The Impact of HCI on Economy
The development of HCI’s has increased the productivity of technology and the users of technology by reducing the necessary input and therefore speeding up input. This makes the technology easier to use, and also allows the technology to do more in a smaller amount of time, with less resources and at a lower cost, increasing efficiency. These developments will allow technology to perform more tasks that it cannot currently handle, and allow the user to do less as the complexity of user input is reduced. Technologies like this can increase the workload of a person in a business, and allow more people with less specialised skills to be able to perform the job.
Human input can be reduced with technology such as text-to-speech software, which will allow documents to be read aloud by a synthesised voice. This can be applied in education, where a written document or a book extract for example, can be read out loud by a computer whilst the lecturer is able to do other work. This increases productivity, and reduces the margin for human error which increases the standard of education, ensuring good reputation for the place of education.
For industrial purposes, automatic judgement of output will ensure accurate results of manufacturing; reduce the amount of time it takes to manufacture products and save money on production as fewer employees are required. Although this saves the business money, there will be less available jobs, and as less skilled people are required, it would be harder for someone with good skills to get the same job. As the business would save money, this could mean that staff can be kept and retrained for other jobs.
A more recent development that has strong potential for applications is speech to text software which allows voice input. This is useful in education where a lecturer can teach a lesson whilst anything they say is recorded. This enables students who are not in the lesson to get an idea of the lesson content. It can also be used to allow deaf people to understand what is being said to them. This enables further communication and helps people with hearing impairments to communicate better in a place of work. It can also be used for accurate note taking, and will ensure that all staff or students, depending on its application, have all the notes from the lecture or speech, and can use it to ensure that the work they do based on these are more accurate, and allow for better results. In a business, this means that there is a reduction in human error, and the business can be more profitable due to less waste, better products, and better customer satisfaction.
Thought input, can be used to allow a person who cannot speak, write or type to perform tasks that require use of hands or voice. It enables people with disabilities that affect speech and movement to communicate and allow them to be more independent. In future uses, it could be good for design, allowing designing to make digital representations of their thoughts and create products according to these thoughts. This could make jobs easier as it requires less effort and ensures a wide variety of people can perform normal jobs with ease, making it easier for people with disabilities to earn a living.
Mobile communication has a large impact on the productivity and efficiency of people and computers. The impact can be both positive and negative depending on how mobile communication is used. It can be positive as it enables communication between people where it may otherwise be difficult, and ensure that staff in a business know what they need to do for example, it can also allow remote computing or remote access to files that an employee may need which would save time and increase the productivity of the staff members, but also it would save money as the staff would be able to work faster and more efficiently. It can be negative as some people may be distracted my things such as social networking which would reduce productivity and have a negative impact on a business.
HCI’s are recently becoming more intuitive, determining the steps a user will take and doing them in advance. By remembering individual user’s preferences and actions, tasks can be simplified for the user. They can be used to detect certain aspects of a user, eliminating the need for human input. This could be the room the user is in or the mood the user is in for example. This allows the actions to be automated, although this could increase the chance of inaccurate results. By detecting staff who enter a room, a computer system could prepare an environment for them, such as by logging them into a computer, preparing tools or even producing food to the user’s taste. This can make jobs easier and help the staff be more productive if menial tasks are reduced or made easier.
HCI is also having a negative impact on the economy, as computer motherboards are being taken to poor areas of countries such as India, where the components are stripped off the motherboard and reused. This is done because the labour is cheap, but there is a lack of concern for safety, as the workers are not supplied with safety equipment such as masks, gloves or even appropriate tools to salvage components safely. The workers are at risk of poisoning from hazardous chemicals and gases and other substances such as lead and mercury. They are also at risk from infection and harm from sharp components. Electrocution is also a risk especially from components such as capacitors where the electrical charge can be stored for days. It does, however, provide a job for the people who do this, as the constant production of computers provides a constant supply of motherboards for the staff.