Readings

I know that for many people, the second they hear ‘AI’ they begin blowing it out of proportion, by picturing the robots from the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey. But in reality, it surrounds what we do already on a day to day life, which is why it works so well as a design medium. Since it was introduced gradually into peoples lifestyle, first as online bots, then later to in-home smart devices such as Google Home or Alexa, people did become frightened by it. While describing the challenges of using AI as a design material, the one that resonated with me the most was that AI should not overstep it’s boundaries. For many people, all it takes is one instance of an AI that went farther than expected for them to denounce AI and reject all technology based off it. Even if the problem was resolved, they would have lost their trust in the technology completely. This is why they must be Designed for “..transparency ..opacity .. unpredictability .. learning .. evolution .. shared control” (Holmquist, 5).

 

Whenever reading about or using Machine Learning tools, I never considered the user experience aspect of the technology. I always assumed that ML would only be on the backend, never to be touched by users other than through API calls. Before I read the scholarly article by Dove, Halskov, Forlizzi, and Zimmerman, I pictured an application (which was what the user interacted with) that sits between the user and the machine learning back-end. One of the largest difficulties of using it as a medium appears to be the lack of understanding of the medium itself. Participants that were surveyed by this did not understand what Machine Learning was, in that the “Participants uniformly described difficulties in understanding what ML was and how it worked”(Dove, 282). In a way, that is how I saw it as well at first. I would choose from a list of available algorithms, upload some data, and suddenly receive results that were relevant to me. But after learning the science behind it, I can see more areas this technology can be applied to, which is exactly must happen with the UX designers as well, which this article concludes.

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