The Evolution of User Interfaces

The Metabot platform evolves in accordance with the concept of user interface evolution.

To demonstrate how human interaction with the world of computers has evolved, let’s start with a quote from philosopher Mikhail Kurtov, who wrote in his 2014 book “Genesis of the Graphical User Interface. To the Theology of Code”:

“The evolution of the user interface in a simplified form goes through three stages:

I. Batch Interface as a convergence of the first stage of evolution of external tools (punch cards, punched tape) and the first stage of evolution of internal tools (machine code);

II. Command Line Interface (CLI) as a convergence of the second stage of evolution of external tools (teletype) and the second and third stages of evolution of internal tools (assembler, high-level languages); this also includes the so-called text user interface;

III. Graphical Interface (GUI) as a convergence of the fifth stage of evolution of external tools (keyboard + graphic display + mouse) and the third stage of evolution of internal tools; the emergence of WIMP was preceded by the reinvention of the multiscreen and experiments with new manipulators (Sketchpad, NLS, GRAIL, etc.); WIMP development at Xerox PARC was based on visual perception research;”

Let’s be bold and allow ourselves to continue the author’s series by analogy:

IV. Tablet as a device with a touch screen that allows you to control computer programs by touching the program objects on the screen with your fingers.

V. Smartphone as a mobile device with a touch screen and phone function, enhanced with the functionality of a pocket personal computer. Smartphones were supplied with pre-installed web browsers as a means of accessing the Internet and the first messengers as instant messaging systems over the Internet.

VI. Conversational/Dialogue Interfaces arose as a convergence of messengers, platforms for managing conversational communications, and service nodes on the Internet. This led to the emergence of asynchronous communications. Messengers, the most downloaded and used mobile applications, are transforming into super-applications due to their mass popularity and the ability to integrate business functions into them through chatbots.

VII. VR Devices as an interface for virtual reality and the metaverse, providing full immersion into a virtual environment where work conferences, meetings with friends, and even shopping in three-dimensional space occur.

Stage (IV) (tablet) is a natural continuation of the direction outlined and thoroughly analyzed in Kurtov’s work. The mouse is replaced by the finger, but starting from stage (V) (smartphone) we see a qualitatively new stage in human-computer communication. The movement that started with the unification of the telephone and personal computer ended with the transformation of the smartphone into a universal tool for operative access to the Internet and instant exchange of asynchronous messages. Telephone communication takes a back seat, and the companies providing it turn into mobile internet providers.

At stage VI (dialogue UI), humanity began to communicate with computers in the most natural way, using natural language in the form of text or voice messages that came to the input of the platform controlling conversational communications. The platform, in turn, uses artificial intelligence technologies to recognize text (NLP/NLU), determines the user’s intentions, and connects the user with service nodes on the Internet. The smartphone is always at hand, service nodes are constantly available, they can be interacted with through regular dialogue communications, in other words, through conversation – which means we effectively get an extension of our human bodies. Thanks to the asynchronous nature of communication, you can communicate and respond at any convenient time, email is partially replaced, communication between people becomes simpler and more convenient, more intense and productive.

The emergence of modern interactive dialogue communications causes tectonic shifts in the world of marketing and sales, customer experience and support, as well as in the development of websites, applications and services, presenting new requirements for their architecture: site navigation is replaced by the functionality of an interactive communication platform, communication becomes multichannel.

At stage VII (VR), we will be fully immersed in a virtual environment, not limited by a small screen, we will interact with each other not with a keyboard or mouse, but with voice, gestures, emotions, as we do in real life. The interface change will lead to fundamental changes in society as we approach a time when buying goods and services on the Internet will become an exciting three-dimensional experience.

Metabot follows the described evolution of computer interfaces and is intended for the most effective and convenient connection of people and computers. As of today, the most common and convenient way of interaction for a person is messengers. The number of messenger users has exceeded several billion people, making these applications the most popular means for business integration.