Artificial Intelligence and Experience Design

Let’s check on the effects of artificial intelligence on experience design processes as algorithms that process big data continue to get smarter day by day.

Atilla Alışkan
Mar 6 · 7 min read
Photo by Dev Asangbam on Unsplash

Do you ever remember not taking your phone with you? What about your feelings when you realized it? Have you ever tried not holding it in your hand all day long? To be more optimistic, can you stay away from your phone even for an hour? If you find yourself saying “Come on, this is a bit of an exaggeration…”, please check your daily average phone use in the last week and you will understand what I mean…

I’m not going to show off by saying “Put your phone aside, go do this or that instead; Hey, there is more to life than this…’’ because we have already ruled that option out. The computers have been in our pockets for years now, and we can no longer function without them. I wish I could say we prefer not to, but that would not be realistic.

Most users don’t know anything about how programs and algorithms work. I think it would be a bit optimistic to expect that from consumers. These algorithms no longer only store the data generated by their users to be processed by humans. They can also learn what they can do with this data, make sense of it and establish connections with different data and also interpret it… Yes, I’m talking about artificial intelligence.

At the time I wrote this, the definition of artificial intelligence on Wikipedia was as follows:

“Ideally, artificial intelligence is an artificial operation system that is expected to exhibit higher cognitive functions or autonomous behaviors specific to human intelligence, such as perception, learning, connecting plural concepts, thinking, reasoning, problem-solving, communicating, inference and decision making.’’

The developments in this field sometimes lead us to ask such questions as “Will artificial intelligence take our job?” or “Are we going to join the Matrix at the end of the day?” In the meantime, projects like Neuralink that will enable us to use artificial intelligence in experience design are preparing us for BMI: Brain-Machine Interface. I am talking about an interaction design that will enable the communication between the human brain and artificial intelligence, that is, an interface that will control the human brain by connecting it to computers without any physical elements. Even if it sounds utopic, it has already begun to develop. People imagine that Conversational UX will make it possible that there will be interaction by sounds and usage patterns without any visual interface. However, it adds a whole new technological dimension that the interaction between human and machine will enable the user to have an experience at the thinking stage by disabling all physical elements.

Processing data has become so concrete and thus so important that we, as designers, can use various tools and interpret them to contribute to the experience. Evaluation and interpretation are happening at another level beyond the physical boundaries of human beings, thanks to the contribution of artificial intelligence. This value has become so personal for the experience design process that such services as Netflix, Spotify, etc. that most of us use are getting to be user-tailored. “A personalized experience…”. It sounds very simple, doesn’t it? I am not talking about the color palette in the applications or the service that says good evening or good morning to you when you use the application.

To dig into the details of this subject; imagine that all of your clothes in your wardrobe are tailored to your taste and body size according to your needs. Knowing you, knowing what you like, keeping away from you that you do not enjoy wearing, once in a while; Imagine a tailor who offers you “Look, you have never worn trousers of this color, give it a try if you want, maybe you will like it, and you may know yet that you like it because you haven’t tried it” … If you think about it, don’t you think that having such a service for our dressing need sounds quite seducing? Although a tailored service for such a personalized clothing experience is now nothing more than a dream, platforms with millions of users such as Spotify, which meets our need to listen to music, or Netflix, where we enjoy watching their content, work like a tailor-made for us as they have the advantage of being digital.

Combined with artificial intelligence, the big data in such services become an individualized product for each user, providing each member with a unique experience. To make it clear, it actually means providing millions of members with millions of different experiences, exclusively, in the most ideal form! These algorithms, which follow all of our actions we take while using them, continue to learn with user actions all the time. They get to know us, keep track of when and which content we use and how often we use them, understand what our preferences might be, and thus take form for us.

Netflix web app.
Netflix web app.

For example, Netflix can predict that we may like to watch a movie starring the actor we like when it finds out that we like that particular person. In order to get you to open their content, it selects and shows you a snapshot of the scene of the character you love, whom you are a fan of, on the video covers it interacts with. It can even bring such content out that you are sure that you will love it if you watch it, and it continues to offer the variations of the same content for you to consume at different times as long as you click on the content and spend your time using the product.

Yes, you may think to yourself “How dare you!”, but the algorithms that know us better than us are at work even while we read these lines. If you think you can’t be sure that much, think about it: When you talk about any of your needs at someplace, and then you use your phone just to see an advertisement aimed at satisfying your need, have you then thought that you’re being eavesdropped from the microphone of your phone or computer? Whether your answer to this question is yes or no, I suggest you watch The Great Hack documentary. These intelligent and smart systems that get to know us by learning by themselves can make so many spot-on suggestions that we can get satisfied with the suggestions without even thinking about what to watch. These suggestions can turn into elements that affect our experience by meeting with us as sometimes an advertisement and sometimes Spotify weekly discover recommendations, thanks to algorithms that can communicate by acquiring information from many different places.

Spotify Discover Weekly “Made For Atilla”

Our daily life is now so dependent on data, and the solutions offered by the processing of these data have deeply penetrated into our lives that we, who are producing and using data at any moment, got to ask such questions as “Should companies that make money on these data finance us?”. The difference between the progress from the beginning of human history to the invention of the computer and the speed of development since the discovery of the computer is unbelievable. Artificial intelligence is one of the most important engineering works in human history, which has occupied the agenda, especially for the last few years.

Although artificial intelligence can currently solve certain optimization problems for certain content, as with Netflix and Spotify, we still cannot answer this question: “Will it be able to undertake the user experience applications of complex beings such as humans?”. Even though it is not easy to make predictions in this context, it is undeniable that artificial intelligence works 24/7 and contributes to the experiences of different problems. We already feel it when it makes us listen to a song we love when we least expect it, or when it shows the shortest route to where we want to arrive in the car.

But then again, our lives are full of codes in one way or another. Some people’s income right depends on computers. Is there any of us who can get things going in everyday life without this digital? Set aside the fact that we start producing data checking on our phones right after waking up even before washing up in the morning, we live in a system that we feed artificial intelligence while sleeping with wearable technologies.

We are moving towards a future where artificial intelligence processes the big data that gains speed with the internet of things, and decentralized and reliable infrastructures change games by disrupting them with the blockchain. The informatics revolution has long started. The Modern Age we live in will probably be named “Data Age” with a comma somewhere in between. What do you think?

Please feel free to write your comments. You can read the rest of my articles here and can reach me out via LinkedIn.

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