IA vs. AI: will robots be better researchers than us?

2018 Talk


We are on the verge of Artificial Intelligence (AI) exponential growth in terms of capability to perform deep learning, machine learning and big data analysis.

Projections show that in the next decade AIs will likely take over jobs in a wide range of industries, covering not only manual work but intellectual one as well. What will happen in the knowledge work area? Will our work as information architects, researchers and designers be impacted, and how?

While there is some discussion already around the impact of AI on the design work (https://www.oreilly.com/ideas/ai-and-the-future-of-design-what-will-the-designer-of-2025-look-like or https://uxdesign.cc/how-ai-will-impact-your-routine-as-a-designer-2773a4b1728c on Medium) less has been said around the possible changes within the design research area, with the exception of big data behavioral analysis.

In this talk I’d like to explore this future scenario with a user research perspective: going through all the different phases of a research project, from the brief down to the synthesis of results, I will compare the performance of a human design researcher with that of an AI, showing strengths and weaknesses for each of them. The result of this comparison could shed light on which tasks are likely to be better achieved by AIs in the future, and where instead the contribution of a human being is still very much valuable, and why.

The underlying idea is to discuss what is the human added value in our area of work, where we can take advantage of the AIs contribution, and on what, as practicioners, we should focus our careers on to ensure not only our professional survival but the best possible future for the humans we are designing for.

About the speaker(s)

UX researcher and designer since 2009, I have a scientific background in agriculture and told my story towards UX at EuroIA 2012.
I am based in Rome and work as a freelance consultant on national and international projects dealing with user research, usability testing, UX and service design, co-design and facilitation.

Amongst my clients: WFP, Hertz, Just Eat, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Banca Credem, Sony, Fastweb, BNP Paribas and the European Commission.

In the UX/IA community, I have coordinated the Rome UX Book Club and was a board member of the Italian Association for Information Architecture (Architecta). I was also one of the co-chairs of EuroIA 2017.

In my spare time, I create costumes and props within the Italian Steampunk scene.