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Why UX Design For Machine Learning Matters [Photo: Hero Images/Getty Images]

Why UX Design For Machine Learning Matters [Photo: Hero Images/Getty Images]

Hello All

This edition of the UXD Inspired Reads is a heavy one on AI, Machine Learning, and Blockchains. UX Designers need to not only understand these how these technologies work, but how to use them properly to help shape and guide the overall experience for end users. We start off looking at why UX matters within Machine Learning, how to manage Design Thinking, and the role of a Data Ethnographer. We also look further at how best to use vector images within Xcode, YouTube’s new logo and well designed brand resources, and a new prototyping application called STUDIO.

We switch back to looking further at AI techniques that Google employs to build their Machine Learning software. Recently they announced that TensorFlow would be free to outside developers. News and chatter about Blockchains is certainly rising for good reason. Musicians are finding an easier and faster method to get digitally paid for their work while a TechStars post offers a great primer on the subjects.

As always, there needs to be a healthy discussion and respect for Internet Privacy. While I am convinced there is no such thing as Internet Privacy, there are methods we can all use to help shield ourselves from surveillance in certain areas. Autonomous Driving Cars may be possible today, but are they safe from hackers? The Boston Red Sox were using an Apple Watch to relay stolen pitching signals. Do our voice controlled appliances eavesdrop upon us? Researchers look at what inaudible commands can be heard by Amazon Alexa and Google Now enabled devices.

Lastly we look at the importance of social cues and interactions, which help us learn and communicate with friends and family. Whether we are learning something new within a classroom setting or playing a board game, social interactions increase our abilities to consume and process information. It may be time to break out your sets of Monopoly, Sorry!, and Scrabble.


1. Why UX Design For Machine Learning Matters
“How you make machine learning transparent to users is one of the great design challenges of our time—but a necessary one.”

2. How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love Design Thinking
“When I first heard about Design Thinking, I thought it was a clever rebranding effort by IDEO to charge twice as much for user-centered design. What can I say, I’m an old fart of a designer, and when I read about design thinking, I didn’t really see the big whup. And I wasn’t alone.”

3. The Most Crucial Design Job Of The Future
“What is a data ethnographer, and why is it poised to become so important?”

4. How To Use Vectors In Xcode 7
“You found the perfect vector icons and lived happily ever after… until you run headlong into Xcode. Xcode 7 doesn’t have full vector support for iOS, which can make your icons look something like this:”

5. YouTube Brand Resources
“Below are the building blocks for our brand. While this page is here to get you started, all uses need to be approved by YouTube.”

6. Studio
“STUDIO is a next generation design tool for digital products.”

7. Google Stakes Its Future On A Piece Of Software
“Early in 2015, artificial-intelligence researchers at Google created an obscure piece of software called ­TensorFlow. Two years later the tool, which is used in building machine-­learning software, underpins many future ambitions of Google and its parent company, Alphabet. TensorFlow makes it much easier for the company’s engineers to translate new approaches to artificial intelligence into practical code, improving services such as search and the accuracy of speech recognition. But just months after TensorFlow was released to Google’s army of coders, the company also began offering it to the world for free.”

8. As Blockchain Is On The Rise, So Is The Money In Musicians Pockets. (From Dan)
“As a musician, I want to encourage other artists to collaborate with my music. But recently, a visual artist had all of his Vimeo videos taken down for using just 30 seconds of one of my songs. The label that exclusively licenses one of my songs likely had a bot looking for copyright infringement that automatically took it down. I hear the artist now has them back online after a few weeks of hair loss and negotiations. I’d personally like to avoid these types of situations in the future, which means providing an easy way for others to license and collaborate with my music. A blockchain-empowered rights and payments layer could provide the means to do so.”

9. A Primer On Blockchains, Protocols And Token Sales
“We’ve entered a world where “trust” is moving toward distributed networks of machines that no one person, group, corporation, or government owns. These networks have rock-solid data integrity, zero downtime, and financial incentives for anyone who participates.”

10. On Internet Privacy, Be Very Afraid
“‘Surveillance is the business model of the internet,’ Berkman and Belfer fellow says.”

11. Hackers Are The Real Obstacle For Self-Driving Vehicles
“Out-of-work truckers armed with “adversarial machine learning” could dazzle autonomous vehicles into crashing.”

12. Boston Red Sox Used Apple Watches to Steal Signs Against Yankees
“For decades, spying on another team has been as much a part of the gamesmanship of baseball as brushback pitches and hard slides. The Red Sox have apparently added a modern — and illicit — twist: They used an Apple Watch to gain an advantage against the Yankees and other teams.”

13. Is It Possible To Control Amazon Alexa, Google Now Using Inaudible Commands? Absolutely
“Eavesdropping appliances like Amazon Echo and software assistants like Google Now can be attacked using mangled words that get interpreted as commands, but humans hear as nonsense. As explained in a 2015 paper [PDF], the phrase “Cocaine Noodles,” for example, can be heard by Google Now as its command invocation, “OK, Google.””

14. Amazon And Microsoft Just Made A Major Bet On User-Friendly Design
“Set aside, for a moment, the irresistible Darwinian dynamic that would create between tech superpowers–a kind of Lord of the Flies for AI. This would represent a major paradigm shift. In the past, the big tech companies have been laser-focused on building their own digital platforms. Why collaborate with competitors and make it easier for users to integrate multiple platforms when each company is invested in keeping users on its own platform?”

15. The Secret To A Good Robot Teacher
“In our view, the problem stems partly from the fact that the designers of these technologies rely on an erroneous set of assumptions about how the mind learns. Yes, the human brain is an amazing information processor, but it evolved to take in, analyze and store information in a specific way: through social interaction. For millenniums, the environs in which we learned best were social ones. It was through other people’s testimony or through interactive discourse and exploration with them that we learned facts about our world and new ways of solving problems. And it’s precisely because of this history that we can expect the mind to be socially tuned, meaning that it should rely on and incorporate social cues to facilitate learning.”

16. Board Games Will Save Us
“Rule number one: play.”