We’re in the midst of a revolution. Intelligent machines are able to augment our humanity in ways that seem lifted straight out of science fiction. Self-driving cars, bipedal and quadrupedal robots, even our thermostats learn from us and get smarter over time.
And as with any technology, AI can have a dark side, too. Whether it's Cambridge Analytica exploiting personal information for political gain or Northpointe developing prejudiced algorithms for bail and sentencing hearings, danger lurks.
This is a moment for design. A moment for us to imagine the kind of future we want to see. What might it feel like?
To explore those questions, and give shape to the immense benefits that intelligent machines can bring to our lives, work, and society as a whole, we created a speculative design exhibition for Munich Creative Business Week called Hyperhuman.
Here's a peek at the products:
The Purpose Compass
What if a machine could help you better understand your strengths? What if it could help you succeed in a machine-augmented future?
Armies of robots already populate the factory floor and digital lawyers write our contracts. As intelligent machines become a fixture in every aspect of our work and lives, they inevitably start challenging our contribution to society, begging the question, do humans still matter? What is our purpose?
The Purpose Compass helps you determine your unique worth in the future. It understands what you are good at and helps you decide what to focus on to stay relevant, productive, and happy in the long term. Turn towards larger purpose goals—teaching, leading, inventing, or caring—to set a course and learn which skills you'll need to pick up to get there. Over time, many skills will be automated, freeing you up to learn new ones.
Purpose is shaped, not given.
The Expertise TV
What if a machine could identify gaps within an organization’s knowledge and help you figure out how to fill them?
We have unprecedented access to information, but the sheer volume of it prevents us from gaining deep understanding of a wide range of topics. We either specialize in a specific field or become generalists, making assumptions to fill the gaps in our expertise.
Enter Expertise TV: Twist its knobs and it instantly directs you to experts whose knowledge sheds light on unanswered questions that are holding your organization back.
Knowledge resides in people, not machines.
The Creativity Mixer
What if you could describe your personality, and ‘mix’ a visual identity that expresses you?
Even with a creative mindset, people often lack confidence and ability to shape and express their ideas at the highest level.
What does your brand look like? Turn the dials of the Creativity Mixer (produced in collaboration with creative.ai) to set your personality ("playful," "stubborn") and it calls up images, fonts, and colors for you to use when executing ideas. When settled with your choices, hit print for your very own brand style guide.
Creativity is latent, tools make it accessible.
The Empathy Writer
What if you could find the exact right words to express your feelings? And nothing got lost in translation?
Our globally connected lives mean we’re frequently brought into contact with people from different cultures and backgrounds.Despite the opportunities these networks present, we often struggle to communicate, as we are not equally fluent in the other’s language and don’t share the same cultural
What if you could find just the right words to express your feelings? And nothing got lost in translation?
The Empathy Writer helps you convey what you mean in a way that will be easily understood. Using the character trait tiles, I describe myself and you, then the machine helps me compose a message in a way that reflects who you are.
Empathy is amplified.
The Belief Checkout
What if tomorrow’s supermarkets considered your values and ethics when automatically buying products for you?
We outsource more and more tasks to AI. But how do we know that the decisions AI makes on our behalf are aligned with our beliefs and values? How do we impart them to the machine?
The Belief Checkout’s shelves are full of products that represent values. Pick the ones that reflect you to help steer the supermarket’s algorithm. Say you value sustainability. While eating red meat may not sound like a sustainable choice, eating an overstocked steak might be. The supermarket can help you make choices that square with your values.
We let go of control, but our beliefs stay in tact.
Hyperhuman was a collaboration between IDEO Munich, London, and Chicago. To find out more about our Protopian perspective on augmented intelligence email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dean is an engineer and entrepreneur with a restless passion for improving people’s lives through next generation products, services and systems. I bring a human-centric lens to the craft of data science and I am actively working to reduce the carbon footprint of IDEO and the work we deliver for our clients.
Makes digital things happen. Obsessed with AI, VR and all other acronyms that shape our future. Convinced he’ll one day go to space.