AI and Sensemaking

Human-Centered Design in the Age of Abundant Data

I had the pleasure of moderating a panel for AIA NY in December.
You can watch the recording of evening through this link.

In my introduction I spoke of 3 interesting trends I am seeing in AI design and innovation:

1- Abundance and Scarcity

We have more technology than ever before, in a more affordable way, but with every abundance comes scarcity, what is ours?

As we have more technology, we have less of something else. Abundance always negotiates with scarcity. More machine based decisions mean less human involvement, more stats mean less decision on the fly, more standardization mean less thoughtfulness.

Scarcity is generally a great place to look for differentiation, and more so in the groundswell of AI abundance.

2 - Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics Model

Innovation lives in the space between scarcity and harmful abundance

In the inner ring people are unable to exercise agency, outside the other innovation is unchecked and damaged the environment, or ethics.

In between we let electrons bounce. Where do current innovations sit, and who is left moderating and making sure we’re in the safe zone?

3 - The knowledge shift

What is known? What can be known?

What does the past tell us about the future? and where does sense-making fit within this frame?

  • ‘Prediction’

  • ‘Smart’

  • ‘Learning’

I suspect that linguistics and epistemology is going to make its way into design and innovation as AI is going to become more prevalent in the decision economy.

This will be a good place to remind that I am slowly organizing (and looking for more people for) a group to write an open–source report on designing for autonomous systems.


Than you to AIA NY committee for the invitation, and to the panelists for their thoughts and presentation:

  • Daniel Pittman, Partner (Strategy & Innovation), TAD Associates

  • Will Shapiro, Co-Founder and CEO, Topos Inc.

  • Andreas Hoffbauer, Founder and Director, Atelier Kultur

  • Melissa Marsh, Assoc. AIA, Founder & Executive Director, PLASTARC and Senior Managing Director - Occupant Experience, Savills