Facebook’s Amanda Linden shares how AI product designers approach their work in Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence team:

There are big differences in the role of a typical product designer and an AI designer. Rather than launching a product feature that shows up in an app in an immediate and obvious way, our output is often clarity for engineers on how the technology could be applied. Because AI capabilities might take 2–3 years to develop, it’s important for designers to help developers understand the potential of different solutions and their impact on people’s lives when developing AI.

Linden details several roles that designers play in shaping AI at Facebook—not just how it’s applied and presented, but how it’s conceived and built:

  • Designing AI prototypes
  • Shaping new technology
  • Developing AI centered products
  • Collecting data for AI to learn
  • Designing AI developer tools

We’re in a peculiar moment when many designers have a hard time imagining a role with artificial intelligence and machine learning, because it departs in so many ways from traditional product design. Here’s the thing: design’s superpower is understanding how technology can support human goals and ambitions, how to make technology fit our lives instead of the reverse. Developers and algorithm engineers have shown us what’s possible with AI. Now it’s the designer’s role (and responsibility!) to shape how it’s conceived and presented for meaningful use. That’s why AI and machine learning matter for design teams.

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