September 2019

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A Designer's Guide to work in AI

AIX is the area of design about how we design products and experiences in the world automated by Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Sudha Jamthe

Sudha Jamthe

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A mall in Cupertino, California near the Apple campus has been left unoccupied as the builder and the community negotiate how it should be re-modeled.

The mall building is automated to save energy, has connected lights that switch off remotely and has connected security cameras that keep the premise safe. But the building has no life. Why? Because it does not have people walking down the corridors or eating in the coffee shops and filling the place with human sounds.

As we automate buildings and get to a connected world, this is a reminder about how the people who use the buildings be it homes, malls, office space, airports need the technology personalized and adaptable to their needs, as Autonomous Vehicles are.

Ken Sinclair talked about this as "Empathy of Buildings as a Business Function" in my interview earlier this year. 

Enter AIX!

AIX is the area of design about how we design products and experiences in the world automated by Artificial Intelligence (AI).

My friend Andy Edmonds introduced me to this concept when we worked at Mobile Analytics at eBay getting me to think about how product design experiences should be informed by customer data. MIT Media Lab calls this Computational Design. Computational Design is about using data to inform design decisions and will change how designers work.

It raises three important questions for me. I have partnered with Service Design expert Dr.Charles Ikem to build a new course called "AIX" to answer these questions and train a new set of designers, product managers who are increasingly facing this question. The course 'AIX' will be open on DriverlessWorldSchool on Sep 20, 2019.

          1. What is Computational Design and what is the challenge for designers in working with AI?
In a self-driving car, if the UX is going to be built using AR or VR or Voice how does the customer communicate with the AI when the AI is learning to adapt to the customer, and the customer is learning to adapt to the AI?

The Computational Design allows the designers to use the data from the car from the customer interaction captured by sensors inside the car and the digital twins to make inferences on the customer's preferences of how they want the experience to build and adapt accordingly.
          1. How does a Designers's job change  and what are the new designer jobs and tools and techniques they need to learn to communicate with the AI Engineers?
Designers are creative people, and they use UX research to understand customer preferences, persona development to understand the different roles customers take in interacting with a product or service and do user engineering.

What are the new Designer jobs "data designer," design technologist" and how can current designers transform to these roles

How can they communicate with AI engineers who build out the AI models using the data from the AI interaction and keep the design that best meets the customer's needs?
          1. Futuristic implications of AIX

Design will have to focus on humanizing and gendering the AI. Here is work by about al alternate design for Alexa voice assistant to ensure it is gender adaptable. Such work is needed when buildings, cars and public spaces in cities are automated by AI to make sure the AI interaction is acceptable to the sensibilities of everyone. Another question that is open is what will be the role of the designer in training the AI as it continues to learn and improve and become more intelligence See Ken's article with his definition of AI. "Automated Intelligence with Autonomous Interactions."  The term "AI" Artificial Intelligence seems to be troweled on top of everything these days. But I feel we are all a long way from its true definition.

AIX is here already, and it is time designers learn how their roles are pivotal in humanizing our interaction with AI in buildings, cars and all AI-driven products. Computational Design  is going to change designer's job to demand data literacy and create new transformative roles such as data designers. Designers need to learn AIX to humanize buildings and cars by adding human emotion as a business function using Computational Design. AIX course  will be open online on DriverlessWorldSchool to help designers learn to adapt to this world of automated buildings and autonomous vehicles driven by AI.

About the Author

Sudha Jamthe is the CEO of IoTDisruptions and teaches Internet of Things and Autonomous Vehicle Business courses at Stanford Continuing Studies and at

ControlTalk NOW Our first guest is author and Future Technologist, Sudha Jamthe, from Silicon Valley, who explains business model creation along the yellow-bricked-digital-transformational-highway


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