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Computers to become co-pilots for users

Jack Loo | Sept. 20, 2012
As computing becomes pervasive, there is a need for passive identification, says PwC.

As interfaces evolve from keyboards to gestures and beyond, computers need to be built in a way where it conforms to human needs, and identification measures to become more passive, according to PriceWaterhouseCoopers' Centre of Technology & Innovation managing director Bo Parker.

He was a guest speaker when Singapore tech regulator Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) unveiled a roadmap of technology trends that will affect the island nation over the next five years in late August at a conference.

One of them is user interface. The agency says human-machine interaction will become more intuitive and interactive. 

The big trend, from punched cards to line terminals to windowing GUIs to touch interfaces to gestures, is to make computers adjust to the needs of humans rather than the other way around, according to Parker in his presentation.

"Computers will require less direct attention and can become more like co-pilots for user-pilots as they go about their daily lives," he said.

Then one challenge is to reduce the necessity for users to actively identify themselves with ID and password prompts.

"As computing becomes pervasive and ubiquitous, we cannot be constantly asked for our credentials. This is creating a need for passive identification, perhaps first arising in cars," suggested Parker.

He also revealed insights about digitisation and its impact on the economy.  One aspect is the accelerating value of information, he explained.

"Information in the digital economy exhibits the profile of Metcalf's Law as it describes networks; the value of a single piece of information increases exponentially as it is linked with other information," said Parker.

Parker listed sports giant Nike's line of running shoes with embedded chips as an example. A runner wearing the footwear can upload and share with friends, information such as track distance, running speed and other data.

"Normally when a shoe wears out, a runner might consider another brand. But the information creates a sticky relationship between Nike and the runner who will want to keep the information flowing," said Parker.

 

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