A Future State, ready or not.

Discussing the challenges and opportunities of the metaverse, data sovereignty, AI, VR, gamification, and UX and UI design. A digital world of acronyms!

02.06.2023 - by Brendon Doig

We recently attended Future State 2023, a series of talks from industry speakers exploring the driving forces behind the next era of technological innovation.

Amongst some of the key themes throughout the day was the need to understand how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning will no doubt become part of everyday life, brand behaviour and consumer engagement. What we know is it is becoming increasingly more important to treat this with caution and ensure human-centricity is at the heart of your strategy to ensure you don’t get this wrong and lose touch with your audience.

Creating digital experiences that prioritise the needs of the people using them. Especially when it comes to AI, we need to ensure that these systems are intuitive, easy to use for everyone, and resonate with your core audience or network.

Understanding and harnessing your brand's network was a key feature of one of the most inspiring talks of the day from Mark Adams, Senior Vice President & Head of Innovation at Vice Media. The ability of successful brands to remain connected to and resonate with their loyal, evangelistic customers will become even more relevant with the emergence of new technologies.

Networks, from the internet, social, meta and your brand's loyal followers. These interconnected spaces have transformed brand behaviour by enabling direct communication with customers, fostering collaboration, empowering customers, leveraging influencer marketing, promoting brand advocacy and user-generated content, providing real-time market insights, and emphasising social and environmental responsibility. Brands that embrace these transformations can build stronger connections with their customers, adapt to changing market dynamics, and differentiate themselves in the digital age.

Another key takeaway from Future State was the need to consider inherent bias caused by the use of AI, including those based on machine learning algorithms. These systems exhibit cultural bias due to the biases present in the data they are trained on and the limitations of the algorithms themselves. So, it's important to involve lots of different people in the design process to make sure that we're using accurate and comprehensive data. This will help ensure that the AI systems we create are fair and equitable for everyone.

The impact of potential cultural bias in AI will significantly influence how brands communicate with their audiences. Brands need to recognise and understand cultural diversity while mitigating misinterpretation or misrepresentation of cultural nuances, that can result in communication that is ineffective, offensive, or exclusionary.

However, some of the benefits of AI can be to help personalise your brand experiences. AI technologies, when properly developed and deployed, can help brands deliver personalised communication tailored to individual preferences and cultural sensitivities. By leveraging AI-driven insights, brands can create targeted campaigns that align with specific cultural contexts, values, and beliefs. This can foster a stronger connection with their core audiences and enhance brand loyalty.

One of the main reasons why human-centric design is so crucial in digital design is usability and understanding your audience. We want to create experiences that are super easy to use and understand. Designing with the end-user in mind, we can make them more accessible, user-friendly, and sticky.

This also led to the conversation about the future of e-commerce. Two key speakers from Adidas looking at what the online shopper experience and behaviour might look like in a not-to-distant future of 2043. As expected, AI will have a profound impact on the future of e-commerce, revolutionising various aspects of the industry and customer experience, UX.

Some of the key areas that brands will look to embrace if they haven’t already will be nailing Personalised Shopping Experiences. AI will enable e-commerce platforms to deliver more personalised shopping experiences tailored to individual customers, product recommendations, customised promotions, and targeted advertisements. This level of personalisation will enhance customer satisfaction, engagement, and ultimately drives sales.

Transparency is also a big part of a human-centred approach to Future State design applications. We need to make sure that people understand how AI works and what it's doing. By designing AI systems with transparency in mind, we can help build trust with users and make sure they understand what's happening behind the scenes.

Finally, the human-centred Future State in digital design can help us avoid some of the potentially negative effects of a future with AI. For example, people are worried that AI will take their jobs or make income inequality worse. By involving all stakeholders, users and our team in the design process, we can identify potential problems early and create AI systems that minimise harm.

So, there you have it! the Future is here and it will be different, but the importance of a Human-centered approach is super important in all conversations from digital design, marketing, building networks, and especially when it comes to AI. By focusing on usability, reducing bias, increasing transparency, and minimising negative consequences, we can create digital experiences that are accessible and beneficial to everyone. And of course brave as f**k.

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