Why Google Duplex might make my design job redundant

A year ago, Google blew the world away with Duplex, an AI assistant that can make phone calls for you. The demo went viral and raised a lot of ethical and philosophical questions.

Last month, Google announced an update for Duplex: it can now use websites for you.

This announcement might not have been as controversial as last year’s, but I believe it is a transformative step towards the future of user interfaces. To understand why, let’s have a quick look back at the history of human-computer interaction (HCI).

From the command line interface to AI

Ever since they were invented, computers have been weird and hard to use. The history of technology have been a constant battle towards making them more human.

Early computers were a nightmare. Their hardware-based input meant you would operate them by cranking a heavy metallic handle, feeding them perforated punch cards or by moving physical switches and cables around. This was extremely tedious and slow.

Why Google Duplex might make my design job redundant 1
Credit: Jason Scott
The VT100 video terminal.

In the 1950s, we transitioned to the command line interface. This was the first step towards making computers more human,…


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