Forging new relationships with AI
May 14, 2021
The following is adapted from AIX Exchange, a new report from LG Electronics and Element that explores six dimensions of the artificial intelligence experience (AIX) design through interviews with 12 leaders in the field.
The relationship between humans and AI services and devices should be viewed not in the literal sense, but as a metaphor that describes two-way interaction, collaboration, and the exchange of information and understanding. This distinguishes AI from earlier technologies, as we now work in tandem with these tools, learning from each other to achieve a common goal.
A key theme explored in AIX Exchange: The Future of AI and Human Experience is how we as humans might interact with technology that is becoming better at thinking and acting human.
It is an interesting concept and, according to Jeff Poggi, Co-CEO of McIntosh Group, the AIX design will be crucial for how empathy is applied in bridging human and AI interactions in the future.
“Human centric design for AI is really vital for the successful propagation of AI into society,” he says. “Right now, I think humans are very comfortable being the masters of machines. We’ve designed machines to be our tools and servants and that’s been since the industrial revolution, but now it’s an interesting kind of moment in time where we’re not looking at machines to not just be our servants, but actually to be our peers and potentially even to be our advisors.”
In order to do a deep dive into the topic, AIX Exchange explores five key themes around relationships.
Whether in the kitchen or on the factory floor, human-machine collaboration is shaping how we perform tasks and make decisions. The question is, how will it develop and continue to shape the future of work? As AI develops, it will become more pervasive. We will see new specialized roles emerge for managing the new dynamics of AI, but eventually everyone will need to update their AI literacy to better collaborate with new technologies. How can we do so so that everyone has the same opportunities?
How does an AI device learn about us and how do we learn about it? It is a fascinating question and the best way to answer it, for now at least, is to show what might occur. Humans can adapt, it is part of our very being, but while AI is now learning about us, we as a society are falling behind the learning curve when it comes to knowing how this technology will impact us. More importantly, we must learn to leverage AI rather than the other way around.
The AIX design should consider how end users want to engage with AI created to understand them and anticipate their needs. It might not be practical to allow users to control the AI technology's ability to read and mimic our emotions if that is its core purpose. What then would be the point of the technology, and what are the risks of letting AI get too familiar? As an industry, we must work together as policymakers, researchers, developers, and end users to begin considering these questions.
Like any relationship, there will be bumps in the road as we learn to work and live with AI systems and products, not least will be a fundamental shift in our expectations for technology that works the moment we plug it in. We're not talking about buying a smartphone, a 4K television, or any number of other electronic devices that work out of the box. As humans, we are going to have to accept that certain AI applications need time to learn about us and that they will likely get things wrong.
As end users of AI assistants like Siri or Alexa, we are already learning new ways to interface with technology in ways that are meant to make it feel more personal, more human. The advances in speech and language processing in the past few years are changing the way we think and interact with AI. This is only the beginning. As AI advances and becomes more embedded in our lives, the way we interface with these systems and products will directly affect how we understand, trust, and interact with them.
Whether personal or professional, collaborating or cohabitating, AI systems, services, and products are intertwined with our lives. Humans and machines are already collaborating to treat patients in hospitals, streamline workflow in factories, navigate traffic for us on the road, and even help make dinner in the kitchen.
The successful integration of AI into the many aspects of our lives is going to hinge on our ability to accept, understand, and trust the technology for what it is, a complex software. AI is essentially a tool, but it is unique in that it is a tool that will learn from us, predict our needs, make decisions, and explore with us. It will also make mistakes, but it will get better – and we need to be accepting of that.