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AI – why designers are still in the game

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Our Daniel Wikström joined one of the workshops during the FBTB19 conference. Here are some of his thoughts about Christopher Noessel's workshop "Designing for AI".

As a full-time Trekkie, I find myself constantly daydreaming about cool sci-fi-like technologies of the future. Longing to be apart of a future where the extent of AI in my daily life is beyond Siri or Google assistant. Yet all around me, I see how the development and promise of “cool” future technologies such as AI and machine learning, solely being associated, and more importantly accredited to developers. 

As a designer I have felt compartmentalized, my occupation being forever condemned and restricted to one day perhaps, at best, designing the user interface of a replicator. I have essentially been shut-off from the innovation.


Picture of replicator:

However, after attending Chris Noessel’s workshop “Designing AI for People” my hopes are back.

Furthermore, I found myself inspired more than ever to help other future technology enthusiastic designers like myself to realize how our practice is very relevant to the field of AI, and that it is about to become even more relevant.

Here are just a few takeaways from Chris Noessel’s workshop at From Business to Buttons 2019. I recommend attending one of his workshops, because there are much more to learn than what I will list here. In case you can’t right at this moment, start to get to know him and his ideas by watching his talk at FBTB19

Anyways, back to it, the Chris Noessel workshop in Stockholm 2019.

The workshop essentially entailed an introduction to types and different levels of AI, as well as exercises on how to create scenarios with these types of AI. At the core of the workshop, two AI terms were defined, Assistant and Agentive technology, which essentially entails any narrow AI that either assists us in our tasks or that is able to make decisions on our behalf, respectively. Get a full explanation by Chris here.

Here are three gems I was able to retain from the workshop

  1. Designing AI for people means many things, but in order to design something that will be in use, we must first start by “designing the right things”. Chris used the double diamond to illustrate how we are the initial stages of discovering and defining what actually is “the right thing to design” before we “design things right”. Essentially making designers the visionaries of this quest. 




  1. Since the workshop entailed designing AI for people, we looked at an embodied model that allowed us to see how the tech enables the user to be better at what they do, as Chris put it - “A good assistant helps, a great assistant helps you get better”.



  1. Finally, Scenarios, Storyboards, and lo-fi prototypes are powerful! These tools lend the non-coder the ability to explore user stories, make strategic decisions, and most importantly to communicate with important stakeholders.

See all the talks from FBTB19 here!

Take a course in AI for designers, at inUse Academy!