The "Computer as Assistant" Fallacy
Personal Commentary4/1/2001; 8:10:39 PM 'There has been a lot of talk lately about how computers are too hard to learn to use. There is a longing for devices you can just pick up and use without training. Microsoft's Kai-fu Lee was quoted in The New York Times as saying, when discussing the more "natural and intelligent" user interfaces he hopes to create, "My dream is that the computer of the future is going to be an assistant to the user."
'This type of thinking strikes me as strange. We don't ask for our automobiles to be more natural and intelligent, nor do we call for the next generation of cars to be like chauffeurs. With cars, we talk about responsiveness, comfort, power, cargo size, and safety. Tools are effective and appropriate to the task. Learning to use them is part of being human.'
Reminds me of what I wrote last year.
Personal Commentary4/1/2001; 1:22:13 AM I love April Fools day on the net, even though my own sense of humor may not be the greatest.Here's what I know of so far:Nothing, because as I write this, April first is still tommorow most places in the world...
At Issue: E-Rights for E-Writers
3/30/2001; 11:05:04 AM
'The case will decide whether freelance writers should be paid royalties when publishers redistribute their work in electronic databases or CD-ROMs without their permission.
'It is now up to the judges to decide how to apply the 1976 Copyright Act to an electronic technology that wasn't even around when many freelancers were signing these contracts. That decision may not come until June.'
Microsoft storm warning
Post-Napster policing reopens ISP wounds
3/27/2001; 10:45:10 PM
'Facing the prospect of a post-Napster world, tension is starting to build between copyright holders and Internet service providers over who should police other file-swapping networks that are poised to step in as replacements....
'"The content community would like ISPs to act as a global police force, and that's not their job," said Dave McClure, chief executive of the United States Internet Industry Association (USIIA), the main ISP trade association. "It seems to me that ISPs don't have the obligation or even the right to monitor the data on their subscribers' hard drives."'
Emphasis mine. The right to monitor data also implies that I must be fully open with that data, because if I'm not, they can't monitor it. I'm not about to relax my security just so my ISP can go snooping around on my drives... which is exactly where the record companies are headed. (If they want that data, they can hack me just like everybody else )
Besides, I really think the content companies are trying to make the wrong entity do their dirty work. Sign a deal with the FBI and use Carnivore. It wouldn't be hard to make the system work well enough for the record companies... sure, it'd be crap, but they just want to stem the bulk and don't mind making the rest of us live in mortal fear, as long as they get to keep making truckloads of money.
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