The public dialogue around artificial intelligence takes place at extremes, with some focusing on how robots will take everyone’s job and others speaking of a utopia where AI will do everything from cure cancer to solve world hunger. These visions entail latest algorithms sifting through large datasets to replace humans in making decisions or somehow finding patterns that have all the complex and nuanced answers we need. Irmak Sirer offers an alternative to these extreme views of AI: instead of artificial intelligence, we instead must focus on augmenting people’s intelligence.
But how do we design systems that combine the superpowers of machines with the superpowers of people to improve our world? IDEO believes we can only answer this challenge with multidisciplinary design teams that maintain an intense focus on human needs. Only by including many perspectives in the design process can we achieve the potential that occurs when AI systems are driven by human needs rather than technological capabilities.
Irmak shares lessons IDEO has learned about designing for augmented intelligence in two broad areas: creating multidisciplinary teams and scaling impacts. Creating multidisciplinary teams, comprised of people from backgrounds ranging from anthropology to interaction design and from architecture to data science, has not come without challenges, but IDEO has learned an enormous amount. Irmak explores practices IDEO designed to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration on design teams. AI also has a unique ability to scale impacts, both positive and negative. Irmak outlines the core principles and techniques IDEO designed to stay focused on designing for augmented intelligence ethically, respecting privacy and the common good and staying focused on the needs of people.
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