Back in the day MIT was the home of something called The Architecture Machine Group. It was largely their innovative work which spawned the MIT Media Lab. One of my all-time favourite projects was undertaken there, Put-That-There. It was done by two (then) graduate students, Chris Schmandt and Eric Hulteen, along with their supervisor Richard Bolt.
Given the importance that I give to learning from history, and the fact that I’m speaking at MIT, it seemed fitting that I build my presentation around that project. Seeking a good fit in form and function, this will not be a talk by some old geezer ranting on about the good old days. Rather, it will focus on what we can learn from that work, along many dimensions. Hopefully it will help provide additional optics through which to think about the nature of interaction, language models AI, “natural” language interfaces, and how our work fits into the broader ecosystem within which it is, and will be, situated.
All that from a project from around 1979! I hope.
Bill has an over 40-year involvement in research, practice and commentary around design, innovation, and human aspects of technology. Following a 20-year career as a professional musician, he morphed into a researcher and interaction designer - at the University of Toronto, Xerox PARC, Alias|Wavefront, SGI Inc. (Chief Scientist at the last two), and Microsoft Research, from which he “rewired” in Dec. 2022. He has been awarded four honourary doctorates, is co-recipient of an Academy Award for Scientific and Technical Achievement, received an ACM/SIGCHI Lifetime Achievement Award, and is a Fellow of the Association of Computer Machinery (ACM). Bill has published, lectured, and consulted widely, and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto, and a Distinguished Professor of Industrial Design at the Technical University Eindhoven. He is currently focused on curating his collection of over 850 devices which document the history of human interaction with computers. Beyond work, his passions are his family, mountains, rivers, bikes and books.
The talk will also be streamed over Zoom: https://mit.zoom.us/j/96454082075.