How is Artificial Intelligence changing product design?

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While AI is not likely to replace product designers anytime soon, the latter are using the potential it offers to great effect.

Artificial Intelligence – or AI – is the buzzword that seems to be on everyone in the tech world’s lips and minds at the moment.  The term carries a lot of mystery and ambiguity, and it is also surrounded by a lot of hype.

In basic terms, AI refers to technological algorithms, or computations, that are automated and produce new outcomes. Those algorithms require data that is input by humans, in order to work and realize the goals and processes they have been designed to achieve.

AI has been slated as the technological innovation that is going to revolutionize practically every aspect of our lives and economy. From how medical diagnoses are made, to transport, marketing, how we interact with each other and many more – AI is changing how technological visionaries of all sorts are rethinking how business is going to work in the future.

That change is also naturally happening in the realm of product design.

While product design is in its essence a creative process that requires human insights that cannot (yet) be emulated by any AI technology, product designers are finding new ways to mobilize the possibilities of AI in their creative and production methods.

So how are designers using AI to help them create products that stand out from the rest?

1. Optimizing the Design Process

It is easy to begin thinking that AI is some kind of magical entity that has its own life. However, the AI systems that are gaining traction as potent tools for a whole range of technological processes ultimately require human inputs.

Previously, product design – when referring to the actual industrial, or practical creation of products – would use whole range of knowledge and data sets, including human experience and knowledge of mathematical formulas, in order to create a product.

Consider the wheel. A product designer for a car rim would use a range of mathematical formulas (including the famous ‘π’) to create the designs for the rim. This designer would be using algorithms in order to make these designs, but they would not be considered AI.

An AI algorithm is one that can create new outcomes and solutions. AI algorithms can allow data to be entered – for example, to emulate the potential shocks a car rim can be subjected to over its life span – and then create a proposed technical design for the rim that can best meet the requirements the designers expect it to encounter.

The projection mapping that is possible through the use of AI is allowing designers to envision new ways to make their products more resilient and responsive to the uses they are destined for.

2. Power of Machine Learning

We’ve previously written about how AI is going to change marketing. One of the key components of that change is the Machine Learning capabilities presented by AI, which allow software systems to continuously optimize themselves based on the inputs they observe from the real world, or our behavior.

AI-powered Machine Learning is dramatically changing how product designers access and use data inputs from user behavior, allowing them to dramatically increase the amount of data (and usable analyses of it) that they can comprehend, in order to design the products we use and consume.

From websites and apps all the way to cars, smartphones and the movies we watch, these products will increasingly be designed and based on data that has been collected on how they are used by consumers, and processed through AI algorithms to create usable data.

3. Possibilities offer by Internet of Things integration

AI is also powering a revolution in the way the devices we use connect to one another and share data between themselves. The ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) has allowed product designers to re-conceptualize how the products they are creating for consumers operate and obtain data.

For example, Google’s Alexa is an IoT device in every sense of the word, as it is integrated with a wide range of other services and data that its owners use on a daily basis, from their Spotify accounts to their Google calendar and iPhone.

This kind of interconnectivity is providing product designers with new possibilities for remagining their creations, so that they will be more easily accessible, seamless and relevant within the context of an expanding IoT ecosystem.

If your phone can be controlled by Alexa, and your phone can control the music that comes out of your car, then why not have, for example, a coffee maker that can be controlled in the same way? This is just one of countless examples of how the IoT will change how products are designed and operate.

As innovation continues to accelerate, it’s going to be more important than ever for companies to have a deep understanding of the directions technologies such as AI and 5G are taking us, and the trends that are defining society and the economy.

At Bocasay, we are constantly updating our understanding of tech trends, to keep us and our clients ahead of the curve. Contact us if you would like to find out more about how our IT Development teams can help you realize your tech goals.

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