Interfacing to the information highway

Terry Winograd, Stanford University

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University March 4, 1994


We hear a great deal of hype today about the "Information superhighway" and what it will bring to every home and workplace. There is also a great deal of serious and intensive research going on, to develop the technologies that will make up the "infrastructure." Major telecommunications, software, and entertainment companies are leaping into the glamorous areas, such as multimedia entertainment titles, megachannels of video on demand, and interactive television. A different band of hearty, but intrepid researchers are starting from the base of existing computer networks, such as the Internet, developing tools that can be used today and extended incrementally towards the networks of the future. I will describe some of the current state and directions of this Internet-centered research and speculate on the areas that will be developed in the next few years.


Terry Winograd is Professor of Computer Science at Stanford University. He has done extensive research and writing on natural language understanding and, more recently on the design of human-computer interaction. His book, Understanding Computers and Cognition: A New Foundation for Design (Addison-Wesley, 1987, co-authored with Fernando Flores), takes a critical look at work in artificial intelligence and suggests new directions for the design of computer systems and their integration into human activity. His most recent book, co-edited with Paul Adler, is Usability: Turning Technologies into Tools (Oxford, 1992).

Winograd is a consultant to Interval Research and a founder of Action Technologies, a developer of workflow software. He is on the national board of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, of which he is a founding member and past president. He is also on the national advisory board of the Association for Software Design and the Internet Advisory Board for America Online. He directs the Project on People, Computers, and Design at Stanford, where he is developing a research and teaching program on Human-Computer Interaction Design.


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