human centred computing
were first invented for the purpose of processing large amounts
of data and carrying out millions of mathematical functions with
an unprecedented degree of accuracy and in a fraction of the time
it would take the human mind to complete those tasks. In the decades
that followed the invention of this marvellous number crunching
machine, the efforts of engineers, scientists, mathematicians and
researchers were aimed at increasing their speed, efficiency and
power to crunch more and more numbers within a second of time.
Today, as a
result of these efforts, the computer has been totally transformed
from a 'sluggish monster' full of vacuum tubes occupying entire
buildings, into neat, easy-to-use portable devices which in some
instances fits perfectly on the palm of its user.
Computers were capable of making the concept of automation
a reality at least partially. Even though we are still far from
being able to automate our fine dexterities such as human creativity,
there are robots capable of assembling cars and simple computers
that are capable of flying airplanes with minimal human intervention.
Automation of human tasks were expected to result in the loss of
millions of jobs but it has so far created more jobs than the number
it has made obsolete.
The 1970s saw new uses being conceptualised and researched
for the computer in the fields of multimedia and communications
capabilities. These dreams were being made true gradually in the
years that followed and during the last decade of the second millennium,
they reached their climax with the dawn of the Internet. The computer's
ability to accept, store, process and output data coupled with its
communication capabilities made it an unique tool that made it not
only useful, but a vital part of business, education, military and
overall social activities. The first networks of computers such
as ARPA-NET marked the dawn of a new era of communications technology
that has hence been christened as The Information Age.
technologies have so far evolved in leaps and bounds since those
pioneering years. Yet it is sad to note that a fraction of the world
population has access to the vast store of knowledge and entertainment
offered by these communication networks and those beyond the digital
divide (many billions of them) are yet to reap the benefits of this
marvelous creation of humanity called the Internet.
The dawn of computer networks has created entirely new mediums
of communication that are unprecedented in history. While multimedia
and virtual reality have made possible the expression of the most
complex of thoughts in a simple and uncomplicated manner, networks
have made possible the sharing and access of that information and
made available the technologies and capabilities of mass communication
to all people.
Thus, the challenges
of the future lie not only in the technologies that would make the
networks more powerful, but also in areas that would make them more
accessible and cost-effective. Networks of the future will have
to be more 'intelligent' in order to enable those with little or
no technical knowledge to gain meaningful use of them. Challenges
have always been the driving force behind human creativity, invention
and achievement and it is of little surprise that at this very moment,
efforts are being made to overcome those mentioned above. These
efforts have a noble purpose; that of making the fruits of human
labour throughout the ages, available to all of people regardless
of nationality, race or religion or wealth.
We can no longer afford to be satisfied with the performance
of our computers and their networks. Even though they may be 'blazing
fast' compared to their predecessors, we cannot turn a blind eye
on the fact that so much bandwidth and thus so much of communication
is lost due to deficiencies in inefficient algorithms and bad addressing
and routing practices that rely on the brute force of computers
instead of the elegance of mathematics and common sense. If nothing
else, they should be easy to use even for the lay user, but those
who have tried to install a new internal modem to their new computer
would have first-hand experience of the present state of 'user-friendliness'
of our systems!
The lack of
user-friendliness and the ruggedness of present networks could be
attributed partly to the fact that no effort has been made to empower
them with 'intelligence' and a working knowledge of human interaction
(if indeed any such attempts have been made, they have apparently
not succeeded and worse still, they have made matters worse). Networks
themselves could be given the power to allocate bandwidth depending
on the applications used by their clients and their needs and addressing
of the nodes could be done using intentional as well as location
based names, thus reducing the complexity associated with addressing
nodes from the user's perspective.
With such intelligent
networks of computers and very high degrees of automation, the security,
scalability, and economy of these systems will be a factor for great
concern. One could be forgiven for having reasonable doubts about
the feasibility of achieving such goals anytime soon. Besides, the
hypothesis that increased flexibility of a system, be it a single
computer, any other device or a network could also increase its
vulnerability and increased functionality and the higher the capabilities
of the system, those would also make it less scalable and naturally
far less economical could be justified, again in the short term
point of view.
apparently less feasible objectives, and regardless of whether we
achieve all these goals within the next couple of years, we will
have to bring about a new era by emphasising the need for human
centred computing. It would define a new line of thought that would
inspire more concerted efforts to achieve and extend more substantially
the objectives and concepts of artificial intelligence. The proposal
of a radical new line of thought, the higher degree of expectation
and the realistic and steadfast approach that promises to take computing
and communications to new heights in the near future will focus
on 'human centred computing' and the objective of making computational
power freely accessible to everybody. This coupled with the concept
of 'doing more by doing less' should form the vital ingredients
to drive technology and computer enabled communication to heights
unprecedented in the history of the human race.
has a long goodbye
Keith Flint's part time group is to make its debut on June 11, at
The part time
band which is called Flint will comprise Jim Davies, Kieran Pepper
and Tony Howlett. Flint has completed work on its debut album.
is also expected to release a new album shortly.
The heavy metal
rock band Metallica performed at a jail in the US on April 30.
The band played
at the San Quentin prison covering a 10 track set. The performance
included a live recording of the title track of Metallica's next
album called St. Anger. The band's new member Robert Trujillo was
part of the show.
prison is located north of San Francisco. Metallica also made a
US$10,000 donation to the local baseball field fund.
secured the No: 1 single in the UK this week with the song Loneliness.
It's the debut Top 20 hit for Tomcraft and debut No:1.
The song is
a trance track huge in Germany and now the UK. The power behind
the song is the Munich based producer Thomas Bruckner.
ousted the former No: 1 hit You Said So by Busted, and deprived
UK soul star Craig David of the prime spot.
As the top
three singles positions in the chart are new entries, the song that
checked into the No: 2 spot is Rise & Fall by Craig David. It's
one of David's biggest hits in over two years. On the new release,
former police frontman Sting is the featured artiste. The acoustic
guitar melody of Sting's Shape Of My Heart can be heard on Craig
David's Rise & Fall. Sting also appears in the video. Craig's
last single Hidden Agenda peaked at No: 10 in late January this
Irish pop star
Ronan Keating's newest single, The Long Goodbye debuted at No: 3.
Ronan's song could not match the twists of his other songs. Basically
it is a straightforward track that follows his last single, We've
Got Tonight - a duet with Lulu.
is Kelly Rowland's new entry in the UK chart at No:5. It appears
the new song will fall short of the success of her previous single
Stole. The former single peaked at No:2 in February.
Bryan Adams had a narrow shave while riding a motor bike in East
London. He was not involved in any motor mishap but instead had
a bullet coming his way.
Adams was with
a friend riding down Old Street when he felt a jerk. According to
reports, Adams later discovered he had been fired at with a rifle.
A hole was discovered in the back of his jacket. Bryan Adams was
wearing a helmet and since his identity was concealed, he feels
that he was not the specific target.
who was in trouble with the UK law over an air rage incident recently
advertised for members to her back-up band. The ex-Hole leader is
looking for a bass player and guitarist for her all female act.
was placed in the New York Village Voice as Love plans to release
a solo album this year.