Modern Frankenstein: designing kind machines

2018 Talk


In 1818 Frankenstein was published and 200 years later we are still celebrating Mary Shelley’s masterpiece and its undoubted relevance in nowadays world because it describes so vividly the conflictual relationship we have with our own creations: machines. We created complex systems that run critical infrastructure and we are torn between the trust in their supposedly selfless and perfectly logical processes and the fear that their obscure and unreadable algorithms will take over. This talk reflects upon the role of designers in managing these fears and expectations in the most ethical and human way by addressing three critical aspects: 
  • Fairness: how can we use information architecture to make sure that we do not design biased machines? 
  • Accountability: how can we embed in the machines the ability to explain their actions and make them accountable for what they do or at least able to trace back the chain of accountability? 
  • Transparency: how can we make intelligible and visible what computational scientist Yoshua Bengio calls ‘artificial intuition’, referring to all those processes and related decisions that machines take at a level beyond human processing capabilities? 
To summarize with the words of Fei-Fei Li, a professor of computer science at Stanford, this approach is a ‘Human centered AI’: an approach that aims at enhancing humans with intelligent machines, rather than replacing them.

About the speaker(s)

Clementina works as a UX designer for Proximus, a Belgian telco provider. In the past she was a consultant in the field of UX and Service design and she has been working for clients like Sony, the European Commission and the Flemish Government. She has been a speaker in various international conferences such as EuroIA2016, IA Summit Rome 2016, WIAD Zurich 2017, WIAD Bari 2018. In her spare time she collaborates with Osmos network, applying participatory techniques in community-based projects.