I really appreciate the discussion of “breaking the glass” and designing beyond the screen. When I teach UX workshops I frequently give students a design problem (eg. “Design a system for letting people figure out when the next bus will get here”) and then presenting the “twist” of having them design it without screens whatsoever. You get a lot more ideas that use novel devices, and voice-based and location-aware systems that they wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.
That being said, my verdict is still out on “chatbots.” The push for AI and virtual agents was strong in the 80’s and early 90’s but eventually went away because designers and developers realized that people preferred to interact with machines as machines — not people. (Also, the interactive AI systems were just *bad* at their jobs. Remember Clippy?) Several people have tried to convince me that the AI is better now, so the resulting “bots” should be better too. We’ll see if they’re right!
p.s. I love the term “Design Ops”! It so accurately describes what I *actually* do — coordinate all the pieces.