A User Acceptance Equation for Intelligent Assistants

Brad A. Myers
Human Computer Interaction Institute
School of Computer Science
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3891

To be presented at:
AAAI 2007 Spring Symposium on Interaction Challenges for Intelligent Assistants



All intelligent assistants, human or computerized, will make mistakes. Therefore tasks performed by an assistant will generally proceed with some level of oversight and participation by the user. How can we design intelligent assistants with which people will be happy? How can we avoid people turning off our intelligent assistants and just doing the tasks by hand?

This talk will present an informal equation for determining when a user will be happy with an intelligent assistant. This equation includes factors such as the utility of the intelligent assistant, the success rate at performing the user's desired tasks, the difficulty of monitoring and detecting mistakes, and the ease of corrections. One intuition is that this equation is not a simple linear combination of these factors -- instead there seem to be discontinuities, where small changes in the value of these factors have dramatic changes in the user's attitudes. This talk will discuss the factors and present many examples of intelligent assistants to illustrate different values. Some of the examples will come from our work at Carnegie Mellon University on demonstrational interfaces and on the Radar project. Other examples will come from other research and commercial systems.

Short Bio:

Brad A. Myers is a Professor in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute in the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. He is an ACM Fellow and a member of the CHI Academy. He is the principal investigator for the Pebbles Handheld Computer Project and the Natural Programming Project, and previously led the Amulet and Garnet projects. He is the author or editor of over 300 publications, including the books "Creating User Interfaces by Demonstration" and "Languages for Developing User Interfaces," and he has been on the editorial board of five journals. He has been a consultant on user interface design and implementation to over 50 companies. Myers received a PhD in computer science at the University of Toronto where he developed the Peridot user interface tool. He received the MS and BSc degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during which time he was a research intern at Xerox PARC. From 1980 until 1983, he worked at PERQ Systems Corporation. His research interests include intelligent user interfaces, user interface development systems, user interfaces, handheld computers, programming environments, programming language design, programming by example, visual programming, interaction techniques, and window management. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE, and also belongs to SIGCHI, ACM, the IEEE Computer Society, and Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility.