Future of Work 2020: AI and human should complement each other, not compete, says Sumit Dagar of Intuit
A homemaker who sells hand-knit socks over the internet keeps checking how many likes, comments, or queries have come her way from her virtual stall on Instagram. She taps on Instagram’s business account only to see that over 500 users visited her page in the past week, mostly from Bengaluru and Chennai.
However, her daughter’s Instagram profile doesn’t operate that way – her posts don’t open for anyone to view, she doesn’t have an option to see who visited her profile, let alone having details on their demographics.
Sumit Dugar, Design Manager, Intuit, explained how the Facebook-owned site had designed the accounts differently for users to have different options.
Sumit Dugar, Design Manager, Intuit
Speaking at the third edition of YourStory’s Future of Work, India’s largest product-tech-design conference, Sumit said the present state of product designing is in its second era – designing for personas. He added,
“We have moved from creating for the masses to creating for personas. Today, by employing digital products with in-built feedback loops, we try to understand users step by step, put them in cohorts, and interpret their behaviour. Products are then hydrated accordingly.”
Thus, most products work on a listening model where the categorisations and cohorts are done by personas.
The era before now
The first era of designing was creating for the mass. Sumit correlated it to the ‘waterfall model’ where a person is telling a story in an attempt to find the audience.
Highlighting how relevance and language play a key role in the same, Sumit said, “You are trying to understand your users well. You go back to the drawing board, figure out topics that will be relevant to them, and then write a script or make a product which is understandable and can be used in their context.”
Surviving a narrow path ethically
Artificial intelligence, he said, can empower a human-centric, personalised designing, leading to a narrow future. This will depend on the input and signals (data) the users give.
Speaking on the ethics to be followed by product designers, Sumit spoke about ‘Privacy Zuckering’ – a trick to gather more personal data from a user than intended.
Citing the case of Facebook misusing personal data, as well as its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Sumit said, “A person who understands you well can either make you take bad decisions or can either help you make good decisions. It's up to the person to set their ethics as it is going to become very important for designers to do so.”
Further, he mentioned that nearly all social media sites like Facebook and Twitter put similar behaviours together to collect data from users, and this is how they sell it. Sumit emphasised that it is important for product owners and designers to understand responsibility and ethics.
Making AI a friend
Addressing a long-standing conundrum of AI overpowering human or human being the controller of it, Sumit urged the audience, “If you want to take away one thing, let it be this: Complement, don’t compete.”
Adding, he said, while on a research experiment, Sumit met a Math professor in a Tier-II city in India who refused to upload his research works on the internet. When asked why he still preferred writing it down, he told Sumit, “Since I can see everybody's work on the internet, everybody can see me my research too.”
“There is AI that is getting super smart. And on one side, we have users who don't understand it. So, this is where designers can help AI to complement these behaviours, and not compete or threaten these users,” he concluded.
(Edited by Suman Singh)
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