all of those things should go together and that was what we tried to
do at Parc so here's one of the first
versions of this interface and this is done by Dan Ingalls who after I had
invented small talk was the person who did most of the small talk
implementation and then became the major designer of small talk and this was a
crystallization of a lot of the ideas that we had all had culminating around
nineteen late 1975 around 1976 or so
this is what the small talk user interface looked like we see collapsed windows up here that
when you clicked on them would open back up again clock multiple applications and
so forth Larry Tesler who's now at Apple
had this idea this is called galley editor that documents should be able to
have different paragraph types so you might have a paragraph type of text you
might have a paragraph type that's a picture and that when you put the mouse into the paragraph it invoked the editor
for what's there and this is a metaphor that I think is going to overtake the
cut and paste metaphor that people are used to today because it's much better
in general to always work in the context of the results you're trying to get we
call it results mode interaction here's
a later version of this principle done by Bob flagel multiple views into the
same structure were first done in at
Xerox PARC by trig veer in scag a visiting professor from Norway in our
group and he was particularly interested in scheduling so here is a schedule
versus a Gantt chart for looking at the same thing and you see you selected
something here and it's the selection shows up here and it also shows up on
this list and it also shows up down here's a list of names of things so this
idea that what you're actually looking at are different views seen through
different filters is something we originally got from Engelbart but redone
in this new form in the multiple window user interface and here's the way the
interface looks today in small talk and
here's just a brief look at what that interface looked like about ten years
so what he's doing is actually entering into sort of like a hyperspace window
using a pop-up menu there to get a
workspace window scrolling is on the
opposite side from what you're used to on the Macintosh and you can see that
the scroll area arrow is position sensitive the elevator Scrolls you
through the text
and small talk anything that you type can also be executed so if you just type
three plus four in the editing window or pick up something else you can say do it
and small talk will go off and do it
here's the state of the painting program
as it was almost ten years ago there's a
radio buttons that you could actually control your own features
and one of the wonderful things about giving this talk today is that we're almost at the point where I never have
to show this movie again because most of the things that we had done at Park in
this system can now are now available on
powerful micros like the Apple Macintosh - I think the final thing I'll show here
is this is a browser a structure in
invented by Larry Tesler in which when
you point to a category area it retrieves a bunch of related things so
we're looking at all the different kinds of things that we can do arithmetic on
picked integer they're looking at the
arithmetic part of things you can do two integers and looking at the operation
plus and here is the code in small talk to do integer plus and here is an
example of the debugger in the system we'll type in some nonsense we'll try
and add three to a piece of text a piece
of text says this is a string so as we
say do it to that instead of crashing the system what we'll do get as a
notification here that the string
couldn't transform itself into an integer and here we can look and see
what was going on at that time so all of the processing that was being done and
that threat of control was set aside in small talk in fact once people looked on
the disk and found 1,700 suspended processes that were just left there
during the debugging of the system now
by expanding that debugging window we got a picture of things that were
happening in that process quite
independently of the processes in small talk that are operating the Windows system and the
debugging system so here's the code that was executing here's the attempt of the
string to make itself into an integer that failed I couldn't do that because
it couldn't find any new numeric characters to transform and here are the
parameters there's the argument self is
the thing that got the message so that's three and so we got to see all of the
things we could single step it if we wished we can restart it if we wished
and so forth so the whole idea of what
we're trying to do here is comes back to
this question that I asked in the very beginning and that is what what a
computer be if it were like a pencil can
it be used by children well yes it can can it be used by adults yes it can how
low can we go to childhood can we go
into much much much lower than grade
school here's an answer to that question
it's a tape I got from the woman who's
my accountant this is her daughter age
twenty two months two months shy of her
second birthday and she's never lived in
a world that wasn't densely populated with Macintosh's because both your
mother and father worked at home and both of her mother and father had their own Mac and in fact when I found out the
little girl was interested in computers I gave her an Apple to which she rejected she wanted to Macintosh just
like her folks and she literally learned to use it by sitting on her mother's lap
while their mother was working so for this child the Macintosh is not a piece
of technology but simply more material in the Vartan environment to manipulate
though I don't believe in user surveys the one I did do with this very young
user is I discovered that she vastly preferred Macintosh with installed hard disks now given that
she can use the mouse and some people are surprised that she can without
having to look at it but in fact it's something that everybody can use it's
not too surprising that she can hit visible menu commands in Mac Paint so
when I saw this I was intrigued I'd never seen a child this young interacting with a computer before but
it I wasn't too overwhelmed until I saw what she did next she wants a fresh
sheet of paper so she hits the closed bar in the window she saves her old
drawing using the pop-up and then she uses the pulldown to get herself a fresh
sheet and she's off and running again in fact we discovered that she was about
70% literate about 70% of the generic
window commands that are found in any Macintosh application she is able to use
not just in an a visual program like Mac
Paint so
the answer is is that this stuff is for all of us and the reason it works is not
because the goodness of computer science in it although there is something there
the main reason it works is because the for some reason we decide to study human
beings and involve lots of human beings called children in our experiment and
try and stay closely coupled to them for the for a number of years and out of
that came a bunch of ideas that could not have sprung just from technology
alone so if it weren't for the multiple mentality ideas of Brynner and the
catalysis of tim Galway's inner game of tennis and a host of other sources like
Suzuki's way of teaching children violin and others too numerous to mention we
never would have thought of these ideas and implemented them the way we did I
think a good way of ending this talk is with a Winston Churchill joke which you
know all Winston Churchill jokes he's at a party after a certain number of
whiskeys and no matter what happens he's always in perfect command of the of the
English language and this joke it's rather early in the in the evening and
he's over in the corner drinking his scotch and the hostess of the party
comes over him terribly distraught and says mr. Churchill I'm really upset I
just saw a famous Earl over here steal one of my silver salt shakers what am I
to do and Churchill thought for a minute and suck his cigar in his mouth and went
over to the Earl and on the way picked up a silver salt shaker and put it in his pocket we got over to the Earl he
took it out and said I think we've been noticed perhaps we should put these back
so the moral that besides that being the reason we won World War two the moral of
that story is if you want people to go along with you you have to involve them
in the same conspiracy and user interface design is a conspiracy that I
hope more of you will get interested in thank you very much I'm Judith Lemon and
our first question is from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Allen what do you feel about attempts to protect legally fundamental ideas and
graphics especially Apple's attempt to protect the neck the Mac interface
Sutherlands patenting of clipping algorithms well I think that the basic
idea of protecting inventions is something that's been around for a long time and it has done people who have
taken the energy to invent things a fair
amount of good I would like to have a tenth of a cent for every window that
opens on the screen for the next five years but I think that even in patent
law there is enormous confusion between what's an idea and what's an invention
patent law doesn't allow you to patent an idea even though nowadays ideas are
important as inventions that have been made concrete in some fashion also
there's a lot of confusion still in what it means to copyright something when I
was at Atari the earliest statutes that they used as precedent work things that
had to do a copywriting of player piano rolls back in the early 1900s so it's a
very complicated issue I think that a sort of a first principle in it is if a
company spends a lot of money paying people to invent an idea and then comes
out with that idea they should have some protection for it for a while there's I don't see any reason why we should
condone having those things ripped off if some company is paying millions of dollars other company shouldn't just get
it for free I think beyond that the situation is pretty much confused this
question Allen comes from the University of Utah where will powerful micros take
us first in five years and then in ten years well I think the simple answer is
probably not far enough the basic
industry is very conservative Wall Street wants people to stay with the 86
and 68000 architectures which i think is a big mistake there are lots more interesting things
on the horizon and the amount of computer cycles we actually need to do
things particularly that involve interaction is always grossly underestimated
so I think that the the one answer is
that the next five years and especially the next 10 years could be incredibly
interesting certainly in the 10-year horizon is the possibility of doing
real-time 3d graphics at the flight
simulator level on a desktop I believe that could be done within five years if
companies took a great interest in it so we're at a very interesting stage now
where the cost performance as I think
everybody realized it doesn't go on a steady player if it goes in jumps and
fits because the the major cost in a computer is in the packaging and every
time you can get the number of transistors up by a factor of 10 you
have an enormous change in whether you can put a thing on a board or whether it
requires a rack or an entire case ok for
again from the University of Utah computers have not been a big success in
direct teaching for example computer-aided instruction why is this
so and what can be done to improve it well I think I think I'm pretty much
after the experience I've had with working with both children and adults
with computers and at least dabbling in the areas of learning and education I
think that the the one of the best ways of thinking of a computer is very
similar to thinking of what a piano means in teaching music and the piano
have can amplify musical impulse we can only sing with with one voice if we want
to play a four part view we have to use some something mechanical like a piano
to do it and it can be done very beautifully but for most people the
piano has been the biggest thing to turn millions of people away from music for
the rest of their lives and I think the way to sum it up is just to say that all
musicians know that the music isn't in the piano if it were we'd have to let it vote and because of that that says in
any situation where education and learning is involved that you first have to develop a curriculum based on ideas
not on media the media can be amplifiers of those
ideas but you have to have the ideas first and I think the reason computers
have failed is that almost everybody no matter which way they try and use
computers have wanted the computer to be some sort of magic ointment over the super ating wound of bad concepts and I
think as soon as people get with what we saw is an amazing learning experience in
the Tim Galway tennis experience and that is something that can extend and be
amplified by machines and especially computers but first we have to have the
ideas another University of Utah
question my old alma mater yes coming through what new developments to see
coming for the disabled well there I think that's a particularly interest of
mine because my father was a prosthetics prosthetist and something I've been interested in
for many years and I just wish more people were working on it the technology
is there to do an enormous amount for
the 10 million of Fay's --ax as an example there I think there are 20
million people in the United States right now I've had strokes 10 million of them suffer a fair amount
of speech impairment is quite possible to do technology that they can carry
around that allow them to carry on normal conversations about things just
an enormous set of areas and I think for people who are interested in user
interface it is another area that gets you out of the McLuhan fishbowl and into
a context where you have to go back to first principles and re-examine things so I think it's I think the future there
is very bright but we need more people working in it Ellen whatever happened to
Molly Molly yes well it's a wonderful
story because after that experience with
Tim Galway she came up this is a 1975 she came up to him afterwards and said
hey does this stuff work for weight control and Tim said well gee I don't
know let's see if we can figure out something so they figured out something
and Molly over the next year took off
all of her weight and became a very good
Media tennis player and for the last number of years has run an inner game
weight control clinic in Los Angeles is a business she set up herself to apply
the principles that she'd used to take off all that weight so this whole
experience completely transformed her life part of it she had never thought of
herself as being a physical person she never really thought of herself as
having a body and this experience got her in touch with that whole body
mentality she'd never been in touch with before and that's part of the secret of
controlling your weight okay and the
final questions two parts first of all in terms of increasing human potential
what do you see as the most important challenges for students today well I
think the I mean I see going well I felt
like when I was in college elementary school all the way through except for graduate school I always felt
like a gorilla warrior where the major task I had was to retain any sense of
myself and my own ideas while I was going through this incredible mill of
different hurdles other people had set up and so I think that I think that's
number one number two I think is for any students who are interested in going
into science and the engineering they have to realize that both of those are art forms and that the both of them are
sterile exercises without an aesthetic feeling and that the liberal arts are
the best place to develop your aesthetic feeling so I am pretty much even against
having strong concentrations in engineering computer science and those
things at the undergraduate level I think people should try and get a really
solid liberal arts background hmm but I mean solid I mean of the kind
that they would call solid on the continent not in the US and then use
that as an endless well for ideas and
metaphors that you can use when you're doing science and engineering I think
anybody who's ever read about famous scientists knows that the strongest
connection they have or there work is not technical a bit aesthetic and so finding the aesthetic and
yourself and developing aesthetic in yourself I think is the biggest challenge and the last part of the
question is what are you setting as your next challenge well I think for somebody
in their 40s in a field that's only 40
years old or so has has the challenge of
the basic challenge I think that we all have but especially as we get older is
the challenge of renewal renewal I think is a very special word and I I like to
use it instead of education the education has strong connotations but I
think renewal is what it's all about renewal means always being able to sidle
up to a new problem and try and see it
from a fresh point of view I find as I get older it is harder and harder to see
things from a fresh point of view and so for me the kinds of things I need to do
are to for instance be able to do more
music I used to be a professional musician and still very interested in it
and I find the now that when I have a fair amount of contact with music during
the week that my ideas are fresher in the computer science domain otherwise
there's a tendency to just keep on thinking old thoughts and old pathways
thank you very very much and thank you
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