Perhaps the most underappreciated accelerating transition we are participating in today is the emergence of the Linguistic User Interface or LUI. The LUI is the natural language front end to an increasingly intelligent and profoundly humanizing and malleable Internet.

LUIs exist today in primitive form in interfaces like Google, but will be increasingly powerful in coming years. So what will Windows 2015 look like? For one thing, it seems clear now that it will have some very sophisticated software simulations of human beings as part of the interface. First-world culture finally spends more on video games than movies, and this will apparently be a permanent feature of our world from this point forward. These “interactive motion pictures” are more compelling and educating, particularly to our youth, the fastest-learning segment of our society, than any linear scripts, no matter how professionally produced.



Now imagine that we have begun talking to our computers in a crude but useful verbal exchange circa 2015. It is now very clear that we will not simply want to talk to a disembodied machine. We will want to relate to our favorite virtual human beings, from a wide range of possible choices, as those agents will have an ability to nonverbally communicate, to frown or place their hand on their chin until they understand what we are telling them to do, to smile when they detect we are smiling at their jokes, to talk and act in calm and relaxing manner when their voice analyzers tell them we are upset, to speak more rapidly when they detect we are bored or hurried, etc. This parallel, nonverbal visual channel makes all our linguistic communication a lot more efficient. It’s why face-to-face meetings are preferred over telephonic meetings for a wide range of interactive tasks. These LUI-equipped virtual avatars will thus model and display human emotion and body language, albeit with a speed and consistency that no biological human being can match.



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