Design in the Age of Autonomous Machines

By: Alex Liebergesell  

In the coming two decades, automation is expected to significantly displace new categories of human labor forces, as artificial intelligence (AI) and mobile robotics (MR) increasingly take on non-routine cognitive tasks. While designers, educators and technologists fare relatively well in the overall susceptibility-to-displacement rankings, they will nonetheless need to grapple with the impact of blended, moving systems that are capable of emulating causal reasoning and human insight. This article briefly chronicles the trajectory of AI and robotics research over the last fifty years, describes some of the unique dilemmas inherent in complex human-computer interactions, and proposes a mode of engagement with automated systems for designers and engineers centered on communication, behavior and interdisciplinary knowledge. In particular, designers’ various expertise in articulating tools, expressing meaning and shaping user experiences are presented as essential ingredients for cultivating effective interactions between humans and machines. Moreover, by fostering inclusivity, dialogue and positive social behaviors, designers can encourage people to recognize and safeguard human capacities for learning, reciprocity, civility and labor as long-term advantages.

Automation, AI, Robotics, Human-Computer Interaction
2019 Special Focus: The Social Impact of AI: Policies and New Governance Models for Social Change
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Alex Liebergesell

Alex Liebergesell is an Associate Professor and M.F.A. Program Coordinator at Pratt Institute's Graduate Communications Design Department. Current design and academic research centers on issues of technology's impact on cultural identities and personal narrative, the formation of favored representations in history and their impact on perception of current events, and morphologies of design practices and concepts. Alex received an M.F.A in graphic design from Yale University, and a B.F.A. in graphic design from Kent State University, Ohio. Alex is a native of Tokyo, Japan.