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7 Experiments That Push the Edges of AI and Design

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Jun 13 2019

As designers, we help build the future we want to see. So when a new technology emerges, we're always eager to take it for a test run, push its edges, and see how it fits into visions of the future. When it comes to AI, the opportunities are endless, but the stakes are high—our work can have serious implications that affect the lives of real people at unprecedented scale. Designers at IDEO are constantly working on cutting-edge experiments that explore the possibilities—and potential pitfalls—of a future where humans and machines are ever more entangled. Read on to explore a few of those experiments and the lessons we’ve learned along the way.

1. What a Computer Learns From Watching Hours of Cartoons

Find out what happened when an IDEO CoLab designer tried training a neural network to generate its own cartoons—and what he learned about the danger of bias in training data. Read the story!

2. Inviting Algorithms to the Design Team

Your future design partner may be an algorithm. Here’s what emerged from an experimental collaboration between a graphic designer, a data scientist, and an algorithm. Read the story!

3. To Design a Better Future, Embrace the Uncomfortable

How can we explore the future of technology? By prototyping it. Check out the 5 near-future concepts that came out of a new IDEO exploration called The Discomfort Zone. Read the story!

4. No Beards Allowed: Exploring Bias in Facial Recognition AI

One IDEO designer created a facial recognition AI game that helps users understand how machine learning models are trained—and subtly hints at the areas where bias could creep in. Read the story!

5. We Built a Bot to Assign Parking Spots. It Fought Back.

When IDEO Cambridge moved into a new studio with a too-small parking lot, they built a bot to manage traffic... but the bot fought back. Here’s what this rogue AI taught the team about “raising” a bot—and how they tamed it. Read the story!

Bonus: Check out the follow-up post where a design researcher explores how his colleagues' interactions with the bot signaled shifts in studio culture.

6. Training a Computer to Find Shapes in the Clouds

The average 25-to-34-year-old only spends 13 minutes a day relaxing. Here’s what happened when one IDEO intern tried "outsourcing" some of her leisure time to a computer. Read the story!

7. What the AI Products of Tomorrow Might Look Like

How can designers leverage the power of AI to build a better future? To explore this question, we created an award-winning speculative design exhibition called HyperHuman. Read the story!

  • Saige Perry

    Marketing Lead, Content Strategy, Global Brand
    Saige Perry is a content strategist at IDEO, where she looks after the IDEO brand and its many digital homes. Her happy place is somewhere in the shadowy back-right corner of a hole-in-the-wall music venue.
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