Characters Everywhere, a video feed from Stanford, illustrates its own point: why is it so much more fun to listen to a (good) lecture than to read an article? Some quotes:
– The world is easy to learn in because it has a great interface: people. (They even personalise themselves)
– She then concludes a human interface for the internet would be a “Holy Grail”. I think she’s missing the point.
– The single most powerful thing you can do to increase learning is to give them a one to one tutor.
What makes me wonder: what are the elements that are in speech that aren’t reproduced in an article? Maybe trying to add these to the web (we got video, audio, the works!) would be better than try to recreate a human…
Some interfaces are kindof nice already: the Dell Service Assistant
Another interesting point is how conversations are predictable – constrained. She gives the example of the entertainment industry, who are very good at making us say-do certain things. What are the lessons here for web design? (Which are conversations as well in some ways)
Before seeing this, I was kindof against trying to simulate humans, maybe because I hadn’t see it work properly, and many demonstrations focus on technical issues (language recognition, 3D, …) – but I forgot about the “willing suspension of disbelief” – people want to believe.
Still, I think the social computing approach is a lot more interesting.
Now I’m thinking, when I send an automatic email, that kindof sounds like a real response, that’s the same thing. When I edit discussions to steer them in a certain direction, that’s influencing a conversation.
You can try some things out here.