What is PAIR Reading

Mahima Pushkarna
People + AI Research
3 min readMay 5, 2020


Illustration by Violeta Noy for Google

Mahima Pushkarna | UX Designer, People + AI Research

I tend to wear many hats — UI/UX, visual design, strategy and design research — but overall I work on innovative tools and frameworks for understanding machine learning models and interpreting their “decisions.” This creates better human-AI partnerships, such as helping doctors diagnose cancer. You can see some of my design work in the What-If Tool and Facets, and other tools that have been widely used to advance better practices in machine learning. At PAIR, I also get to study the impact of design on AI, and vice versa.

Outside of work, I hope before too long to be spending way too much time gardening in my community garden, as well as pampering my larger-than-life dog, and obsessing over paint swatches.

What I’m reading

“How Can We Teach More Students How to Design With AI?” — AIGA Eye on Design

It isn’t easy to incorporate AI into design (just yet), but it’s fascinating to see how people are already thinking about it. A lot of innovation happens when we put technology in the hands of artists, musicians, designers, and makers. It’s exciting to be a part of the design revolution of AI!

Usman Haque on “Infrastructures of Participation”

In this video, Usman Haque unpacks an architect’s power to build engaging cities rather than smart cities by building ‘infrastructures of participation’. If anything, Covid-19 has demonstrated the power contained in these infrastructures as we come together to flatten the curve. With the hopes that our city streets will soon be filled again, this piece is very relevant to our work building the UX of AI tools and frameworks: How might we create engaging ‘infrastructures of learning’ which, in turn, may contribute to more responsible AI systems?

Google at 2019 Milan Design Week: A Space for Being

Inspiration is never far — it’s often surprising and fun to see the variety of work being done across Google. In this video, the Hardware Design Studio shows us how closely intertwined the immense space of design is with our core sense of being.

Kevin Hartnett, “The Universal Law of Turbulence Isn’t So Unruly After All”, Wired

Almost always, a plain language explanation of scientific and physical phenomenon is a metaphor that can unblock some design challenge. In this case, interaction design seems to have a lot that is fundamentally in common with turbulent systems, but with one stark difference: In design, we use “a little randomness” to flesh out the difficulties rather than smear them out!

Benjamin Thomas, Tokyo Bosai — A Manual for Disaster Preparedness, DesignMadeInJapan.com

There is nothing more refreshing than beautiful print design. In a place like Japan, you can never be too careful, and preparing entire populations for earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, evacuations and the life that follows is no easy feat. This disaster preparedness manual — unfortunately highly relevant these days –is a thoughtfully crafted example of bilingual information design for everyone in the family, and then some!



Mahima Pushkarna
People + AI Research

Design @Google, People + AI Research. Designing 'stuff' for human-AI understanding since 2017. Opinions mine.