Speaking of design we usually think about the wonderful front-ends your customers, and sometimes employees, love. We might also think of industrial design or even city shaping. Beautiful architecture. These days we are so focused on the front-end; we might be tempted to forget the back-end. They say, beauty is what lies inside.

Image from Ex Machina 2015

With multi-channel, or even better onmi-channel and cross-channel, companies try to reach out to the customers and design a rich pallet of interfaces shaped to match the size of the channel and fitting it’s character. Mix and match so to say. Customer journeys are shaped and constantly improved, front-ends online are brought in-line with the more modern App world. Beautiful designs are created for both user interface (UI) and -interaction with respect to the complete user experience, neatly spread over channels. Everything for the user, user-centric or People First as I like to call it.

With the recent wave of modern AI, more and more companies are claiming that AI is the new APP. Not the traditional chess playing AI, but AI that can learn. We can teach it almost everything, even dealing with us humans. Microsoft is betting AI will be its future. Even though it’s twitter Tay chat bot turned into a little Hitler-loving sex bot. Companies like IBM, Google and Facebook also believe in a strong AI future and even Elon Musk is trying to set free AI, though he formally said it was “our greatest existential threat”. I also sometimes joke “They will kill us all” or “We will all be the slaves of robots” just to take a sniff of what the opinion in the room is.

All this power of computing, with all the recent investments in Machine Learning (as a better way of saying modern AI), is hungry for information. Like a young mind that is eager to learn. On the other hand we all, inside and outside our companies, have and share huge amounts of information. Machine learning can deal with large amounts of unstructured data. Learning from data, getting to know us. Do we also want it to handle parts of our lives that way? Act on behalf of us in such an unstructured way? Should we make the ‘life’ of our cognitive assistants really that complex?

As bots will be able to take over more and more complex tasks for us, just by having a dialogue, they will need to be able to act on our behalf with almost infinite amount of companies. In the recent years we have been busy creating a beautiful interface for people, it’s time to think about beautiful interfaces for bots as well. The inside of our companies should shape up.

All is the new App: API is the new App and AI is the new App. We have heard them both. Lets combine them by creating highly standardized interfaces that connect with the non-human interfaces of our bots. Creating neat interfaces that seduce bots to use them. Set a standard dialogue on the inside to flirt with them. It is after all the front-end for our cognitive friends. We need to treat them like our friends if we want them to be as successful as possible assisting us and improving our lives.

(*) This post was previously featured on labs.sogeti.com


Creative business technology management consultant with a major drive and passion for people value. Innovator with broad business and technology knowledge based on over twenty years of experience in IT and more than fifteen years of management. Known for explaining complex things in clear, understandable visuals and language for both business and technical oriented professionals. Extensive experience with workshops, presentations as well as training and coaching colleagues. Highly motivated, reliable, pro-active and always willing to listen and learn.


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