First Thing Monday, edition #112
It's certainly been big week in AI news, and it's only Wednesday.
For starters, The Beatles released a new song, thanks to AI. I really loved watching the short film detailing the process of using machine audio learning to reconstruct Lennon's voice. Incredible.
But perhaps the biggest news this week came out of Open AI's developer conference on Monday. It felt like how Apple conferences used to feel, but on a whole new level. OpenAI's announcement of an GPT App Store seems like a pivotal moment. Not only that, you can now use ChatGPT to create your own GPTs to sell in said GPT app store. Here's a video demo of CEO Sam Altman creating a "Startup Mentor" GPT in just 4 minutes.
Open AI are plowing ahead on the path to AGI (Artificial General Intelligence), and with Altman foreseeing a world where humans and AI will merge together, it's getting harder and harder to have any clue about what the future will look like.
Exploding head emoji!
What does all this mean for design?
That's the question that we're all asking ourselves. What does the rapid acceleration in technology do to our profession, and our jobs?
For me, I think a lot of things will change, but a lot of things will stay the same. At least for now.
In many ways, my role hasn't changed that much ... yet. I'm still sketching on paper. I'm still talking to users. Understanding problems, ideating on solutions. Getting buy in from stakeholders. And of course, I'm still using the design tools, like Figma.
The biggest change for me - is that now I have a design assistant to help me, thanks to Chat GPT.
I've written before about some of the ways that I'm using AI in my workflow. And as a whole, our industry adapting quickly to the idea of AI as a UX assistant. That's a huge change that has only happened this year. It's really quite astonishing what has changed, just this year.
We're on an exponential curve
Next year is going to be even more wild. The exponential growth curve of this technology means that every year is going to be crazier than the last.
And so what happens in 2024? Well, I'd predict that we'll start see a huge change to the tools that we use. Figma has just launched AI features into Figjam, and maybe this is a taste of what's to come.
We're also starting to see new UI patterns and paradigms emerge, beyond text input / output. This is something that I'm really excited about.
Something that caught my eye this week was the beta release of Dot, an AI companion designed by Jason Yuan (an ex-Apple designer).
Yes, AI companions are all the rage right now, but this feels like a really interesting take on it, with new interface concepts to match.
What’s next? Well, maybe UIs will be generated on the fly, to suit user's context and preference. Personalised, disposable, malleable interfaces that deliver the best experience at the right place, and at the rightmoment.
There will be snake oil
Of course, there will be plenty of snake oil. We're seeing plenty of it already.
This week, I learnt about an AI startup called Synthetic Users, that offer user research ... without the users. They're suggesting that we will be able to do away with real humans.
Nice try, but I'm very skeptical about this. We might be able to glean insights from a 'stereotypical user', but we're always going to need to talk to our users.
Or at least I think we are.
But like I said, it's getting and harder to have any clue about what the future will look like.
Read. Learn. Experiment. Repeat.
One thing I love so much about product design is the constant learning. Everything is in flux, but it always has been.
And so all we can do is do what we've always done. Embrace the change. Keep learning. Experiment with new tools. Re-define our craft.
And have fun.
Before I go, I couldn't not share this link: A great big data visualization of all the songs played during Pavement's 2022‑2023 tour. How awesome!
Whatever happens, we'll always have the Beatles. And Pavement.
See you next week.