Why Machines Should Fear [Preview]
Once a curmudgeonly champion of "usable" design, cognitive scientist Donald A. Norman argues that future machines will need emotions to be truly dependable
DONALD A. NORMAN: EMOTIONAL DESIGNER
Image: JEFF SCIORTINO
- First design project: ham radio station built during childhood from
military surplus parts.
- Characteristic obsession: finding out the purpose of the notch in a cuill¿re ¿ sauce individuelle, a spoonlike utensil in fancier restaurants in Europe.
- Typical job: scientific consultant to firms such as Evolution Robotics in Pasadena, Calif., which has developed a prototype personal robot named ER2.
- Some favorite designs: Cooper Mini automobile; Alessi Te ¿ tea strainer, which "hugs" the cup; the Ronnefeldt tilting teapot, which holds the leaves on a shelf, immersed when steeping but out of the water when serving.
Slowly and with care, Donald A. Norman refills his teacup, but the tea drips down the pot anyway. I look down at the small puddles of green tea on the restaurant table and back up at Norman. Here it comes, I think, bracing myself for a classic Norman fulmination on how basic design flaws in ordinary objects are the true sources of most "human error." After all, such cantankerous critiques in his 1988 book The Psychology of Everyday Things were what brought him international fame outside the narrow field of cognitive science.
This article was originally published with the title Why Machines Should Fear.