Programming for Humans

I really enjoy watching movies about futuristic technology. We were shown short clips of a string of movies that are based on artificial intelligence in my class. I had seen quite a bit of them and really want to make sure that I see the rest. I think you get a very different understanding about human computer interaction through cinema. It makes you think less about the technological details of how the AI is going to work, but more about how it impacts human life. When we try and develop technology we think about how the user will interact with the technology, the scenarios in which they will use it in and overall how easy it is to use. It’s difficult to really conceive of how the users will be impacted in a more emotional way, how their lives could actually change because of what you have created.

For user studies, we do our best to try and understand the user- their age, their culture, their financial situation and anything else we can think of to design the best possible product. But at the end of the day, these are just facts. It’s very difficult to actually put yourself in the user’s shoes and realize how they truly live their lives. Cinema actually accomplishes this in a really unique way. It develops a story around a character in such a way that their hardships and joys really resonate with you. You develop an emotional attachment to the characters and you want them to be happy. It humanizes the demographics. And at the end of the day, isn’t it human life what we are designing for?

We spent the rest of the week working on our projects and learning more about programming in general. I also read this article called “Teach Yourself Programming in Ten years” by Peter Norvig. It was a pretty interesting read. I agree that nowadays most people believe in learning skills very quickly which is probably because of the fast paced world we live in as well as the fear of competition. I’ve gotten a bit of the same mentality through this class. I am quite competitive in general and so, when I encounter a lot of people in the same class who have a background of several other languages, in addition to Python, it tends to upset me and makes me feel like I don’t have enough time to learn. Even though I do practice, it’s been very difficult for me to give more time to programming, in addition to my other classes. Overall, I’ve just been trying to learn as much as I can as fast as can and not necessarily enjoying the process. So, this article gave an interesting perspective on my problem. It always takes time to learn a new skill and I don’t have to limit myself to time period of this class, if I truly want to learn.