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"Amongst the Forest with Wolves"

A survival guide for how interdisciplinary collaboration can empower us to take collective responsibility for the creation of inclusive experiences in the age of AI.

AI is no longer the domain of speculative research; it shapes people’s experiences with products and services every single day, whether they know it or not. And it is no longer simply the purview of large technology monoliths; SAAS has made machine learning and AI accessible to organizations of every scale.

However, while AI advances toward being a ubiquitous force in society, attendant ethical questions and challenges continue to surface, including embedded bias, security risks, social engineering, and labor displacement. These risks are especially pointed for historically marginalized communities, including LGBTQ, the disabled, minorities, immigrants, and others who have been characterized as “outliers” in the datasets being used to train algorithms; tragically, AI can end up amplifying extant inequalities instead of helping society to overcome these challenges.

While AI’s ethical challenges and pitfalls are increasingly well-appreciated in the design community, it is sometimes challenging for designers to see how, exactly, their role in the creation of products, services, and communications can ameliorate these risks. For instance, encoded bias in both algorithm optimization and datasets used to train AI systems often feel like domains far out of a designer’s reach or control — especially as these issues are sometimes years in the making, with layer upon layer of technology contributing to their potentially negative effects on the creation of inclusive experiences.

One part of the solution to these complex challenges is for design teams to have better communication and deeper collaboration with other disciplines and fields —including engineering, product management, marketing, data science, legal & governance, and academic research— who each have an indispensable role to play in ensuring that AI-mediated experiences are inclusive.

This talk will give a robust historical perspective on the challenges that inclusive design faces vis-a-vis machine learning, AI, and computational design, and then provide a framework for discourse and collaboration between disciplines in order to tackle and overcome these issues. This talk will be delivered from two different, complementary perspectives: from the point-of-view of a long-time leader of product and service design inside some of the world’s largest technology companies (including Apple, Sony, Samsung, Facebook, and currently Microsoft) and from the point-of-view of an agency-based UX designer, who has worked with companies such as AT&T, Sony, BMW, Comcast and others to shape product, service, and communications strategy.

Ana Arriola

Partner Design Director

A craftswomxn with 25 years of experience, Ana has shown creative leadership in product management, product design, and creative direction across new technology surfaces for consumer electronics, lifestyle experiences, UX/UI systems, and ethics & AI. Her talents have been have been recognized by iF Design Awards, Good Design Awards, EISA Awards, and Cool Hunting. Formerly with Facebook, Samsung, Monohm, Sony & PlayStation, and Apple, Ana is now a General Manager, Partner, Design Director for AI+Research & Bing with Microsoft.

Her values are grounded in principles that every experience crafted should be - Human. Simple. Authentic.

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