Human vs Machine Interaction: A few more thoughts

As I mentioned in my previous blog, in our discussion today Dr. Graham asked this question: “How is interacting with a machine different from interacting with a human?”  It is important for us to think through this as we formulate ideas about blended learning (BL).  In BL, some learning is done face-to-face, and some is mediated by computer or other technology.

I’ve actually put this question out on Twitter and Facebook; I’m guessing, however, that I’ll get few bites to discuss on a Friday night! 🙂  But I would love to hear others’ ideas.

Here are some things we did talk about:

  • complexity: One reason I hate getting an automated response on the telephone is that I am suddenly limited to pressing 1, 2, or 3 (etc) for my choices.  Sometimes I feel that my concern fits none of them, or overlaps with multiple options.  I want a human, who can deal with the complexity I see to my question.  So I press 0, of course! 🙂  Humans offer understanding and adaptability, elements of complexity, which machines do not.
  • reciprocity: We’re still figuring this one out.  Because a computer can be reciprocal.  Sometimes, it can give back-and-forth feedback a lot faster than a human could (at least on multiple choice!).  Some computers (so-called automated agents) are getting surprisingly close to behaving in human-like ways.  (And sometimes we humans can behave very machine-like!)  Is there a better term to use here for the give-and-take, back-and-forth interaction that occurs between humans and which computers or machines are not capable of?

Machines do have certain strengths:

  • consistency
  • computation (there are more, but this was all we listed so far)

Humans have strengths, a few of which include:

  • creativity
  • emotion
  • passion
  • energy

I’d love more input.  What do you think are the differences between interacting with a human and interacting with a machine?  When is a machine better (or at least, more efficient in terms of cost/time/etc)?  When is a human better?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s