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Reflections on Interactivity Through 25 years of SIGGRAPH

by Carl Machover

Interactivity has cone a long ways from the early days of SIGGRAPH. Early users would sit and use a keyboard to interface with the machine, typing lines of code. Today's users have it much easier, with current interfaces letting users express themselves in more comfortable, natural ways, such as with a mouse or a joystick.

Ease in the use of computers has come a long way. A good parallel would be the development of the automobile. The early cars almost required a chauffeur to handle them. Scientists and engineers using the early computer systems required a "guru" to tap into their potential. Well, with the advent of self-starters and automatic transmissions, any one can operate a car these days, and it's the same for computers. Graphical interfaces and improved operating systems can allow a user to control their own destiny, so to speak. And that's the core of what we mean when we say user-friendly.

We'll see even more of this in the near future, with voice recognition and gesture recognition moving into the mainstream.

I like to say that computers are fast and dumb. People, on the other hand are slow and creative. That's why computer graphics is the ideal interface between machines and people; it brings the best of both together.