No matter if it is the watch around the wrist, the smartphone at the ear or completely “old-school” the computer on the desk: intelligent and smart systems are ubiquitous nowadays – and pose new challenges to usability.

„You have to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.” For Steve Jobs, customer satisfaction came first right from the beginning – only if a tool is guided by the users’ requirements in the best possible way, a “computer for all” could be developed. Bruce Horn, opening keynoter at the i-KNOW 2017, had his share in this too. Together with his team, Horn has developed the Macintosh Finder. Today he is working for Intel and acts as CTO of the Saffron Technology Group.

 Private and professional, twenty-four-seven

In nowadays’ “smart and intelligent” world, where countless other connected devices exist besides computers, usability poses a vastly bigger challenge. Furthermore, the motives for usage have obviously broadened: while during the early years of the internet there was a distinct purpose – the interconnection for military or research purposes -, the motives for usage today are manifold: finding the shortest way from A to B, operating a “Smart Home”, communicating with business partners overseas, analyzing personal fitness etc. Intelligent systems nowadays are in action 24/7 in private as well as in professional life. One example:

All the things a human can do automatically, an intelligent system must be programmed to do first – and the example of the Oakley Radar Pace shows that this is not always simple. The system has to understand that tracking should be stopped by “Stop workout” just as well as by “I can’t go any longer”.

Personal Control

“The personal intelligent agents that we really want, live with us and at the same time allow us control”, Horn is convinced. “They have the same agenda we have and they are connected to other systems to provide us with the services we want.”

According to Horn 4 graphs are relevant:

  • personal knowledge graph: what I read, knows my mails, documents, apps, …
  • social graph: with whom I meet up, communicate, … (online and offline)
  • activity graph: what I do and why (in the office, at home, in my spare time, online and offline, at shopping, at sports etc.)
  • World-Knowledge-Graph: researches topics I am interested in; extends my personal knowledge with online sources, “knowledge cache”

From Horn’s perspective all this leads to people becoming more intelligent. “Personal Computing gives humankind the opportunity to create, educate, learn, entertain and communicate and was my passion all along.” And now the question is: “What comes next?”