[REBOL] Re: What computers are for (was: Perl is to stupid ...)
From: rpgwriter:yaho:o at: 18-Dec-2001 10:16
--- Chris <[chris--starforge--demon--co--uk]> wrote:
> I hope this is a tongue-in-cheek comment! If not,
> you are making the fatal error that practically
> every computer scientist has made at one point or
> another: expecting that human beings will modify
> their behaviour to suit the computer rather than
> the opposite.
That always happens with technology, to a degree,
so I'm not sure why it shouldn't happen with
computers. Consumers always expect to minimize
their changes, and often those making the tool
expect them to make more than is reasonable;
reality ends up being somewhere in between.
> This isn't impossible (voice-recoginition
> software was, and to a large extent still is,
> a good example of this),
I'm not sure it is; the requirement to change
behavior is one of the (many) reasons no one
I know personally uses voice recognition software.
> but it is far from ideal. It appears to me
> that the computing industry seems to have
> lost sight of the real purpose of computers:
> they are (or at least were) supposed to make
> life easier for the user.
Different tools *usually* require changes
of behavior and still make life easier.
> It's more than a bit of a kludge when you
> tell a user "this program can understand
> your documents, but only provided that you
> write them in this very constrained,
> artificial form which allows little
> of the form and structure you typical
> documents contain".
Perhaps it is. Its better than nothing at all,
and may still have use in limited markets,
though. Arguably, unless your program is
smart enough to understand meaning in
language -- a strong AI -- its not going
to be as good as a human at recognizing
the content in documents. That's just a
> It's a bit like expecting a user to learn C just so
> that they can type in a letter! (not that I'm
> complaining about C you understand - I use it every
> day - but it's hardly something you can expect the
> average user to learn)
> No, either we solve the problems caused by rule set
> size without forcing the user into overly artifical
> situations or automatic document parsing will be
> constrained to simplistic and case-specific
Well, sure, I'd suspect the latter will remain the
case for quite some time.