Yesterday’s news of Google making Syntaxnet (Google’s AI for Understanding Language) open source is unbelievable and it raises questions as to whether or not there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It is impossible not to be tantalized by the potential outcome that these events might change the course of UX history. What’s critical, however, is that we focus on what this means to the people and the systems they use. The current mindset of the modern software development industry seems to focus more on “going digital” or being “mobile ready” and as a result fails to notice the important changes taking place in the world around them. In other words, they are missing the proverbial desert for the sand.

When thinking about the ongoing strife around AI, it’s important to remember that the current debate around AI doesn’t appear to make a distinct differentiation between longer term artificial general intelligence and shorter term AI. The short term AI will be a useful technological tool; the former could be the last thing we ever create (also known as the singularity). Maybe we should just call it electronically controlled logical determinism instead so the squeamish feel better about it.

For me, the excitement comes in seeing how this news will impact my role as a designer in the software industry. I can foresee a future where the designer will no longer create discrete interfaces or experiences; they will instead create the underlying foundational systems that facilitate and inform the design solutions created by others. I envision that this new breed of UX Designer will work as part of a vast and diverse community of specialists to create an evolving universal design language. The systems we will design will combine multiple products and services, and those products and services will themselves be made by designers, engineers, and technologists.

As this paradigm becomes more widely accepted and adopted, UX designers will evolve to create information patterns and algorithms that allow corporations to create AI based smart products. These products will predict the user’s next behavior and will be capable of satisfying the user’s requirements faster than the user can react. Designers will not only be required to define the UX but they will also need to ensure that they are also using the appropriate and best algorithms. For these reasons, it’s almost a foregone conclusion that information, design, and artificial intelligence can and will be the next logical frontier in UX. Organizational strategies will be based entirely on the customization tailoring of the AI to accommodate and deliver solutions based on understanding specific individual’s needs. The organizations that have the best applied AI will do the best at attracting and preserving their customers. Properly constructed experiences using AI will be vital for companies to maintain an advantage over the competition. The businesses that ignore this reality will be at a huge disadvantage compared to those that embrace it.

It’s challenging to predict where AI will be in a few years time, but I am excited to play a role in how it adapts and expands as adoption by the masses increase. Of this I am certain: through all of the social confusion, the innovators of this new frontier still haven’t lost sight of their dreams to build it.

* Originally posted here:

* Hero image used from