Taming HAL: Designing Interfaces Beyond 2001 Review

Taming HAL: Designing Interfaces Beyond 2001
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Taming HAL: Designing Interfaces Beyond 2001 ReviewPersonally, I have found on many instances, a baffling logic concerning the way machine-human interfaces operate, thus it came as a pleasant surprise to read Asaf Degani's book: Taming HAL. Starting with relatively simple devices, such as portable phones and bedside alarms, Dr. Degani walks us through the logical pathways that we expect, what the designer created, and ultimately how the machine behaves when interacting with the user. The result, often, is not a pretty picture: unexpected outcomes.
Yet, as Degani points out, many of these systems had flawed logic rules built into them by designers that neglected predominate stereotypical or cultural mores that most individuals expect of how systems should operate. Moreover, the presentation of machine modes frequently beguiles the user into thinking the device is operating in one fashion, whereas in reality it is functioning in another. Using logic diagrams, Degani analyses a variety of simple and complex systems and demonstrates that the end-result can range from the annoying to the deadly.
Some of the case studies will astound the reader: for example, the grounding of the luxury cruise liner Royal Majesty on the shoals of Nantucket. However, these bizarre tales become more comprehensible when one sees that the professionals entrusted with operation of the vessels in question failed to understand the true nature of the automatic systems that were supposed to guide and assist them. Understandably, Degani focuses much attention on aircraft systems (his specialty), and I would have liked to see more examples in the medical and computer fields, but the book contains extremely useful information to both laypersons and professionals alike, and is a great read.Taming HAL: Designing Interfaces Beyond 2001 Overview

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