The Future of UI

UI (User Interface) has come a long way from the 19th century. Back then, users interfaced with information via reading. Books, newsprint, etc. then along came the telephone and radio. The UI shifted to voice. Then came video and TV. The UI shifted to voice and moving images. The complete package, right?

Well not really. That is because it only goes one way. From the screen to you. With the digital age, the interface is two way or more. But computer UI latched onto typing and mouse control to get us into this new domain and we still use that. Smartphones gave us touch. Nice. But where are we headed? When will UI work more seamlessly within our lives?

Lots of folks are thinking about this. One idea is for placing a voice in your ear.

The computers in the movie Her don’t demand that their users sit down in front of a screen and type on a keyboard. They connect with them using voice recognition, a tiny earpiece always present in the ear, and an ultra simple handheld device. While all of these technologies are basically available in some form or other today, the movie Her is unique in its vision in that it shows how computing could some day become so omnipresent and sophisticated that it could recede into the background and only emerge when a user needs or wants it.

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