In an article published on The Huffington Post Web site, Steve Ballmer suggests that 2010 will be the year of the "natural user interface."
But I believe we will look back on 2010 as the year we expanded beyond the mouse and keyboard and started incorporating more natural forms of interaction such as touch, speech, gestures, handwriting, and vision -- what computer scientists call the "NUI" or natural user interface. This process is already well underway through the proliferation of new touch screen phones and PCs, and in our growing reliance on voice-controlled in-car technology for communications, navigation, and entertainment.
Now, as is my way, I am skeptical that there will be a mass migration to a natural user interface this year or in the near future. There are still many kinks to work out with these interfaces. Making the same hand gesture three times just to get the page to scroll is not a good user experience. It is one I may accept on my smart phone, but not on my desktop.
What do you think? Are you ready to give up the mouse and keyboard for a natural user interface based on touch screens and hand gestures? Do you think natural user interfaces are ready to become the primary way we interact with computers?
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.