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Problem statement

Software hegemony, seamlessness of thought, and the building of computer science upon a foundation of secrecy, present a series of problems to the individual. Advanced computer systems is one area where a single individual can make a tremendous contribution to the advancement of human knowledge. A system that excludes any individual from exploring it fully, may prevent that individual from ``thinking outside the box'' and therefore advancing the state-of-the-art.

Some of the new directions in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) suggest bringing advanced computing into all aspects of life. Computers everywhere, constantly monitoring our activities, and responding ``intelligently'' have the potential to make matters worse, from the above perspective, because of the possibility of excluding the individual user from knowledge not only of certain aspects of the computer upon his or her desk, but also of the principle of operation and the function of everyday things.


Steve Mann