New Frontiers for User-Centered Design: What AIs Need to Know About Humans

Products including artificial intelligence (AI) are becoming more ubiquitous, from exercise trackers to smart speakers to assistive robots, and soon to full concierge-level assistants. As such, AI is increasing not only in its impact on our lives, but in its participation in our most personal, intimate selves. Product designers of all types will have to account for the whole person in their designs: not just a user’s tasks and goals, but their motivations, personality, emotions, relationships, culture, and temporal and professional contexts.

In this talk I will review user-centered design principles, and discuss some of the limits to these thus far, particularly where artificial intelligence is concerned. I will discuss the view of the user and the product as creating an experiential system together via their interactions, along with my past research on a robust framework for understanding and simulating emotions. I will also address the question of whether AI should have emotions, and confront the difficult, murky factors in AI-assisted actions as mundane as planning to meet for lunch. Participants will leave with a greater understanding of the breadth of issues confronting AI in user-centered design, and approaches to some of the thorny challenges facing us all.