This week, start here: Irving Wladawsky-Berger has penned a quite-readable piece on Kevin Kelly, artificial intelligence and machine learning as a utility (7 min.), arguing that one of the ‘chief virtues’ of artificial intelligence is that it doesn’t aim to replicate human intelligence and thought patterns. Quoting Kelly:

Everything that we formerly electrified we will now cognitize.”  Like any other tool, this “utilitarian AI will also augment us individually as people (deepening our memory, speeding our recognition) and collectively as a species.  There is almost nothing we can think of that cannot be made new, different, or interesting by infusing it with some extra IQ.  In fact, the business plans of the next 10,000 startups are easy to forecast: Take X and add AI.  This is a big deal, and now it’s here.


We’re rather drawn to the way that Russian digital studio The Family has used a Leap Motion sensor to turn any surface in their space into a touch interface (2 min.). Prosthetic Knowledge has a slightly deeper dive on it (1 min.).

We quite like these thoughts on copywriting for user experience (3 min.) from Christine Cawthorne of the Government Digital Service.

This, from Jim Nieters of HP, in a UX Matters roundtable on foundational principles of user experience design (14 min.):

It’s still far too common for companies to say that they want to invest in User Experience and differentiate their products through design, when they really want to produce user interfaces on a shoestring budget. They think that they can hire one designer or one UX leader and get great user experiences. It’s just not that easy! Or, companies may say that they want to be the new Apple or Amazon of their marketplace, but their level of investment does not reflect their stated goals.

An intriguing dilemma: now that we have established standards for the form of open data (and lots of data to go with them), where are the protocols for the ways in which data is analyzed (6 min.)?

Speaking of lots of data and squishy protocols: is Buzzfeed the next big research platform (4 min.)? Maybe.

Grant McCracken thinks perhaps it’s not safe in the middle any longer (2 min.).

Aleem Walji of the World Bank Group in an essay this month for the Stanford Social Innovation Review on innovating practice within organizations (4 min.):

The innovation we most needed was innovation in the leadership architecture of how we confront complex challenges.

This, too, from an OrgTheory interview with Hahrie Han, on the relationships between organizations and the civic minded activist (3 min.):

leadership was defined not by position or authority (as some management scholars might define it), but instead by the willingness to accept responsibility for consequential outcomes, and to achieve those outcomes by engaging others

The EPIC People profile of Google Director of User Experience Elizabeth Churchill (13 min.) is quite good, especially this:

If you don’t understand how things, objects, especially somewhat sentient, intelligent objects and devices become part of people’s everyday life practices, you will never understand how to build a system that is truly adaptive, truly social or truly useful.

Andrew Hovells’ piece on the ways in which ‘research makes people tell lies’ (2 min.) is both amusing and, in our experience, quite true.


Apropos of nothing, two more essays that caught our eye this week are worth a few minutes of your free time: Vanessa Willoughby’s Black Girls Don’t Read Sylvia Plath (13 min.) and Jed Rakoff’s Why Innocent People Plead Guilty (21 min.) are both fantastic reads that will make you smarter, even if they’re not likely to show up in your next slide presentation.

Until next week, have a great one.