Intel Lab to Focus on Human Side of IT

Intel Corp. is creating a new research lab dedicated to figuring out how people want to use computers in the future.

Justin Rattner, Intel's chief technology officer, announced the formation of the lab, dubbed Interaction and Experience Research, at the company's annual Research Day in Mountain View, Calif., last month.

"Better technology isn't enough these days," Rattner said. "What the individual values today is a deeply personal information experience." He said that Intel has assembled a team of user-interface technologists and social scientists "to create the next generation of user experiences."

Intel fellow Genevieve Bell will lead the lab, which will "build on 15 years of research into the ways in which people use, reuse and resist new information and communication technologies," she said.

"We'll ask the question of what people are passionate about, what they want to do and, equally important, what they do not want to do with technology," she added.

Bell said Intel wants to marry these human insights with the company's computer research to create new technologies.

Manny Vara, a technology strategist at Intel, said in an interview that the company is putting a strong new emphasis on studying people, how they use technology now and how they want to use it in the future.

"In 10 to 20 years, we probably won't even think of it as computing anymore, if we do it right," said Vara. "It'll just become part of what you're doing."

For instance, today people talk a lot about social networking, he said, but in a few years digitally connecting with people socially and for business will become routine.

"Any piece of software will have social aspects built in," Vara contended. "We're going to make a lot of these consumer tools more useful, and you'll see more and more of them on the business side."

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that first appeared on Computerworld.com.

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