How to design AI into your applications

AI is in nearly every application nowadays. A frequently cited IDC statistic has 75% of commercial enterprise apps using AI by 2021. And as AI has become more prevalent, the C-suite has taken a bigger role in AI strategies and implementations. In recent industry survey, 71% of respondents said that their company’s AI projects are “owned” by C-level executives.

Yet, even with C-level involvement, many organizations’ efforts with AI are falling short. Leaders often view AI as a plug-and-play technology with immediate returns, and they struggle to take a more holistic approach. For instance, they may focus on discrete business problems, such as improved customer segmentation, rather than big business challenges, like optimizing the entire customer journey.

As developers integrating AI into applications, how can you reconcile the need for immediate returns with bigger picture goals? To design for an AI-infused future, you’ll need to think more broadly than you may have in the past.  

To start, consider a few truths about AI that should shape the way you approach AI design.

  • AI is not as smart as many people think. It’s been said that AI is much closer to the brainpower of an earthworm than a human.
  • AI bias exists and is increasingly common.
  • The interaction between smart machines and humans is necessitating a form of user experience design for working with intelligence machines in a way that’s more mindful of the nature, intentions, and values of human beings.

You need to think beyond just automation metrics to bring intelligence to products in a way that is truly conscious. We call this approach Conscious Experience Design—a design discipline tailored for a world shaped by artificial intelligence. Conscious Experience Design helps us answer questions for our clients such as:

  • How is the human-machine relationship evolving?
  • What are the characteristics of conscious machines?
  • What are the future paradigm shifts that may require new approaches?
  • Which new skills may be needed to design your AI-infused applications now and in the future?

There are three main principles of “conscious experience design” that will help you integrate AI into your applications in ways that can evolve as user experiences and AI change. I’ll discuss these three principles and steps for implementing them below.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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