Technology is for humans

Bret Victor's tech!

Technologist are making one big mistakes. They think we need to live in a data processing driven community. I don't blame them, whatever Big Data means its promises are very attractive.

Developers think of code and data without putting thoughts of their utility. It's exciting for me to code for hours constantly blocking the thoughts that I am coding for the compiler but not solving any problem. I get excited by technology, but I have to bring my self back down to earth every once in a while.

I tracked all my exercising routines for a week. The exact miles I ran, the terrain elevation, the walk vs run, the calories intake. At the end, I got a very nice report intuitively showing all the things I've accomplished. But then I thought, how useful is this information anyway.

Just because coders get paid a lot doesn't mean they are the future.

Create complex algorithms and then slap a nice woman's voice on it and call it an Assistant. Imagine if Google search had a voice, we would think it is the worst search engine because sometimes even Google fails to answer our questions. With a voice, it feels like a human failing to answer us. That's a developer, scientist, data guy, attempt to personify technology.

But what happens when we humanize technology. Humanizing not in an attempt to trump the user into thinking it is a human they are interacting with (that quickly falls into the uncanny valley), but to make the technology human friendly. What if we make the computer so human friendly that it can replace our physical tools.

Imagine a hammer. Good, now go get a hammer. That is a real tool. You can already picture what you can do with a hammer, you are not expecting it to talk back to you.

When I say "imagine an API". Only a developer can imagine it. The problem here is, developers are not trying to make an API for humans, instead, they are trying to explain to humans what an API is.

A lot of people discredit Bret Victor because he doesn't propose the next iDevice or Google device, instead he shares his thoughts. But, we have to understand that computers are no longer this great new thing. We have grown. Kids are not even impressed by their watch that is more powerful then all the computers (combined) that took men to the moon.

Saying computers are part of our everyday lives is like saying that oxygen is part of our everyday lives. It's an empty statement. And yes the iPhone qualifies as a computer. Rather than focusing on what is going to be the future, a.k.a what will make the most money, let's look at bringing the computer outside of its box.

Maybe I got to a point where I get tired of sitting in a room all day and typing on a square screen. Maybe I want to see the next level of computing where I don't have to rely on a device that checks first with its maker to see if I am allowed to run a particular set of code.

Apple made it OK for everyone to have a personal device beyond the PC. Computers are mobile now, we get it. Instead of trying to add as much features possible to ship in the next fiscal year, we should focus on making these technologies better. Apple keynotes are becoming boring, because it is easy to see they are piggy-backing off previous success instead of innovating.

No more new APIs this year. Let's blend technology into our daily lives where even grandpa can use a computer model to design the backyard before heading to Homedepot.


Holus :

Thanks for the great ideas. There are definitely a lot of things for us to do.

Ibrahim :

Thanks @holus. I certainly see Holus as being a step in the right direction.

Let's hear your thoughts

For my eyes only