Human-computer interfaces are changing the way real-world experiences take place.
When we want to establish an interaction between man and machine, we see cognitive questions taking place on both sides: machine and man. On the one hand the machine is required to understand on the basis of what previously learned (machine learning), on the other hand man is required to limit and simplify the language and interactions using voice commands, tactile and gestural without any interpretative variant. Smart speakers, which have now became very popular, or other ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) are based on grammar, lexical terms and acoustic recognition modules, these systems have taught us to express ourselves in a simplified way.
The success of these ASR tools is due to the fact that users can interact directly with the computer without using an intermediate device (eg, mouse, keyboard), without particular technological expertise, actually reducing the grammatical structure of language and lexical quality to the absolute essentials.
It is not a coincidence that even babies, just one year old, can interact with these tools and from different fronts has raised the doubt that these tools can give rise to cognitive or behavioural distortions. Others wonder how children interact with this type of technology, how these tools can affect baby’s development and the quality of their interactions with people, others study the way children try to conceptualise these tools, for example by imagining that there are small people inside or that they are objects with a personality.
But let’s leave this discussion to psychologists and educationalist and let’s go back to the center of our theme: how natural users interfaces can improve the way we experience the real world?
The naturalness with which children are able to interact with these systems actually leads us to reflect on a critical success factor that characterises the systems based on NUI design, this bring us to an assumption that we can formulate as follows: The more the interface looks natural, the more you can hope that there is a spontaneous adoption or a fruition without unexpected or friction.
The first question to be asked in the design of these NUI-based instruments is the nature of these interactions (vocal or gesture): which interactions can be considered natural? The "naturalness" of gesture-based interfaces very often configures and manifests itself effectively when interpreting actions that the individual naturally performs to manipulate an object physically (e.g.: swipe). Then there are gestures that we can define arbitrary but used widely (e.g.: like, thumbs up).
These are just some of the aspects that compete in the design of a system based on AI and NUI but for all the real test remains linked to the ability to trigger a fluid experience, correct and without cognitive efforts. This scenario brings us back to the possibility of reducing the behavioural exceptions in the experiences offered in a store or in a public space and thus reducing the management costs of these exceptions.
We use the body as a tool to generate basic information: presence or our absence for instance. This simple information produces an automated reaction (for example opening, closing, switching on, switching off, etc…). But when the body, movements and gestures generate more complex and comprehensible information for NUI and AI-based systems, we can talk about language, that language that no longer produces simple automated reactions but real collaborative interactions with machines. Systems based on AI and NUI applied to the real context allow to promote virtuous changes especially in situations such as the one we are living in where individual responsibility must be accompanied by a constant behavioural education. AI and NUI based systems also allow to detect, correct and discipline behavioural anomalies.
Interacting with the world now also means interacting with the digital world, it paradoxically means being present simultaneously in two spaces, the real and the digital one where our presence and our interactions, appropriately codified, can be observed and interpreted.
Without venturing into the daring undertaking of combining quantum mechanics with digital, we can be satisfied with a clear perception that derives from new experiences induced by the speed of communications, from accessibility to information, the need to reduce contact and presence in the physical world. It is clear that we are increasingly inclined to interact and use multiple and different dimensions, we are increasingly accustomed to omni-channel and multilevel experiences, and we are experiencing dimensions that need to be understood, coded and "exploited".
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