Facing up to the interface: Intel gets really personal with computers

Date:22 October 2013 Author: Alan Duggan Tags:, ,

Intel believes computing should be really personal – and it’s building the hardware and software to make it happen.

It was a veritable feast of all-knowing computers, tiny processors, cool gadgets and passionate geeks, but for me, the most refreshing aspect of the 2013 Intel Developer Forum (IDF13) in San Francisco was the focus on people’s needs rather than the icily remote capabilities of silicon chips.

That, and the revelation that one of the most powerful and influential executives on the Intel team is a female anthropologist whose job it is to learn about people and their needs, and what it takes to make them happy. As a survivor of the era when IT guys did things their way and blamed every failure or misunderstanding on the hapless user, I cannot over-emphasise the importance of this shift in thinking.

Australian-born Dr Genevieve Bell is director of Interaction and Experience Research at Intel, leading a team of social scientists, interaction designers, human factors engineers and computer scientists who delve deep into our habits, behaviours, passions and fears, then attempt to find ways in which technology can make us safer, healthier, more productive, happier and better connected. The company says she has fundamentally altered the way in which it envisions and plans its products – and that can only be a good thing.

Read more in PM’s November 2013 issue – on sale 21 October.