Poor Division of Labor: You and the Computer

This past week, I found myself doing lots of things that I am bad at, but that the computer is quite good at.  Rather, these things the computer should have been good at.  So, I decided to create a post outlining the ideal division of labor between the computer and humans that use them:

Computer:  should count

Human: Should say what count’s are needed

Computer: Should draw, layout, connect boxes

Human: Should say what boxes need to be created and how they relate to each other

Computer: Should manage itself and inform the user of “high level” needs, e.g. “Install another disk drive or sign up for online storage service”

Computer: Should analize emails, automatically find related emails, appointments, contacts, tasks, and other information.  It should display this information quickly and in a way that allows for the user to easily see it.  The computer should detect if a reply is necessary, find questions and place these in the reply message, find tasks, and offer to create trackable action items, find bits of information and file these away.

Here are somethings that a human should never have to do:

1) compare two lists

2) search for items on a lists

3) manually copy information from one source to another

4) be constrained by an ineffective UI

5) repeatively click the same series of buttons

6) Be afraid of making a mistake

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