The term transparent computing sounds like a term from an alien language to most of us in today's society I am sure. People best understand communication as a two-way street. But really if you think about it, a four lane interstate would be closer to the truth. Humans communicate in a variety of ways: words, body language, eye contact, touch and certain gestures. But in human and computer interaction the interface is done with a keyboard and a pointing device. This interaction not only forces the user to master new techniques but their range is restricted. Gary Taubes brings out this point in an article in the January 2000 edition of IBM Magazine. .
Today scientists at IBM research labs around the globe are studying a wide range of interaction between humans and computers so that the computer has the ability to interface with the individual person instead of the person learning how to interface with the computer. The people at IBM Research believe that a good interface with a computer should be one that is not noticed.
Specific ways of doing this sort of interaction vary dramatically. Some of the ways IBM is looking at are shifting the burden of interaction to the computer itself. Having a computer that can be manipulated not only by a keyboard or mouse but that recognizes voice, touch, sight, hearing and other ways of sensing seems to be the wave of the future. This is what IBM and other scientists consider transparent computing. Will scientists be able to find a more effective user interface? Only time will tell. My guess is they will.
After reading and rereading the article on transparent computing, I realize how important this research is to us as computer users. Think of it-if you could just walk up to a computer and it senses from your speech or just your touch or can read from looking at your eyes what you are thinking then you are a member of the computer society.