mean this in the most innocent and platonic sense—if your teacher really cares for your well-being—and you know that, because your teacher will ask about you, will scold you for not doing the right thing, and will give you stories about why you should do this or do that—the learning can be unbelievably different.”
Throughout his career, Michael had always been interested in not only the development of computing and information technology but also the impact of technology on humans. Bill Gates, former chairman and chief software architect for Microsoft, said this about Michael: “More than anyone else in his field, Michael understood that technology—particularly computer technology—must serve people’s needs, not the other way round. He was the first real ‘technology humanist’—he believed that technology was largely worthless unless it truly enhanced human life, human communication, human work and play. He would often talk about his childhood in Greece, and I remember how passionate he was about what technology could do for countries such as his own.”
Michael was the author of eight books. His last book was entitled The Unfinished Revolution: Human-Centered Computers and What They Can Do for Us. In the book he expressed his frustration with the gap between the humanistic promise that he had seen for computers and how things have turned out in the commercial world. Rather than being content as a critic, Michael decided to do something about it, and led the faculty and researchers of LCS and the artificial intelligence lab to create Project Oxygen, which is intended to make computers easier to use—“as natural a part of our environment as the air we breathe.” He assembled an international team of corporate partners to form an alliance with MIT. Project Oxygen and pervasive human-centered computing together were his final legacy—a revolution unfinished.
Michael is survived by his wife, Catherine; two children from a previous marriage, Leonidas and Alexandra; and one granddaughter, Kiera.