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Artificial Intelligence (Ai)

Your constantly-updated definition of Artificial Intelligence (Ai) and collection of topical content and literature

What is Artificial Intelligence (Ai)?

Artificial intelligence or AI are computer programs that can learn and make decisions without humans.

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UX design pioneer Don Norman warns that these programs are not truly intelligent yet. They don't have wants, needs or a sense of self as humans do. Instead, they make decisions based on patterns in data too large for humans to process.

AI follows a complex set of logical rules called algorithms. Multiple algorithms connect in a way that mimics the human brain, called a neural network. This network can learn and improve its process over time. We call this "machine learning."

Artificial intelligence has already improved technologies like voice recognition and language translation. Even still, AI has shown even more potential and some surprising new applications.

For example, AI can create art and literature in the style of human authors and artists. Yet, they don't express emotions or create their own artistic style without human help.

This emerging technology has a variety of exciting and frightening uses. AI programs make it easy to pretend to be someone else or pass off AI content as your own. On top of that, the ethics of sentient AI will be a hot topic in various fields as the technology advances.

What Programs Use AI?

Text Generators

  • ChatGPT: This program can write new text by comparing itself to similar works on the subject.

  • Bard: A chatbot by Google used to create a more intelligent and conversational search algorithm.

Image Generators

  • Midjourney: An image generator that uses subject and style prompts to create new works of art.

  • Dalle-2: Similar to Midjourney but specializes in realistic images.

Video and Speech

  • Gen-1 Video editor: A video editor that shifts a video into a different style. For example, making a live-action video into an animation.

  • DeepFaceLab: One of many programs that make "deep fakes." Deep-fakes are videos that change faces and voices to impersonate other people. The most famous example is Jordan Peele’s Obama deep fake video from 2018.

  • Dragon Speech recognition: This program learns speech patterns to turn speech into text. It was the basis of most modern speech recognition software.

UX Design

  • Galileo AI: Entire user interfaces can be generated based on text prompts.

  • Genius: The AI design companion for Figma that fleshes out a full layout from a few design elements.

Artificial Intelligence in Design

Interaction designers use AI technologies in a variety of ways. Artificial intelligence improves search algorithms for web searches, streaming services and other platforms. They can analyze terabytes of data to find patterns a human brain couldn't.

There is no doubt that AI will change how users interact with products and services. AI voice assistants and chatbots are examples of interfaces that adapt to user inputs in real-time. UX designers design the voice and the functions of voice assistants to appeal to users. Even though chatbots are text, they still need to make sense in the product's context of use. Like any interface, designers want to make a user experience that users trust and enjoy using.

“There’s a very simple formula, perceived trustworthiness plus perceived expertise will lead to perceived credibility.
Since AI is in service to human beings, I can't imagine a case where UX isn’t relevant…If you blow the UX design, it doesn't matter how good the AI is.”
-Dan Rosenberg, UX Professor at San Jose University.

The goal of artificial intelligence today is to be credible. They should be reliable tools and assistants for humans performing specific tasks. This credibility comes partly from a well-designed user experience and intuitive user interface.

Will AI Replace Workers?

The potential for AI to replace human workers is possible. But, it is more likely to be used to assist humans in making decisions. For example, AI could assist in usability tests or find patterns in user feedback or other user research tasks. AI has the potential to transform the essential tasks of a UX researcher.

“When it comes to [user] research, it is such a strategic discipline I can't think that we will ever automate it. If we are talking about general usability testing, that is going to be something where AI is going to play a big role. AI does something extremely well and that’s pattern recognition.”
-Greg Nudelman, Head of Design at LogicMonitor and Author on UX for AI

The Future of Artificial Intelligence

Many experts see the potential for AI to change human-computer interaction but also have doubts. AI systems can improve data analysis, assist translation, and help creatives bring ideas to life.

Yet, all this brings up deep ethical questions. Creatives of all types are forced to compete with AI, which can plagiarize their work in minutes. The question of who owns that AI content is also unclear.

Some communities have banned AI art entirely, even as the ability to tell them apart from human work diminishes. Even if AI does not fully replace humans, what will our economy or workplace look like if AI replaces daily tasks or even jobs?

In the future, “Strong AI” would learn, think, and generally function on the same level as humans. As fully sentient beings, there are moral questions of ownership and legal definitions of autonomy to grapple with.

Despite these challenges, tech companies are investing heavily in AI to explore the possibilities.

Learn More About Artificial Intelligence

Watch our Master Class: Dan Rosenberg: How To Design for and With Artificial Intelligence

Watch our Master Class: Greg Nudelman: How To Design Experiences for AI

Further Reading

AI Versus Machine Learning

Everything About Usability Testing Through Al-Powered Software

What is Strong AI?

Literature on Artificial Intelligence (Ai)

Here’s the entire UX literature on Artificial Intelligence (Ai) by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:

Learn more about Artificial Intelligence (Ai)

Take a deep dive into Artificial Intelligence (Ai) with our course Design for a Better World with Don Norman .

“Because everyone designs, we are all designers, so it is up to all of us to change the world. However, those of us who are professional designers have an even greater responsibility, for professional designers have the training and the knowledge to have a major impact on the lives of people and therefore on the earth.”

— Don Norman, Design for a Better World

Our world is full of complex socio-technical problems:

  • Unsustainable and wasteful practices that cause extreme climate changes such as floods and droughts.

  • Wars that worsen hunger and poverty.

  • Pandemics that disrupt entire economies and cripple healthcare.

  • Widespread misinformation that undermines education.

All these problems are massive and interconnected. They seem daunting, but as you'll see in this course, we can overcome them.

Design for a Better World with Don Norman is taught by cognitive psychologist and computer scientist Don Norman. Widely regarded as the father (and even the grandfather) of user experience, he is the former VP of the Advanced Technology Group at Apple and co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group.

Don Norman has constantly advocated the role of design. His book “The Design of Everyday Things” is a masterful introduction to the importance of design in everyday objects. Over the years, his conviction in the larger role of design and designers to solve complex socio-technical problems has only increased.

This course is based on his latest book “Design for a Better World,” released in March 2023. Don Norman urges designers to think about the whole of humanity, not just individual people or small groups.

In lesson 1, you'll learn about the importance of meaningful measurements. Everything around us is artificial, and so are the metrics we use. Don Norman challenges traditional numerical metrics since they do not capture the complexity of human life and the environment. He advocates for alternative measurements alongside traditional ones to truly understand the complete picture.

In lesson 2, you'll learn about and explore multiple examples of sustainability and circular design in practice. In lesson 3, you'll dive into humanity-centered design and learn how to apply incremental modular design to large and complex socio-technical problems.

In lesson 4, you'll discover how designers can facilitate behavior-change, which is crucial to address the world's most significant issues. Finally, in the last lesson, you'll learn how designers can contribute to designing a better world on a practical level and the role of artificial intelligence in the future of design.

Throughout the course, you'll get practical tips to apply in real-life projects. In the "Build Your Case Study" project, you'll step into the field and seek examples of organizations and people who already practice the philosophy and methods you’ll learn in this course.

You'll get step-by-step guidelines to help you identify which organizations and projects genuinely change the world and which are superficial. Most importantly, you'll understand what gaps currently exist and will be able to recommend better ways to implement projects. You will build on your case study in each lesson, so once you have completed the course, you will have an in-depth piece for your portfolio.

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