Form Follows Me

We’re living in an era of quantification and automation. Machines and services are designed around the idea of the “Meta Me. ”What does the Meta Me mean for the world of product and experience design?

Notes from UX Salon 2017 — by Summurai

Mark Rolston keynote at UX Salon 2017

The rise of our modern day consumer culture has led to the development of user centric design.

Today, we’re living in an era of quantification and automation. Machines and services are designed around the idea of the “Meta Me.”What does the Meta Me mean for the world of product and experience design?

In this presentation Mark Rolston explores the impact of machine intelligence on design, daily life, and business.

We have designed talking machines, We talk to Siri, Google and Amazon. Who are we talking to Are we speaking to ourselves? To objects? To a brand? Am I talking to inanimate object? Can they answer back? Are these machines an “it” or a “he/she”? In an experiment the was held at Stanford University, researchers created a mobile trash can, and attached a hidden camera to it. They were amazed to see that people started to interact with the trashcan, speaking to it, gesticulating and being either delighted or extremely annoyed by it and shooing it away.Trash cans, as we all know, are actually not capable of interacting with us, but this experiment shows us that we are indeed capable to treating it as a he/she.

Communicating with the trash can.

A large part of the population in the western world today have a digital fingerprint or. a “meta — me”. In the near future, many brands will use machine intelligence to chase the digital footprint and understand your increasingly complex meta self. Chat bots will likely use Artificial Intelligence to engage your meta self in more human-like ways. Artificial intelligence could also perform actions like having your Facebook Messenger operate semi-autonomously on your behalf. In this new reality UX design will encompass the arts of language as well as human attributes such as plasticity, empathy and creativity. Argo design is exploring designs that make our lives easier, by creating a world of “smart dumb things”. This is done by computerizing everyday objects such as objects that are found in our home or office. Take for example a bottle of coke on your table, wouldn’t it be cool if you could use that bottle to turn the volume of your music up or down? Another example is using interactive light. In this example Mark’s team created an air hockey game which could be played using light reflections and bottles. The light was interactive and moved whenever the players pushed it with bottles

Mark’s presentation also explores the danger of our digital footprints on our privacy and discusses how US designers can use their skills to make our lives easier while still maintaining and protecting our privacy.


Mark Rolston is a renowned designer who’s built a. 25-year long career in design. He is an early pioneer of software user experience and has helped forge the disciplines around user interface design and mobile platforms. He is co-founder and chief creative officer of argodesign.

UX Salon 2017 Panel Discussion
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