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An Industry in Denial

We are a world awash in high-tech tools. Computers dominate the workplace and our homes, and vehicles are filling up with silicon-powered gadgets. All of these computerized devices are wildly sophisticated and powerful, but every one of them is dauntingly difficult and confusing to use.

The high-tech industry is in denial of a simple fact that every person with a cell phone or a word processor can clearly see: Our computerized tools are too hard to use. The technologists who create software and high-tech gadgets are satisfied with their efforts. The software engineers[1] who create them have tried as hard as they can to make them easy to use, and they have made some minor progress. They believe that their products are as easy to use as it is technically possible to make them. As engineers, their belief is in technology, and they have faith that only some new technology, such as voice recognition or artificial intelligence, will improve the user's experience.

[1] Throughout the computer industry, the term “software engineer” is used synonymously with the term “programmer”; throughout this book, I have done the same.


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