What in computing is called HCI, Human-Computer-Interaction, describes not only a set of relations between two different subjects, but implicitly a philosophy of approach and a hierarchy of power among the two (or many) parties involved. In classical HCI understanding, there are two ways of addressing (designing) the user (the “other”) into the process. The first one that ignores the competences of the user entirely, assuming the subject would eventually adapt, learn, in order to achieve its purpose. The second, relying on user needs analysis and surveys (pre-collected data). However, both approaches contain a theory model of the user and the task domain, with reference to “idiot-proof” design philosophies that were only implicit in some first generation HCI.
Ubiquitous computing (ubicomp) is a concept in computing where everything is meant to be connected everywhere, at any time, in an automated manner. This idea is on principle dismissive of traditional HUI models that rely on GUI (graphic user interface), command-line or menu-driven interactions. While some might argue the concept is already in place in what have been named NUI (natural user interfaces, at sight invisible while the user increasingly interacts with them), a fully developed ubiquitous interface has yet to be developed.
As Roland Barthes writes in Camera Lucida, “[I]n Photography I can never deny that the thing has been there. There is a superimposition here: of reality and of the past”. But where is there, and where is here? When is then and when is now? In a Russian-doll arrangement of self-reflexive elements, in a visual and temporal mise-en-abyme, how much of yours is actually mine?
Text by Domenico E.Roberti