Thinking

Jul 18, 2018

AC/DC : Let there be rock

No rock, no roll or rather: no innovations, no development and without humans no useful innovations. So, why is AI primarily seen as either black or white and not in context?

By
Heiko Tullney

Actually, every day we’re facing topics such as digitalization or artificial intelligence as well as the vision of human-centered innovation.

Talking about the future we find ourselves confronted with two contrary opinions: Firstly, those people celebrating AI and Deep Learning as the step into a better world.  They find it okay that human-beings are losing importance and systems are taking on more and more tasks instead.

And those who fear that humanity is jeopardised by AI, protecting the current state at all costs. For them art and culture for instance, are key aspects that define humans and cannot be handed over to AI.

On this topic, our colleague Heiko Tullney was invited for a dialogue with FH Muenster and its affiliation the GUD Institut für Gesellschaft und Digitales. We felt this was a great match as the team of GUD deals with solutions for current social questions regarding digitalization and connected socio-political challenges of our time. This can be shown on the following case:

The importance of the human-being in the digital age and their place within digitalization, AI, VR and IoT. Also the question how design will be able to protect humanity. Heiko dealt with those aspects in detail and then tackled the topic:

AC/DC = Arts’n’Culture vs. Deep Computing?

No question, AI is already influencing various fields, even culture: There are already  systems that are able to compose new pieces of music out of a Bach Symphony and record them without experts recognizing it is artificially made. We’re also facing similar situations, so to speak, in painting with AI as Muse for art?

No matter to what extent AI can intervene in our lives and is allowed to do so – there is a crucial difference between AI and human capabilities: meaning the idea behind every action and development. Hence purpose, motivation and intention.

Only a human is able to give purpose to every action. Once something new has developed they have to decide how to react. They are the ones to associate it with a specific motivation and have a clear intention of what they want to produce. The human has an idea and is able to shape it.

At this stage, design comes into play since it does not only mean ‘giving a form’ but also deciding and defining a purpose. While AI cares about efficiency and innovation, design shapes the idea for more humanity, brings out effects and provides elements of fun, while completing its duties. Therefore, design is able to enrich everything that has been created by AI with human aspects. 

 

 

At the same time, we can take advantage of AI systems. For instance, in design thinking processes this interaction is ideal:

In phase 1 and 2 (identify + explore) it is about collecting and analysing data – a perfect task for AI, which can execute this job faster and more comprehensively.
Phase 3 (ideate) focuses on the idea – the human brings in purpose, motivation and intention.
Again, in phase 4 and 5 (create + deliver) AI has a supporting role: optimising the idea and implementing it. Always when speed and reliability are needed AI can support the system.

 

 

But even where AI works more efficiently than the human, we need to bring in our own skill set. We are the only ones capable to look beyond the actual product development and to offer the people an improved service. Unlike a system, we as designers are able to identify and interpret data, to derive the real need – in this we utilise our empathy.

We are able to discuss research results in co-creation teams and reiterate. We are not only able to offer simple constructed options like a system, but we look beyond to find the true need. For example, AI would solve a problem such as “How to paint the ceiling better?” by using a longer ladder or better paint. But we as designers question the real need and consider new paths. The actual necessity of this person might not be the painted ceiling, but instead a fresh new home or a better living standard. Based on this, services can be derived without changing or optimising the hardware itself.



 

The conclusion is obvious: it cannot be about Arts’n’Culture VERSUS Deep Computing, but instead both must be meaningfully combined. If we were to leave data analysis solely to computers they would take over thinking and the result would not necessarily be human. We as humans, and especially designers, need to take that responsibility. We should accompany the creation and execution of our ideas – robots can perform better, but we are responsible for the human aspects ourselves.  

 

Indeed, it is our job to look ahead, hand in hand with AI and robotics to aim for levels beyond our human capabilities.

Heiko Tullney

Creative Director

Heiko is the creative mentor and connector between and within the INDEED departments. He leads and stimulates the creativity process and execution of diverse product, services and user experiences. From front end innovation strategy over to industrial, service and experience design onwards to engineering he cares about the holistic user centred development approach.

The
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