It was a real treat to chat with one of my design heroes, Jeff Veen, as we mulled over the role of designers in a world of algorithms and machine learning. Jeff interviewed me for his podcast Presentable, a must-listen series of conversations about designing the future. Tune in to the episode: Designing with Artificial Intelligence: The Dinosaur on a Surfboard.

And yes, we do indeed talk about dinosaurs on surfboards, as well as using AI in your everyday work, the one-true-answer problem, comically evil search suggestions, the approaching golden age of AI mashups, the battle against bias, and how we might approach the training of algorithms as UX research at massive scale.

All of this is in the service of exploring the substantial design problems that have so far gone unaddressed in machine-generated content and interaction. There’s much hard and interesting work to be done here by designers. As I said to Jeff, a new kind of content requires a new kind of presentation:

It is “intelligence,” but it’s not ours. These machines think in a different way. … They’re weird. The machine logic is weird and surprising. One of the things I’m finding as we begin to design for data-generated content and interaction is that much of the work is actually just trying to anticipate the weirdness that comes out of these machines. […]

The presentation of the data generated content is just as important as the algorithm. We’ve made incredible engineering gains in how machine learning and artificial intelligence work, especially with deep learning almost month to month—it’s these incredible leaps. The algorithms are becoming more and more accurate, and yet the presentation of them is busted.

Listen in to hear us talk about techniques, design principles, and even concepts of social justice that we can put to use today as we work with this new design material.

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