Simple Often Wins

Day 178 Week 28 Q2 Wednesday, June 26, 2024

We live in an age of rapidly increasing complexity. When I worked at Apple 30 years ago, I suggested that we create a button on the keyboard called DWIM, Do What I Mean. It was obvious that end users were frequently confused when using computers and often tried the same thing many times with increasing rapidity, signaling their increasing frustration. That would have been the time for the computer to intercede and to ask the question do you need help, or are you frustrated? And since speech recognition had been going on at the same time and I was the sound guy, the question was, why not have this conversation without a keyboard altogether?

Well, it is taking a long time, but we are finally getting to the point where you do not necessarily have to remember all of the different options to choose from. That was what windows and menus were to address. It was much simpler than a command-line interpreter, where you had to actually type the command, know that the command existed, and know how it was abbreviated.

The combination of artificial intelligence with computing devices will rapidly approach the point where you do not need to remember arcane commands and obvious abbreviations and keystrokes. He will just tell the computer what you want to do, and it will try to map that into the available commands.

Think of how much simpler it would be to simply say Print, and for the computer to ask you, I see three different printers on your network. Which one do you want me to use? Or better yet, for it to say the last 10 times you printed, you used this particular printer. Do you want to keep using it?

This is why artificial intelligence will certainly win out over the arcane way in which we currently communicate with our computers. It will be simpler and waste less time.

I know we are not there yet, but we are approaching it. This is not to make an excuse for artificial intelligence to do our job and create for us, for after all, it has no taste, does not know what is true or false, and is prone to hallucination. Ultimately, the real value of artificial intelligence is to leverage our creative process, not to replace our creative process.

Simpler often wins, even if the quality is reduced, because after all society has redefined the meaning of the word quality, and it now means convenience. It does not mean better it means easier.

You might want to keep this in mind if you are an intellectual who tends to give complex answers to simple questions. You might think that you are coming off as an intelligent person, but actually, it is incredibly unintelligent to confuse the people you are trying to talk to. And we see it every day. In fact, the public seems to have mostly given up on the intellect and embraced simple statements from our leaders, even if they are not true. Remember, the new definition of quality is convenience, and what could be more convenient than no longer having to think for yourself? This is tragic, but some manipulators are taking advantage of this right now.

Remember, simple often wins even if it is wrong!