Staying on top of the latest design trends is a necessary part of being a creative professional. One area that designers will need to adapt to in future years is artificial intelligence (AI). Artificial intelligence is gaining traction, currently a $15 billion industry. By 2020, the industry is expected to grow to $20 billion, with more than 2,600 companies developing some type of AI technology.

The Many Facets of Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is more than robots and virtual assistants. AI has been around since 1956 and has made some giant leaps since then. However, brands are just now starting to adapt to AI. Perhaps you’ve met Cortana, Siri or Alexa.

Google’s voice recognition technology is 92% accurate. Facebook’s DeepFace claims to be as accurate as the human brain, with a 97% accuracy rate. AI has been showing up in other industries as well, acting as virtual bank assistants and robot hotel staff. Even Google’s search algorithm RankBrain uses artificial intelligence to predict what people are searching for.

For designers, the integration of AI offers a wide range of opportunities that weren’t previously available. Yet to be able to take advantage of these opportunities, you must have an understanding of sociology and psychology. The purpose of studying these sciences is that they allow you to better understand human behavior and the choices that people might make.

Creating Highly Personalized Experiences

Thanks to artificial intelligence, you can develop highly personalized and individualized experiences for each user rather than the general population. This is a huge step forward in design, as we’ve only been able to predict the average person’s needs. Unfortunately, it’s limiting our potential to connect with every person based on their needs and wants.

Imagine lighting in a bathroom that adjusts to your needs, or car profiles that reset to each user. You can even edit a child’s tutoring plan based on her attention span using an educational robot. The opportunities are endless when it comes to AI because it allows our products and services to be emotionally aware as opposed to just present.

Expanding on Your Design Education

Whether you went to school 5 years ago or 20 years ago, you didn’t receive an education that focused on artificial intelligence. Most design courses involved some use of the liberal arts, but artificial intelligence goes deeper than that. To fully understand it, you can benefit from higher ed courses or take part in various online webinars and workshops that address AI and design.

Here are some of the disciplines you might focus on:

  • Math. Data is everywhere. Whether it’s in the form of statistics, data mining or data science, designers need to better understand how to collect data and analyze it. This information will help with decision making. Artificial intelligence shakes things up with machine learning, which is essentially teaching machines to make decisions.

  • Psychology. AI systems have the ability to detect various moods, locations and times of days. Based on these factors, they can act accordingly to the user’s needs. Designers must have a deep understanding of human psychology so they can take into account how someone might feel at 12 pm versus 12 am.

  • Sociology. Should AI systems be considered a part of society? Will AI systems be able to communicate with each other? Is it possible that the different AI systems will form their own society? Artificial intelligence will change the way that society operates, and designers will have to make decisions about how far they want that change to go.

Striking a Balance

In the world of design, it’s increasingly important to strike a balance between creating personalized experiences and creepy ones. Not only can you scare people off by knowing too many personal details, but also AI runs the risk of making its own judgements. People may not be comfortable with this, especially if they didn’t sign up for it.

Using artificial intelligence won’t be a choice in the future. It will be something that you have to address and incorporate into your practices to some degree. What you will need to be successful with is allowing AI to access the right amount of data while sticking to your brand values.

Moreover, you must still make human interaction available for handling complex situations. When a customer is frustrated, angry, confused or has more than the basic questions, they are going to want to speak with a human over a machine.

Brands Seeing Success with AI

What are some of the brands already seeing success with artificial intelligence? Under Armour has a UA Record fitness app that uses machine-learning technology to analyze food, exercise and sleep data. This information is combined with insights from other anonymous users to provide timely advice and motivation.

EasyJet is a budget airline that is also seeing success with AI. The airline plans to use machine-learning technology to provide better services to customers, such as by optimizing their destinations and flight times. Skype is also using AI to deliver voice-recognition and real-time translation. These are a just a few of the companies using artificial intelligence to improve their services and provide customers with better experiences.


The lines between AI and real life will continue to blend together in the coming years. This will raise concerns over ethics and human emotion. Web designers will need to find ways to provide customers with the personalized experiences they expect without being too invasive. By allowing AI access to the right data, plus understanding the various sciences (sociology and psychology), you can be successful in optimizing customer experiences without being presumptuous.