"Your battery is now fully charged," announced the laptop computer to its owner, Donald A. Norman, with enthusiasm--perhaps even a hint of pride?--in its synthetic voice. Norman, a chief advocate of the notion that computers and appliances ought to be
programmed with something akin to emotions, might normally have smiled at the statement. Instead he blushed--and no doubt wished that his computer could share his embarrassment. For at that moment, Norman was onstage at a dais, having addressed a conference room of cognitive scientists and computer researchers, and his Powerbook was still plugged into the public address system. Many in the audience chuckled at the automated faux pas and shook their heads. The moderator, flustered, shot Norman a less than sympathetic look.
This article was originally published with the title Considerate Computing.