Human in AI – UX Crunch

With 3 guest speaker UX crunch organised a night to discuss the developing world of AI and how we design for interactions with this new technology. With Becky Priebe a Director of human Experience at RealWear, Alex Bone the Co-founder from Mettle Studios and Ben Scott-Robinson a founder at the Small Robot Company all talking about their experiences within this sector.


Becky Priebe came to talk about her experiences of being within the design industry at this time. With the sector constantly evolving and everyone be connected through information every second of the day.

She gave the analogy of how we as humans are set up in the same way as machines with sensors of smell sight touch taking data that our brain process this. But what does separate us from machines is emotion. And how we can learn about society, culture and how as designers we should be using our empathy to design ai to help users. Think about how people use a product to design the experience of ai. Here Becky stressing how the media portray AI as a product in itself, when actually it is a technology we should be applying to an experience.

Looking forward Becky talked about the what is starting to happen more and more, and this is how the industry is moving from designers working closely alongside developers to working next to data scientist making sure data come first and really determines what happens within design.

Alex Bone the Co-founder and Creative Director at Mettle studios came to talk about his experiences and perspective of being a practitioner of AI and data science. With his experience of iot he talked about machine learning and gave us insights into how artificial intelligence lacks in intelligence needing to be fed with information until it can become useful. Finding that users in general expect these products to be right straight from the offset, and didn’t understand the notion that these products having to analyse their data first.

An example of this is the Clean Space app (Where the user receives a clean mile credit depending on the mode of transport they have taken). His team had no baseline of data to start from, so they were struggling to know exactly when a person changes transport modes from walking to bus to cycling. The only way the team could do this was to go out and collect their own data, and then tagging in the right mode of transport. They found one person within in the team didn’t tag their journey, complaining that the app was never working correctly failing to understand that the app needed to be trained first.

Do Chevon from The Small Robot company came to talk about how they are using data and AI to transform farming. Looking at disrupting this market by reducing soil compaction. They have been able to design a service where they would lease out 3 different robots, Tom Dick and harry. That all have individual roles, from one looking at the current crop to see what pesticides are needed and whether they require it at all, to giving the farmer the exact position of each crop, to then helping plant each seed so that nothing is wasted. All without working or putting the same amount of pressure on the soil as current method, reducing the amount machines are compacting the soil which is a major problem to most farms around the country where the farms will have to allow around 5-8 years so that the ground can recover.

Data Science – Tech Insight

Hosted at the Goldsmith center Farringdon, AKQA took a look at Data Science with three guest speakers each with a variety backgrounds within the industry, with Dr Rebecca Pope talking about how machine learning can make Healthcare more human, Dr J.Rogel looking at how the discipline interacts with different areas of the business, and Robin Houston showing us his work at KILN where he brings data to life with data visualisations.

Dr Rebecca Pope was very easy to listen to, and I would recommend checking out one of her TED talks. She first began speaking about machine learning giving us an introduction into how how this has quickly developed over the decades showing examples of a rudimentary design that flips burgers to Google’s DeepMind  that built its own algorithm to get teh highest score playing a 1980’s video game.

A topic that was consistent throughout the talk was how media portrays that these machines will take human jobs, but Rebecca talked quickly to squash these, speaking about how our roles will change, but they will change by allowing us to do more interesting things rather than the mundane chores we have to do throughout the working day. This was the main topic of the talk, as we started to look at why this technology has taken traction in most industries with everyone having a Machine Learning tool in their pocket with their mobile phone, but has yet to take full traction within the Healthcare industry. There looked to be a few people within the room that were worried about how this could take jobs away putting further strain on the health care system, But Rebecca argued that Machine learning and AI would be used to sift through data, but you we wouldn’t be able to, or would want to teach them how to be emotive.

There are a few tools in the market that are looking to use the Data that comes through that allows users to treat themselves rather than having to wait to see the local GP such as Drayson []. The argument at the moment is that we have a very reactive healthcare system with issues only being looked at once an illness/ problem comes to the surface. Using data, the algorithms will be able to compare against similar people and find patterns, allowing some users to have preventative treatment whether this is through medication or lifestyle changes.

This led her explaining an example of how current GPs and opthamologist are overrun with very time intensive checks of looking at scans to see if there are any issues, and how people have to be treated on a first come first served basis not allowing for one person that might need treatment sooner than another. Machine Learning would be able go through the scans finding patterns and making sure that the people that needs the treatment can getthis right away reducing waiting lists, as well as freeing doctors time to allow them to do what they are good at, which is giving their human touch in treating people.

Robert Houston came to talk about his experiences of setting up his company KILN with his partner Duncan Clark. With their company they looked at how world is becoming more quantified and the importance of being able to interpret and display the results of the data we get. This is where would come in. Showing us how they have formulated data into amazing graphical pieces that can really get a point across. Showing something similar to what Han’s Rosling made famous.

An example can be seen in the Hans Rosling documentary for the BBC ‘The joy of stats’ which is well worth a watch. Where one graph shows the population size and compares against wealth and life expectancy across the world.

He then went on to showcase some of the work that their team have produced in the last 5 years, from showing the CO2 emissions from commercial shipping to flight paths over the last 100 years including some some gentle bits of humour from Edward Tuffy “The only thing worse than one bar chart is several.