The humanization of technology: you are the interface

Around 1490, Leonardo da Vinci signed the Vitruvian man. It was a study of the human body, sketched according to the proportions prescribed in the work The architectura of the Roman architect Vitruvius. The figure became the symbol of humanism at the time. A philosophy of life in which man is the center of the universe

Around 1490, Leonardo da Vinci signed the Vitruvian man. It was a study of the human body, sketched according to the proportions prescribed in the work The architectura of the Roman architect Vitruvius. The figure became the symbol of humanism at the time. A philosophy of life in which man is the center of the universe. In my presentations I gratefully use this drawing. In my story too, man is the measure of all things. The digital universe is responsible for this.

In 2006 Time Magazine chose "You" as the person of the year. On the cover of the magazine there was a mirror in which the reader saw his own reflection on the front. The reason for this startling choice was the small contribution millions of people made daily by adding content to, among others, Flickr, MySpace, Wikipedia and YouTube. The idea that "you" are the most important person in the world has, through the accelerated advancement of technology, taken shape over the years.

Technology is the sixth sense
In the coming years, technology will be closer to and sometimes under the skin, so that the human body is constantly connected to the internet. In this way, the network collects more and more data from the individual and the environment in which it finds itself. Intelligent software converts all these zeros and ones into new insights that serve the user in real time. The user no longer has to search for information, but the user can find relevant information at the right time.

The network acts as an electronic brain by making independent connections and making associations. By smart use of all kinds of data, such as tweets, Facebook status updates and Instagram photos, but also the geolocation, humidity of the air and the heartbeat and temperature of the human body, the network is able to empathize with, sympathize with, but also to feel what the individual needs at that moment. In fact, the network is more likely to feel or cope. to predict what the intentions of the individual are before it has made itself a performance about it. All kinds of "feeling" play a role in the way in which the network interacts with people. Technology not only strengthens the five classic sensations, seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling, but also adds a higher faculty. The intelligent network is the sixth sense of man.

The new IT: Intimate Technology
The axis of information technology contains two extremes: hardware versus software. Hardware are technologies that embody a design and act as the medium of software. Both endpoints have undergone the same development.

In the past, a mainframe computer occupied a complete cellar, later the Personal Computer captured the desk, in the form of a laptop, then a spot was secured on our lap, eventually as a smartphone in our pocket or handbag to end up. We always have this last form factor with us. The device is an extension of our hand and inextricably linked to our body. We even take the thing to the bathroom and reserve a special place for the appliance on our bedside table. The next generation of computers - wearable computing - comes even closer. This technology even goes directly on or under the skin.

The above figure - from the Gartner report "Strategic Information Management for Competitive Advantage" by Gartner analyst Mark Raskino - shows the evolution of information. In fifty years, we are collecting more and more different forms of data. While it was only salary and product data that were stored in a database, we can now even save our emotions and brainwaves thanks to advancing technology. This offers new opportunities for companies: systems of record become systems of engagement. Companies and brands can enter into an extremely intimate relationship with their customers on the basis of all these data.

The trend is clear. Hardware and software are both getting closer to people. The combination of these two trends makes technology more intelligent, intimate, personal, intuitive and anticipatory. Technology is therefore an essential part of our identity.

Fusion H & M: Human and Machine
On 9 August 2013, research agency Gartner published its Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies for the year 2013. Striking is the main message of the report. The evolving relationship between man and machine is central this year. The emergence of new technologies redefines this relationship. Or, as Marshall McLuhan, the oracle of the electronic age, once expressed this symbiotic relationship so aptly: "We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us". The overall conclusion is that the boundary between man and machine is fading.

Technology becomes invisible: from GUI to NUI
The British science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke once said the following: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." The fact that now all kinds of technology - in the form of sensors - will sit close to or under the skin of the human body, allows the environment to respond directly to the natural interface of humans.

Sensors who perceive and interpret gestures and exercise, recognize facial expressions and emotions, listen to what you say, feel how you touch them and even smell them, ultimately ensure that no keyboard or mouse is needed to use the network. to communicate. Technology shifts to the background and becomes invisible. The boundary between technology and man disappears as a result. Technology and people are one together. One person can no longer do without the other. Personal Computing is now really only personal!

In the coming year VINT will focus on the Internet of Things. Making smart things and doing smart things with them. That is what is central in our four THINGS notes for the coming year: from wearable computing to optimal industrial production. This article is part of this. The first report will be online on November 12th.