UC Berkeley School of Information

Cautious Cars, Cranky Kitchens, Demanding Devices (Donald A. Norman)

March 1, 2006

Cautious cars? We already have them, cautious and sometimes frightened. Cranky kitchens, not yet, but they are coming. Our products are getting smarter, more intelligent, and more demanding, or if you like, bossy. This trend brings with it many special problems and unexplored areas of applied psychology. In particular, our devices are now part of a human-machine social ecosystem, and therefore they need social graces, superior communicative skills, and even emotions: machine emotions, to be sure, but emotions nonetheless. In this talk I explore the reasons for such statements, the issues that need to be considered, and the dangers that have already occurred because designers still think of each device as alone, and self-contained.

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