Design-centric AI focuses on user experience

Sentient robots. All-knowing voice-activated assistants. Some kind of algorithmic thingee’s with personality. Or without. These are just a few of the instances people use when trying to define artificial intelligence, often before resorting to the old saw: “I know it when I see it.”

These examples may be useful for casual conversation, but they’re not well-suited for rigorous discussion about the practical applications of AI.

In this video clip, All Turtles CEO Phil Libin instead argues for a design-centric definition of AI. “From a human perspective, it’s something that feels smart,” he says. “It’s a user experience that when a person uses it, they get the sense that yes, this thing is smart. It’s doing more than I expected it to do. It’s anticipating my needs better than I thought it would. It feels like an intelligent conversation.”

A design-centric definition shifts the conversation about AI from what’s happening with machine learning to the experience of users.

In fact, according to Libin: “Sometimes this can be achieved without any kind of particular algorithmic magic on the back-end. Sometimes you can do this with just thoughtful design and a script.”

2001: A Space Odyssey’s HAL 9000 computer is a popular example of AI. CREDIT: YouTube

The above video is part of a panel discussion hosted by IDEO, Silicon Valley Bank, and All Turtles entitled “Artificial Intelligence & Trust” held on September 19, 2017. Vivek Wadhwa, Distinguished Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University College of Engineering, moderated the panel. Phil Libin, Cofounder/CEO of All Turtles, Jana Eggers, CEO of Nara Logics, and Muddu Sudhakar, an entrepreneur and executive, served as panelists.