Our CEO, Karl T. Muth, is set to speak at M+DEV in Madison, WI.

In addition to being CEO of Haystack WS, Karl is an investor in early-stage companies and a partner in multiple venture capital vehicles. This Friday, he’ll be speaking on a panel about his investments in the videogame space, where he’s acted as an angel investor and early-stage VC and helped bring independent videogames to market.

Q: What does gaming have to do with your other areas of tech investment?
Muth: While gaming isn’t per se related to search (or machine learning or pattern recognition), all of these things touch on how we interact with machines. In the future, it’s almost certain that people will interact with computers in ways that are simpler than today. Simplicity and transparency will be how interfaces are judged; that’s why the scene with Tom Cruise in Minority Report was so powerful when that film came out – it cut through everyone’s perceptions of how clunky it had to be to deal with media clips and other assets.

Q: Simpler in what way?
Muth: If we think about reality as the ultimate user interface, we see the flaws in what’s out there in terms of technology. How much easier is it to compose a sentence in your head versus composing a text message or composing an email? It’s getting easier, with good speech recognition and other technologies, but we have a long way to go. I think videogames are a great way to see what works and what doesn’t in the layer between the user and the machine, and between simulated realities and the real-world reality of a person holding a controller or mouse.

Q: What excites you most in this area of technology?
Muth: I love understanding why counterintuitive interface ideas work. In some games, the game pauses when you look at your inventory or search for an item, like in Hitman. In other games, the world keeps moving while you rummage through your backpack looking for the item you need. In real life, we wish the former were how things worked, but we accept that the latter is how things work. These subtle questions about how complex concepts like time, risk, distance, economics, and rules are dealt with teach us a lot about what users will accept in an interface.

Interested to hear more of Karl’s comments? Attend M+DEV this Friday.

A Madison Game Development Conference