111th TechDay: Meeting the User Needs in the Age of AI

22/12/2020     AI / WUD’20 / Tech Days

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The last TechDay of 2020, the 111th, took place last month. Again in online format, this TechDay was dedicated to the theme "Meeting the User Needs in the Age of AI" and was held in the context of the World Usability Day 2020 (WUD'20), which was celebrated that same day.

In this session, Paulo Margaça, from the Technology and Innovation Strategy department and moderator of this event, began by contextualizing usability (UX) and artificial intelligence (AI) in its history, also presenting the potential of the combination of the two currents in the change of approach from a technology-first into a people-first perspective. This was the motto for the conversation that followed, with guests Jorge Miguel Sousa, from the Network Services and Platforms department, Professor Hugo Paredes, from UTAD and INESC TEC, and Professor Verónica Orvalho, from Didimo, who were able to present their vision regarding the importance of UX in technology, how to improve UX's capabilities through AI, keeping the focus on the human user, and how to make a user's relationship with technology more pleasant and more impactful.

Jorge Miguel Sousa also had the opportunity to present the BOTSchool evolution perspective, leveraging it in AI technologies to improve the user experience, creating an empathy adapted to each user. These technologies are essential in this individual adaptation to each user.

According to Hugo Paredes, a good UX is only 10% technology, integrating with other disciplines like psychology, anthropology, sociology and designers, among others, so that the final solution reflects all these visions and transmits the necessary trust to be adopted by the target audience. IA technologies can complement us, contributing to an augmented-human, where human capacity is merged with machine capacity.

For Verónica Orvalho, the approach to follow is not to think about a problem in technological terms first, but rather to define what experience the user is intended to experience, and only then to find out the technological tools to achieve that experience.

There was also time to answer questions posed by the audience, who asked the speakers on the issue of AI technologies whether they might be contributing to the exploitation of the human being as a product rather than helping to satisfy their needs as humans, or whether the tools being created stimulate human development or, on the contrary, promote their lazier side.

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