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Improving human computer interaction

By Sharmin Choudhury


When two humans meet for the first time at a party, their conversation usually starts off on general terms: what their name is, who invited them and what they do for a living. If it is established that they both work at a university, then their conversation may turn into a discussion specifically about universities but still in general terms. However, if they were then to discover that they are both former dancers currently employed in the creative industries faculty but from different universities, it is likely that their conversation would turn more specialized: as it would have been established that they had a lot in common. This evolution of the conversation demonstration the ability of humans to categorizes and highlights the internal concepts and vocabulary we possess. Our inner categories allow us to recognize what part of the aforementioned concepts and vocabulary is shared by others: enabling us to adapt our interaction accordingly. This is, however, something that is missing when humans and computers interact. When humans converse with computers, they have to adapt their language to the fixed vocabulary of the computer and the time spent interacting with the computer only alters the human’s internal concepts and vocabulary. However, if humans and computers could engage in mutually evolving conversation then the benefits would be plentiful. These would include more intuitive data retrieval, more accurate data classification, reduction in the learning curve of new users who may be experts in the field but not in the use of the software and lastly it would also have benefits in training of novices in the field as the computer/software would be able to act like an expert enriching the novices knowledge through tips and guidance till such time as the novice becomes an expert.\ud \ud A key component in improving human computer conversation is an ontology. An ontology is a representation of a set of concepts within a domain and the relationships between those concepts. It can be used to define and reason about domains. As such, by including an ontology we instantly grant the computer a tool it can use to converse with a user at a more meaningful level. Therefore, we are engaged in the development of an ontology for the motion picture industry that we have tentatively named LOCULUS. The LOCULUS ontology defines the motion picture industry by modelling the concepts of the industry and relating the concepts to each other. It can be used to reason and allows for enriched human computer interaction. We aim to develop a system around the ontology that will allow for human users to engage in an evolving conversation with a computer. This would dynamically improve human computer interaction, improving the productivity and reducing frustration of the humans involved. With luck, perhaps we can eliminate the phrase “stupid computer” at least in the motion picture industry

Topics: 080602 Computer-Human Interaction, 080603 Conceptual Modelling, Ontology, Motion Picture Industry, Human Factors, User Perspective
Year: 2008
OAI identifier:

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