[unrev-II] Session 1 - Better Humans, Better Information Systems

From: Bill & Sharon Bearden (bbearden@bcl.net)
Date: Mon Jan 17 2000 - 13:23:20 PST

From: "Bill & Sharon Bearden" <bbearden@bcl.net>


In the first session, one of the ideas that resonated the strongest with me was that all human-oriented information systems are
constrained by the capabilities of humans. I believe that this is an important idea and it leads me to two separate paths to
follow and two points.

The first path to more capable human-oriented systems is to increase the capabilities of the humans. One avenue of attack on this
front is traditional education and this was mentioned in session 1. However, there are other possibilites that could be
considered. Yoga, T'ai-Chi Ch'uan as well as their more westernized cousins (e.g. TM and The Alexander Technique) are potential
methods of increasing the capabilities of humans at a very basic level.

Point #1 - We should not consider improved human-oriented information systems and traditional training as the only means of
building the capabilites of mankind to solve complex questions.

The second path of which I spoke is the design of the DKR.

There is a great deal of room for improvement in the ideas commonly used in the design of the current generation of information
systems. One-size-fits-all approaches (like Microsoft's "Windows Everywhere" strategy) ignore the fact that computers and people
are very different (e.g. computers number things, people name things; digital computers can't tolerate ambiguity, people can) and
that it will be very difficult to make one system optimize the work of both.

Point #2 - The design of any truly modern information system must really be the design of 2 separate systems: one for the computer
and one for the human (and the interface between them).

It is my belief that current information systems are designed from a very computer-centric point of view. What the
computer needs is very well understood. Therefore, an early step toward more capable human-oriented information systems must be to
examine in detail the needs of humans. The starting point in my current work (I'm playing at being an author) is human motivation.
 Humans require some motivation to act. The human side of the bi-cameral information system must be designed to exploit our
knowledge of motivation.

In summary, I believe that traditional education is not the only way to improve the capabilities of humans. I also believe that
information systems should be designed from the human up, instead of from the computer up.

Bill Bearden

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