When Our Machines Act For Us

When Our Machines Act for Us --- ?RonGoldman 4 Jan 2002

. . . in the normal course of affairs we do not want our machines trying to interact with ourselves or other people---PeopleTalkToPeopleMachinesTalkToMachines---but sometimes we need them to act in our stead. . .

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There are many demands on our time and we can not always do everything that we need to in a timely fashion.

Sometimes we are physically away and if someone tries to reach us electronically we would like our machines to record their message and notify them that we have Gone Fishin' (AwayMessages).

It is easy to forget to pay a bill on time. Having our computer automatically pay our bills before they are due means one less problem we need to be concerned with.

Calendaring software now exists that lets people view their colleagues' current appointments and schedule new meetings. Some let others add to your calendar directly, while others require you to approve any additions.

On a more mundane level any task we routinely do with our programs is a candidate for automation. For example filing incoming mail into the appropriate folder is a task that modern email clients can do for us---sometimes well, sometimes with difficulty. When we are editing text it is often useful to define a "macro" that the computer can repeat as needed.

Any time that we can describe an activity such that our machines can handle it for us frees up precious time that we can devote to activities we really care about.


Identify places where our machines can act for us and make it easy for a person to define when and how they should act.

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Whenever we delegate part of our lives to our machines it is very important that they do not act outside of the bounds we set. We must remain Safe (SafeToUse). They must respect our concerns about our personal privacy---PrivacyGradient.

For our machines to act for us requires that they have GoodIntegrationWithOtherTools.


Last edited December 24, 2002
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