Implications of artificial intelligence for end user use of online systems

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


At present the end user must often rely on an intermediary to make use of available online systems. Artificial intelligence (AI) holds the possibility of making systems accessible to a wider range of people. AI research is a branch of computer science which attempts to develop programs to enable computer systems to communicate more fluently, to explain why they have taken certain actions, to handle unforeseen situations, and to exhibit other similar signs of intelligent behavior. This paper reviews a number of studies which demonstrate how AI techniques can be applied in the design of end user-oriented interfaces to existing online systems as well as in the development of future generations of online systems intended for the end user. Criteria proposed for user-oriented systems are summarized and suggestions are given of the ways in which AI techniques may enable one to realize them. These criteria are found to focus on the language for man-machine communication and on approaches to delegating more aspects of the retrieval process to the system. Available technology such as intelligent terminals can be used to augment the interface of existing online systems by varying command languages and display formats. The features of two prototypes demonstrating this approach are described. AI work on man-machine communication and knowledge-based systems which is likely to influence the design of future online systems is highlighted. Finally, Licklider's proposal for "procognitive systems" is recalled, and it is suggested that AI techniques provide indications of how such systems could eventually be built.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-391
Number of pages9
JournalOnline Information Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences


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