Understanding the changing role of the designer as a force for good in a racially and gender-biased‭, ‬AI-powered world

Sarah Pagliaccio‭, ‬independent designer‭ (‬USA‭)‬

Abstract:The historical data we use to train the machines in AI continue to reflect biases that many of us have hoped to relegate to the past‭. ‬If you ask the machines‭, ‬women belong in the home and black men belong in prison‭. ‬So what should you do if your company requires you to design an app that relies on big data that might be faulty or relies on technologies such as voice‭- ‬or facial-recognition that have proven to perpetuate gender and racial biases‭? ‬Start by understanding what these biases are‭, ‬where they come from‭, ‬and where they pop up in our design processes and design tools‭. ‬Designers who own the user experience of a company‭, ‬product‭, ‬or service can and should address these inequities by knowing which industries have been perpetuating historic racism‭ ‬and sexism‭; ‬knowing what’s in the data sets that power an app‭; ‬working with data-analytics team to understand what data are captured by an app‭; ‬understanding how biases can be perpetuated in our designs because of ingroup and outgroup bias and the influences of working in white‭, ‬male dominated tech and arts communities‭; ‬and knowing where biases show up in the software and services we use when we are designing like Sketch‭, ‬Adobe XD‭, ‬and speech‭, ‬image‭, ‬and name generators‭. ‬Finally we will discuss how we can harness machine learning technologies like text sentiment analysis to combat our own biases and improve our design work‭. ‬If equity through design is a goal‭, ‬then it’s incumbent on us as designers to understand and combat the inequities inherent in the AI-powered software we are designing and‭ ‬the tools we are designing with‭.‬

Short CV‭: ‬Principal and Founder of Black Pepper‭, ‬Sarah Pagliaccio‭ is an innovator‭, ‬educator‭, ‬and award-winning user experience designer‭, ‬who leads multi-disciplinary design teams‭, ‬and creates responsive sites and native apps for B2B and B2C customers across platforms‭ ‬and devices in healthcare‭, ‬financial services‭, ‬and not-for-profit orgs with a focus on fighting unconscious bias and designing‭ ‬for equal access‭. ‬Sarah Pagliaccio designs and educates at the intersection of tech‭, ‬design‭, ‬and the humanities‭. ‬Sarah teaches Interaction Design at Lesley University College of Art‭ + ‬Design and writes and lectures on bias in AI and user experience‭.‬