Apple's Knowledge Navigator: Why Doesn't that Conversational Agent Exist Yet?

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Newendorp, Amanda K.
Sanaei, Mohammadamin
Perron, Arthur J
Sabouni, Hila
Javadpour, Nikoo
Sells, Maddie
Nelson, Katherine
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Association for Computing Machinery
Dorneich, Michael
Gilbert, Stephen
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Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering
The Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering teaches the design, analysis, and improvement of the systems and processes in manufacturing, consulting, and service industries by application of the principles of engineering. The Department of General Engineering was formed in 1929. In 1956 its name changed to Department of Industrial Engineering. In 1989 its name changed to the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering.
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Virtual Reality Applications Center
At VRAC, our mission is clear: “To elevate the synergy between humans and complex interdisciplinary systems to unprecedented levels of performance”. Through our exceptional Human Computer Interaction (HCI) graduate program, we nurture the next generation of visionaries and leaders in the field, providing them with a comprehensive understanding of the intricate relationship between humans and technology. This empowers our students to create intuitive and transformative user experiences that bridge the gap between innovation and practical application.
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Apple's 1987 Knowledge Navigator video contains a vision of a sophisticated digital personal assistant, but the natural human-agent conversational dialog shown does not currently exist. To investigate why, the authors analyzed the video using three theoretical frameworks: the DiCoT framework, the HAT Game Analysis framework, and the Flows of Power framework. These were used to codify the human-agent interactions and classify the agent's capabilities. While some barriers to creating such agents are technological, other barriers arise from privacy, social and situational factors, trust, and the financial business case. The social roles and asymmetric interactions of the human and agent are discussed in the broader context of HAT research, along with the need for a new term for these agents that does not rely on a human social relationship metaphor. This research offers designers of conversational agents a research roadmap to build more highly capable and trusted non-human teammates.
This proceeding is published as Newendorp, Amanda K., Mohammadamin Sanaei, Arthur J. Perron, Hila Sabouni, Nikoo Javadpour, Maddie Sells, Katherine Nelson, Michael Dorneich, and Stephen B. Gilbert. "Apple's Knowledge Navigator: Why Doesn't that Conversational Agent Exist Yet?." In Proceedings of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 1-14. 2024. doi: Copyright 2024, The Authors. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike International 4.0 License.