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Computers are as ubiquitous as automobiles and toasters, but exploiting their capabilities still seems to require the training of a supersonic test pilot. VCR displays blinking a constant 12 noon around the world testify to this conundrum. As interactive television, palmtop diaries, and "smart" credit cards proliferate, the gap between millions of untrained users and an equal number of sophisticated microprocessors will become even more sharply apparent. With people spending a growing proportion of their lives in front of computer screens-informing and entertaining one another, exchanging correspondence, working, shopping and falling in love-some accommodation must be found between limited human attention spans and increasingly complex collections of software and data.

P. Maes, "Intelligent Software: Easing the Burdens that Computers Put on People," in IEEE Intelligent Systems, vol. 11, no. , pp. 62-63, 1996.
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