Blog: The future of IA
Do you ever find yourself wanting to throw your recent smart speaker purchase out the window? Is it because you don’t trust it? Is it because it doesn’t know the answer to 50% of your questions? Or is it because no matter how many times you call it, it won’t respond to your accent?
These are some of the frustrations shared by users of artificial intelligence and yet somehow we remain hopeful and we hang on as long as we can to see it reach its full potential of making our lives easier.
Artificial intelligence, machine learning and voice interface, all rolled into one is the new kid in town and everyone else is trying to figure him out. Who is this, where does he come from and what can he do for us?
Artificial intelligence simply put is a computer system performing tasks normally performed by human beings. It shares qualities such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision making and translating languages. It can even make jokes, use sarcasm and sing if you ask it to, giving the machine a humanized feel.
But who are the people behind the machine making this happen? There are many professionals involved in the making, but one particular department acts as quite literally the architect of machine learning design.
Information architects structure the journey a human command takes. They organize information, taking different variables into consideration such as context, user history and preference to tailor the information to a specific user and output a response the user can understand and relate to. It also works the other way around where information architecture structures machine learning to understand the user even when the user makes a command in various forms, making the system more user friendly.
But not everyone agrees with the current way artificial intelligence is being used and our frustrations as users come from our lack of knowledge and understanding.
Questions arise such as where is this information all coming from? How do we know that the answer you provided is a reliable source of information? How do we know you’re not secretly listening in on our day to day conversations? Are all of our personal information, preferences and requests being stored in a vault somewhere and if so, how is our information being used?
These are questions that should and need to be addressed at the beginning of any AI user experience and should further require consent from the user.
In order for the future of AI to continue, it is important for information architects to make algorithms clear so users can understand what actions matter and make a difference in the output of information they receive. A lack of transparency has caused mistrust in the product and to counter that it’s important to give users the option of some control over the algorithm.
The future of information architecture will depend on the future of AI and vice versa. As Rob Thomas, general manager at IBM Analytics states, “AI requires machine learning, machine learning requires analytics, and analytics requires the right data and information architecture (IA). In other words, there is no AI without IA.”