The Evolution of Humans and Technology Part 3: Computers

  • John N. A. Brown
Chapter
Part of the Human–Computer Interaction Series book series (HCIS)

Abstract

Having examined the evolution of humans and tools in general, in this chapter we will look at the “evolution” of the computer. The reader is asked to remember that, while human evolution has happened on a scale of tens of millions of years, and tool evolution has happened on a timeline that is only one tenth as long, modern computers have only existed for a few decades. To put it simply, they have not had enough time to evolve to suit us and we have not had enough time to evolve to suit them.

This means that we are still in the earliest stages of co-adaption with this new tool. To use a tool-based analogy, we have not yet figured out how to put a handle on this hand axe. Because of that, we are still cutting our fingers and working inefficiently. By looking at computers in this evolutionary context, we not only recognize that they are still in a very primitive state, we also open the door to the possibility of consciously and deliberately advancing them quickly through evolutionary stages that would otherwise require many human generations.

Who knows, maybe – as it was with the hand axe – adding a handle for safety will also increase performance and range of use?

Let’s start by looking at the first person who seriously proposed that having computers would shape the way humans think. After all, his proposal ended up shaping the way we interact with almost all of our computers, tablets, and smartphones today.

Keywords

Ubiquitous Computing Smart Home Hammer Head Smart Home Technology Endless Frontier 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. 1.
    Bush V (1945) Science: the endless frontier. Trans Kans Acad Sci 48(3):231–264CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bush V (1950) Modern arms and free men: a discussion of the role of science in preserving democracy. Simon & Schuster, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bush V (1945) As we may think. Atl Mon 176:101–108Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Maslow A (1966) The psychology of science: a reconnaissance. Harper & Row, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    McRaney D (2012) Maslow’s Hammer are we entering a new phase in anthropology? On-line article at “Psychology Today”. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/you-are-not-so-smart/201203/maslows-hammer
  6. 6.
    McRaney D (2012) Maslow’s Hammer episode of the “You Are Not So Smart” podcast. http://youarenotsosmart.com/2014/06/23/yanss-podcast-26-maslows-hammer/
  7. 7.
    Brown JNA (n.d.) Designing calm technology “…as refreshing as taking a walk in the woods”. Plenary lecture in the “Time Machine” session, IEEE International Conference on Multimedia and Expo (ICME2012), in Melbourne, 2012. Video available on-line: http://videolectures.net/icme2012_brown_calm_technology/?q=calm
  8. 8.
    Leitner G, Fercher AJ, Felfernig A, Hitz M (2012 Jul) Reducing the entry threshold of AAL systems: preliminary results from casa vecchia. In: Proceedings of the 13th international conference on computers helping people with special needs-volume part I. Springer, pp 709–715Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Leitner G, Mitrea O, Fercher AJ (2013) Towards an acceptance model for AAL. In: Human factors in computing and informatics. Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg, pp 672–679Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Leitner G (2015) The future home is wise, not smart: a human-centric perspective on next generation domestic technologies. Springer, ChamGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Leitner G, Felfernig A, Fercher AJ, Hitz M (2014) Disseminating ambient assisted living in rural areas. Sensors 14(8):13496–13531CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • John N. A. Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Informatics SystemsAlpen-Adria Universität KlagenfurtKlagenfurtAustria

Personalised recommendations