You are listening to the HumAIn Podcast. HumAIn is your first look at the startups and industry titans that are leading and disrupting artificial intelligence, data science, future of work and developer education. I am your host, David Yakobovitch, and you are listening to HumAIn. If you like this episode, remember to subscribe and leave a review. Now onto the show.

An audio version of this Medium article is available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

David Yakobovitch

Welcome back listeners. This is the HumAIn Podcast. And today we have a guest, Sam Horodezky¹ who works in the crossroads of UX, product management and human centered design. Sam is the founder of Strathearn Design² and comes with us today with some interesting thoughts on how the entire industry is evolving, not just around COVID, but around design in general. Sam, thanks for being with us.

Sam Horodezky

Well, thank you so much for having me, David.

David Yakobovitch

Well, you know, we are living in such fascinating times and I think one of the most important things is understanding that not everything is code. I mean, in 2020, we are seeing so much coming up from no code and low code and all these solutions and a lot of employees, whether they’re new to companies or executives often wonder, can they be a part of design? Who can do design? Is it only for designers? So lovely to start framing this conversation around design of the future. What do you see going on?

Sam Horodezky

Well, there’s no question that some of the tools that are becoming available now are actually specifically meant to, I guess what you might say is democratize design or bring design to the masses. And in some cases, you know, they’re doing it in a way that like, we don’t even notice.

So just as an example, you know, I’m a designer and I have a website and one day when I decided I needed to create a website, I went to a place called Wix³ and they had this thing called the ADI and it didn’t really pay that much attention to it, but it stands for Artificial Design Intelligence, and it helped me create a website that was very straightforward.

I think the thing that for me was the best, is that it actually took my logo and then changed all the colors to matching the logo. So it turns out that I had just stumbled onto something that, for Wix is a pretty big deal, which is that, they at least claim in some of their material that, they’re actually using machine learning and things like that within Wix. Now, whether or not that’s really true, or if they’re just using some sort of standard algorithms, there’s absolutely no question that just Joe blow now can go onto, almost anywhere.

Weebly has exactly the same sort of thing where you go on and it will actually create a website around, some basic questions that asks you. I think the basic pattern is that it is kind of like a dyadic relationship. And I think we’ll talk about that throughout this podcast, but it’s not that the, machine goes off, it does a bunch of work and then comes back with the final product.

But there’s an interactive relationship between the person who’s using it and the computer. And so they go back and forth to arrive at a solution. So that’s absolutely what this Wix thing did. And now it’s funny that, several years later, I’m researching, what does artificial intelligence and design look like in the future? And Wix pops up. I hadn’t even noticed really that this technology was being used.

David Yakobovitch

It’s so fascinating that we look traditionally at website creation and whether you’re someone who codes with like Adobe products, like Dreamweaver or WordPress, or now even Wix and Squarespace, there are so many solutions out there. And I think I agree with you, Sam, that I wouldn’t traditionally think that there’s AI baked in, right.

Maybe there’s some automation or some blocks or some code snippets, but it’s pretty cool now that there’s generative design, we’ve spoken a lot on HumAIn about generative design in the past, we see companies like Autodesk using it. We see large retailers and fleet management companies like Keep Trucking using generative design for routes and #automation, but it seems that it’s here in the design world as well.

Sam Horodezky

Yeah. I think they are very similar to each other in that I think the idea for either #machinelearning or for AI is to be able to generate as much as possible. Now, I don’t think we’re quite there yet when it comes to the design. Not as far as I can tell, but that is definitely the ideas to reduce the amount of work required of the human, I guess.

David Yakobovitch

And now thinking of all humans like you and myself, you know, I am not a designer by trade, I’m a data scientist, but I believe in design thinking. I have my design thinking framework for data science. And similarly, I love to dabble with PowerPoint and Photoshop and lots of tools, but, they consider themselves designers. But how can people today get involved in design? Is it available for the masses?

Sam Horodezky

Yeah, well, I mean, that is actually a kind of big question. Again, in researching for this podcast, I found all sorts of tools that, their whole purpose in life is to cut out. The design basically is to allow the regular man on the street to get their work done. So Wix is one example. Now here is another couple of examples that again, I’ve personally been using and hadn’t even noticed that there might potentially be AI involved.

PowerPoint has a really powerful tool where you can actually go in and you put in all the content and then it’ll make various suggestions to you about layout. And, I just discovered it randomly one day when I was working on something I definitely didn’t know it was there. And my impression was very positive. I was like, Oh wow, this is actually doing a pretty good job. It’s making some really good recommendations. And I use some of the recommendations that it made now.

So again, I don’t really know what technology is behind it. You know, Microsoft does do a lot of artificial intelligence, machine learning type stuff, whether they’re actually using that or not, you can never really tell, but again, there’s no question that just Joe blow can make a nice looking slide. All they have to do is put in like a graphic and then some texts that can have different groups of texts and different pieces of graphics and it’ll give you lots of options.

Yeah we’re looking at it right now on the screen. And Google has exactly the same thing. I have not played around with it, but I, again, I’m sure they’re developing all sorts of interesting techniques to make design so that non-designers essentially can get good results.

David Yakobovitch

You know, when you look at job descriptions out there in the market, almost every role asks; Can you build presentations? Can you speak about business results? And ultimately that defacto software typically ends up being keynote, Microsoft PowerPoint, or Google slides. It’s incredible to see now that there’s these seamless user experiences.

And that comes back to UX, good AI, good #datascience is at the point where I should not even recognize that it’s there. It’s just augmenting my experience, helping me be a better business user or a better designer. What else are you seeing about design for the masses?

Sam Horodezky

One of this is actually a Toronto based company, which is how I ran into it. They used to be called Logo Joy because they were centered around logos. It’s now called Looka and this one will generate a bespoke logo for, I don’t know if it’s 50 bucks or 60 bucks or something like that. And actually anyone can just go on and generate whatever they want for free. You only pay once you decide you want a high resolution image.

Now they’re also branching out. You can see, they’re talking about brands, they’re branching out into doing actually websites as well. But the logo maker thing is really interesting. And it’s just another example of the dyadic relationship that I talked about.

It’s not like it just goes in and creates, asks you, what’s the name of your company and then creates a logo for you. It asks a variety of questions to understand what kind of field you’re in. It asks you what colors do you like? Like it basically gives you a color grid and then asks you to pick colors. So it does a number of things before generating. It actually says pick some icons that you like which have nothing to do with your icon or your company, and then it generates a bunch of options for you.

And from then on you interact with it. You can decide whether to make the logo different or bigger or better, or a different color or whatever. And you know, my impression of it as a designer who works, I don’t actually make logos. I do it a slightly different type of design, but I work with people who are logo designers.

There’s no question that it’s not the same quality as if you were really to hire yourself a designer and get a bespoke logo. But at the same time for 50 bucks, this is giving you a lot. It’s a lot better than nothing. Then you are just like creating your own logo, in MS Paint or something like that.

David Yakobovitch

I really love what is going on in generative design. We even see today in architecture, there’s a lot of startups that are helping architects, just generate layouts for apartments and condos and workspaces, and you can generate thousands of them almost instantly and then see which ones have the most Interesting or unique structure. That is great not only for carbon footprint and for living conditions, but for making a dynamic environment.

And I think we’re seeing, as you mentioned with Looka and other startups, a lot of that’s happening for creating different digital assets for the digital media that we’re consuming whether it’s on live software or synchronous or asynchronous in real-time or offline.

I think another area, we’ve seen a lot of work that, you and I have talked about offline is today one of the big apps that we all use are things like Instagram and TikTok and Snapchat, and a lot of these different, photo sharing softwares. And what’s really interesting about them is they also have different components of machine learning and AI in there. Traditionally, we would not think about it as machine learning and #artificialintelligence.

I know myself as someone who’s been in the photo space and own Canon cameras for years, that I’m a big fan of Lightroom. Light Room had these filters for many years, but now we’re seeing it with these apps like Instagram and even other apps that help you generate these. What are some of the trends you have seen or some of the apps you have come across?

Sam Horodezky

Yeah. I mean, it is interesting. I never thought of Instagram in terms of like what it does from a filtering point of view, it was all that big a deal. Right? I mean, it’s making something look old like 23 years ago and it’s got scratches or it’ll make it brighter or anything like that. But it’s clear that it has hit a nerve and there are apps out there that are now basically allowing you to apply some kind of, I guess, template like the best way to do it, to think about it as a style template.

So if you want something rendered as in like Salvador Dalí, then these apps will actually have templates of Salvador Dalí, which you can then apply to either still images or to video. So, two of these are what I’ve seen are actually apps on your phone. So I think the idea is you take a picture or you take a video and then you process it. One is called Prisma. Another one is called Artisto.

I’m sure you can just go to the app store or iTunes and download them. And again, to me, it’s a bit interesting in terms of like, what really is AI and what is not, you know they definitely talk about how they’re using artificial intelligence to create this sort of work.

I’m not really sure to what extent that’s true, but what is definitely true is that your’re able to take a photo or a video and then transform it into something that looks totally different than it actually can be quite professional. So it’s just another one of these examples of, increasing ability to have tools for users that aren’t really designers.

David Yakobovitch

I think it’s also really fascinating that we’ve been spending a lot of the conversation so far thinking about design for presentations and design for photos. But one of the startups that you just mentioned also is Artiststo and Artiststo lets you do these filters for video, so it’s amazing.

I think when you have stop gap motion of 30 or 60 frames per second, you can make your dog look like a painting from Monet or like you’re in an Art Basil Fair while you’re not. So it’s absolutely interesting that the compute has become so readily available that we can just drag and drop and click these interfaces.

Sam Horodezky

Yeah, exactly. I mean, think about 30 years ago, what it would take if you were a cinematographer and you wanted to create some kind of festiva that, you know, looks like a Monet, what would be involved? I mean, that would be an incredibly manual process and be very expensive. And now you can just take a snapshot of your kids and do it in 30 seconds. So, I mean, it is pretty remarkable.

David Yakobovitch

And even as someone who got involved in the newspaper business back in the 90s and early two 2000s, when I was getting into advertising and designing ads and newspaper layouts, so much of it even then was a manual process. Now we’re starting to see that the design for the masses is beginning to get automated.

If you will, the tasks were able to help out with them. We’re able to now, have faster workflows. I’ve seen that, for example, in working with After Effects and Premiere Promo, when I’m doing video for education. Either now I can have all these assets and they’re more automated with styles. What are some of the automations that you’re seeing going on in industry?

Sam Horodezky

Yeah. So here we get to the heart of the matter, right. Which is like, what kind of tools are actually available for designers and how are they actually going to be changing how we do things? And I mean, to be honest, I think it’s still very early days. So I would not assess it as being particularly mature.

There’s a lot of interesting tools out there, but they seem like they’re more kind of experiments than they are things that are really genuinely going to change how we do work. One thing that is kind of cool and it’s in the same vein as PowerPoint and the Google slides is that Photoshop has a tool called Content Aware Crop.

Basically, if you try to rotate something or change the dimensions, let’s say you want to make something portrait into landscape or maybe change its resolution or size. I mean, it’s really simple, but it’s super cool.

And that’s another one of these things that could take a lot of time, right. To actually have a photo and have to try to pretend to fill in a part of the road that is not actually there that could be challenging. And you could even do it in a way where, I mean, even if someone who’s really good could make it have somewhat imperfect and you would be able to tell that there was kind of an illustration.

So, that’s an example of a really simple technology that’s out there. Another one that is a little more specialized is something that Netflix is doing now. Netflix is doing all sorts of interesting things. Yeah. I mean, that’s kind of their, their bread and butter, but one thing related to user interface is just that simple snapshot that shows you the video that you are actually about to watch or the movie.

And I guess if you think about it, they’ve got customers all around the world. So they have to deal in, God knows how many languages it’s probably, you know, 60 to a 100 or something like that. And to actually generate images for each one of those languages, for each show, sounds like it would be a super daunting task.

And so they have actually completely automated that process where they’ve got some kind of system. I haven’t seen it in an operation. I’ve just read some articles about it, but you know, once it has the text, so it knows what the text is in all the languages and then it’s got a snapshot. It’s actually got various snapshots of the image itself, and then it’s just able to glue them all together.

So again, a really huge savings for them in terms of not having to have designers creating this stuff. Very much related to that, is actually something called Firedrop.io. They’re also trying to, I mean, they’re clearly early stage, but what they do is they are able to process videos and use large amounts of data to basically output advertisements.

And they have some really interesting case studies and, you know, I don’t know. It’s always tough to tell when you read a case study on any website, like what the real story is, but again, what’s clear is that they’re able to generate thousands and thousands of different potential candidates for advertisements based on, a set of input.

And again, this is something that would normally require an army of people. So again, it’s early days, but it’s very clear that, for places that in marketing, this is super common, right? For all of a sudden, if you change your logo, if you change the color of the logo, then you’ve got all this collateral.

Right. And then what happens if you’ve got all this collateral, is that, and I personally been a part of it where then all of a sudden the marketing department for the next six weeks, all they’re doing is changing PowerPoint templates. And all of the collateral that they have, everything that’s, they’re giving out to sales becomes this huge effort.

And often they need to hire, an agency to help with it. So you can sort of see that I don’t think it’s quite there yet, but in the future, something that right now is a real pain and it’s just a really big effort. It’s going to be something that will be highly simplified and that machines will basically be able to do for us.

David Yakobovitch

You know, given everything that we’re seeing in the world around COVID I have like a similar idea around automation, but what I’m seeing here with Firedrop is really interesting for the design automation. And potentially, if you have your brand assets that can automatically update it everywhere, and that might be what they’re working towards is the grand vision. I mean, similarly, one conversation I’ve had with a few colleagues is, we have so much communication between all of our tools, whether it’s WhatsApp or Facebook or LinkedIn or phone or text or voicemail.

And often it’s very difficult to remember where the conversation occurred and there’s really nothing out there today to sync everything in one place and then automatically retrieve that information. I think AI is going to be part of that solution, whether it’s natural language processing with the text or the audio or the video, I think we’re going to get there and we’re starting to see this Mbps, but you know, more focused around UX research as you’ve been describing.

I think UX teams can start to work a lot smarter and they can be empowered to either rate with product design a lot faster with some of these tools. Now you, in addition to working in UX, you’ve worked in product management and #humancentereddesign. How have you seen your workflow change with the emergence of some of these and other tools?

Sam Horodezky

Well, there’s no question that there’s been a big evolution in the tool set. I’m not so sure how much of it has anything to do with machine learning, but it’s very clear. I mean, I think at a really basic level, the defacto tool that everyone was using 10 years ago, Maybe we’re now talking 15 years ago was called OmniGraffle and it was a Macintosh only piece of software. And OmniGraffle was really awesome, but I never had a Mac, so I was never able to use it. But so my use as a cheap, that sort of cheap replacement was Vizio.

So then, the next thing that happened with Sketch. Now, people still talk about Sketch, but Sketch is clearly on the way out and again, they kind of just like somehow Sketch was able to displace OmniGraffle, Sketch is being displaced right now, but Sketch again was the defacto tool for UI and UX designers for a long time.

And like I said, it’s still being used. So from 2010 on now, what was slightly different about Sketch is that it’s allowed you to do sort of pixel level manipulation. So OmniGraffle really was the kind of a workflow type tool where you would just, document like what the workflow of a particular experience would look like, but it was harder to make it look pixel perfect, but Sketch completely enabled that.

So then the next phase, which we’re right in right now, and there’s just a huge proliferation of tools is basically the online collaboration space. And again, Sketch appears to have missed it because, now they are desperately trying to catch up, but it’s kind of too late because people have already moved.

So the tool that I use is called Figma and I had never even heard of it literally two and a half years ago. And one time I went to an event that was sponsored by Figma. So it just shows advertising actually sometimes works. So I went to Figma and I was like, wow, this is amazing. I mean, it was basically what Sketch does, but it does it all online. And so it allows you to sort of have a collaborative experience.

Other tools I mean that’s Figma has become a really popular tool, which again, wasn’t really being used 10 years ago and it’s mainly used for prototypes. And then the other big players, Adobe used to have a tool called Fireworks and they kind of adopted it to call it IXD.

So two of the main players Figma and IXD, they’re kind of fighting it out. And again, what’s different about them is they’re SAS. They’re essentially SAS solutions. They’ve gone to the cloud, all your work lives on the cloud and the reason that’s beneficial. And in fact, their entire business model is about having teams. So teams can all work together on the same thing and you can see what, as an example, you have these things called components, like components are the basic elements of a user interface design.

And let’s say the rounding on a corner of a button changes, and you want to trigger that all throughout your entire user interface. Well, that’s what a tool like Figma or IXD is built for. And in fact, like their charging model is very interesting. Just, a loner like me can go in and use any of these software for free. It’s only once you get into a company where you’re having shared software libraries, that they actually start charging you.

David Yakobovitch

It’s so incredible to think about that, right? I think a lot of the software, even in data science space, you know, gives community additions and education additions, and individual contributor additions for free or very affordable, especially as you’re getting started. But you’re right. That I think we’ve seen a lot of business in the enterprise space, even in the #designthinking space for data science and AI.

Enterprise is where the business is at, right? These are the businesses that drive America, drive Canada and that drive the globe and enterprises can use these tools to improve their workflows. I know a lot of the tools you’ve mentioned about the evolution of design with photos and frameworks and websites we’ve even seen that as well in the video space.

One of the ones I really enjoy is Frame. io⁸ out of New York City. And I think they do pretty much what Figma does, but for video. So you can take, video for music, videos, and webinars and podcasts, and very quickly do that workflow. Someone could be in Africa, someone could be in London and the other person’s in New York city and they’re able to collaborate. So I think you’re right. We’re seeing a disruption or this new evolving of co-editing throughout the design space.

Sam Horodezky

Yeah. And as, I mean, that’s really interesting. I’d never heard of that product, but I see it’s talking about, you know, approvals and feedback and that sort of thing, you know, there is just this huge proliferation of tools out there. I mentioned some of the big ones that have gotten traction, but I would expect 2 to 5 years from now, I’ll be talking about something completely different. And definitely something, you know, I’m an active Figma user. I don’t actively use IXD, but there’s no question that there’s a lot of room for improvement when it comes to collaboration in Figma.

And I think, those tools are just going to become increasingly, joined with Slack but I’m not necessarily predicting that it will specifically have Slack integrations. I’m not really sure what the best direction to go for them is, but it will just become more and more easy to talk to each other and have live collaboration.

David Yakobovitch

Now it’s super interesting when we talk about these tools in collaboration, you know, myself, I’ve always played with different tools. I talked about Premiere pro and Photoshop and Lightroom. In fact, there was one point where I was very involved in hackathons in the coding space.

I love going there as a data scientist, taking datasets and then working usually on our team, we’ll have at least 4 people, a data scientist, the software engineer, a business strategy person, and then the #UX designer front end type of individual or product designer.

And I remember a lot of the hackathons use Sketch. And as you mentioned that everything’s moving to Figma and for me, it’s almost mind blowing, like where did Sketch go wrong? Or, you know, why do you think Figma took over? Like where is that space been in an industry?

Sam Horodezky

Yeah, it was just 100% about the cloud. I mean, it’s that sketch just didn’t go to the cloud fast enough and they allowed other entrants to the market, beat them to it. And now they’re, you know, furiously backpedaling to go to the cloud. And, but that’s that story you see over and over and over again in this industry, it’s not, not specific to them. It just, happens to them and, you know, they might be able to catch up, but it seems like the momentum has left them behind.

David Yakobovitch

Yeah, I think about the cloud. I mean, that’s everything of the talk today. I mean, even whether it’s during COVID or the new normal of the world, I mean, all the major apps are on the cloud. We look at collaborative apps like Zoom and Google Hangouts that is where a lot of our conversations have been on in the last several months. These are all cloud enabled. In fact, you do not have to install zoom on your machine. You could just run it in the browser. So it’s fascinating that everything’s gone to the cloud.

That’s been the big disruptor, but it’s not the only disruptor. I mean, the future is happening fast. And, I love reading trends and seeing where things are going. Traditionally I follow them in data science and AI, one of my mentors and book office, I love reading out of New York, Amy Webb talks about her trends, mostly around AI and data science with generative design. But I’m curious for where do you see the future going in the design industry?

Sam Horodezky

Yeah. Well, it’s another one of these things where like, you can just barely see the kernel of it happening. You know, this is one of these things where like, if I was inclined to do a startup, you know, this is the sort of thing I might do, but so let me take a step back and talk about what is the general trend? I mentioned in terms of what, an artificial intelligence application does with respect to how it talks to humans.

Right. And I mentioned earlier, this sort of dyadic relationship. And so what I see in industry after industry is that you feed AI machine, you feed the network with tons of data and then it comes up with some solutions, but it’s not like IT comes up with the final solution that you just run with.

It’s something that is an interactive relationship with the user. So the user tweaks, it modifies, gives it more information or makes a selection. And then that goes and asks for more. And in fact, some of this, online cogeneration, where like you supposedly can generate code without actually doing the code yourself.

It’s very similar. It produces a bunch of code based on something you’ve told it. And it’s really just because it’s been, trained on thousands or millions of lines of code. So let’s look at how that trend might play out in user interface. And there’s a bit of a problem, and this is why, this is an area right for disruption or for some kind of creation because it’s very difficult to get lots of data about user behavior.

So there’s a lot of discussion about Google Analytics or you people, as soon as you talk about user behavior, people say Google Analytics, but Google Analytics is actually very basic when it comes to what actually tells you. So if you have a web page or if you have a web app that’s written in JavaScript and has a lot going on, lots of clicks and drags and drops and all sorts of complex interactivity, Google Analytics, doesn’t tell you what people are doing on the page.

All it really tells you is whether they went to the page, how long they stayed on the page. And it might have a few basic pieces of information about what you did there. So as a result, there’s an entire industry now that’s building tools and what they do is they provide analytics that are input to product managers or to user experience designers. So the first one that I ever came across is called Pendo.io, and Pendo does a lot of different things. But one of them is to provide analytics, about how users are actually using your software.

Now after having done some research for actually some work that I’m doing, I’ve, learned that there’s actually lots of other players out there. Amplitude is one of them and Indicative is another one. You know, they all do very similar things, which is you add a minor piece of code to your SAS platform, and then it gives you all this rich information about how your product is being used.

So right now, if you have a SAS application and you want to find out how people are using it in a really robust way, you actually have to buy this, you know, either build it yourself, which is a lot of work or you have to buy one of these third-party solutions. So that, what I’m saying is that the data, this massive amount of data isn’t really available. And in other, especially in the academic industry, they have like these huge libraries of faces and there’s huge libraries of other things for people that are working on.

And just driverless cars, any kind of library that you want to think of in the academic field, it exists, but there is no public library or any kind of mass library of data about how people use products. So what I think is going to start to happen is that some of these tools like Indicative or whichever that becomes successful will eventually begin to pull all their data together and put AI on top of it and actually be able to suggest user interfaces based on all the data that it’s been looking at. So that to me is the clear trend just because that’s, what’s going on in every other industry.

David Yakobovitch

You know, we’ve seen with different marketers and publishers where using this information, you’re describing whether from PendoAmplitudeIndicative, or even Google Analytics takes all this information on you. And you can get served custom Google ads or customized Facebook ads. So, you know, if you get an ad for a new Mercedes-Benz car, you might get one that’s the color blue and I might get one that’s the color red based on our preferences and search history. So I think we’re going to see a lot more of that customized experience for sure.

It sounds like we’re moving there. Another interesting area that we’re moving, that we’ve been seeing a lot in the last year and a half has been about no code and low code solutions, which I think is similar to a lot of the products that you’ve been describing here today, Sam, that some of them are, how do you just click and drag?

Or can you use different extensions, but even in the software design space, we’re seeing software, like Bubble and even Airtable and other software, that’s helping us generate software. It’s amazing to see that it’s not just design, that can be generated, but also software. I mean, what are some of the other thoughts that you have in this space?

Sam Horodezky

Yeah, I think one of the things that surprised me once I really started to look around is that it still is very immature or early. I kind of expected, you just hear soundbites on the radio all the time about like, Oh, an AI is painting or an AI is, is able to compose. And so when I hear things like that, I’m like, Oh, okay, well, we can’t be too far away from an AI being able to code, but when you actually go and dig into it, it’s still using that dyadic model that I’m talking about.

The technology is not at a point where it could literally just like go and do its own thing and come back with something super complex. There are absolutely are low code options for people who either don’t know anything about coding or who want, you know, a template to start out so that you can start modifying it.

But we’re still really far away from the day where like, we don’t need developers because an AI will be doing it. And that for me is sort of a key insight. Because I was kind of, part of the thing I was wondering is how much change is going to be needed from a designer’s point of view, to be a designer, how much change is going to be needed If you’re a software developer and people make, you know, you hear these bold claims that, we won’t really need knowledge workers, or we won’t need people who don’t need computer science majors, where we won’t need designers.

No one can predict what’s going to happen 50 to 75 years from now. But I think that I will not still be practicing user experience when the day comes that the machines can do the design for me. And similarly, I’m not sure, the day may come where machines can actually do their own programming, but I don’t think I’ll be a practitioner when that happens.

David Yakobovitch

And, the machines are slowly but surely doing their own programming. I’m generally an optimist, just like yourself, Sam. I think it’s a human and machines type of collaboration. And I’ve even dabbled with platforms like Serenade. This is similar to some of these hackathons where people today are able to use their voice to code. It’s less on the design, but more about these blocks and modulars. And, you know, this has just been a trend in last couple of years, many different programming languages, even design frameworks, like HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are able to be used. It’s not very advanced yet, but I think we’re going to be moving there over time.

Sam Horodezky

Yeah. One thing I did notice is there’s a lot of testing frameworks, so it seems like this might be a more attractable problem, but if you give these products code, then they come up with, tests for the code or they give you a big leg up on the testing. And there seems to be, I don’t have the name at the tip of my tongue of any one in particular, but, there a number of solutions where that’s kind of what they’re aiming for.

David Yakobovitch

That’s right. And I think ultimately it’s going to go back to not just generative design, but ultimately even AI systems that can create AI systems, you know, a few months ago on HumAIn, I featured Travis Dirks from San Francisco and Berkeley, where they’re working on actually generating AI systems that generate AI.

So I think we’ll get there, but that’s the little bit more Westworld, a little bit more, towards the future. Wrapping our entire conversation together around UX, around product managementhuman centered design, and what data scientists, what design thinkers, what executives can take away from this conversation today, what’s a call to action that you have for our listeners, Sam?

Sam Horodezky

Well, that’s a good question. What’s the call to action. I think that, it’s, clear that designers who are just doing relatively those activities, that their future is limited and it’s not clear how long that’s gonna last.

Like, so if you look at Amazon Go. Amazon Go has gone absolutely from out of nowhere to this place where you can clearly see that if you’re someone who works at cash register, like your job is under serious threat, like 10 years from now, it simply may not exist. And we can’t predict how fast it’s going to go, but it’s going to go at some rate and it’s going to be pretty quickly.

So there’s literally probably 10 million people in the U S who are going to be out of a job. So I think in terms of call to action, for people who all they’re doing is taking one thing and moving it to another set of colors or a different font, or basically doing some of that sort of unpleasant work, that I was talking about, I do think that’s going to be mechanized, you know, within 10 years. And so those people need to up-level their skills, so that they’re doing something more complex that a computer can’t do today and may not be able to do for some time.

David Yakobovitch

You know, and I think, as we’re tying this together, even thinking of upskilling and reskilling, all the software mentioned today. If you want to learn Photoshop, you want to learn Sketch, you want to learn Figma, I mean, there’s so much available resources online, or even with individuals like yourself, Sam, that can take people to the next level.

You know, myself again, as a data scientist I’ve been playing around with Figma on LinkedIn learning, just like playing around, seeing how I can learn the tool. And it’s so seamless. It’s amazing to see that it’s easier than Sketch.

Sam Horodezky

Yeah. Well, that’s what the trend of the cloud has brought us. And that trend that we were talking about earlier, also about everything going enterprise, is that just you and me, Joe blow can actually get access to all of this software. So I’ve mentioned before InVision is another really big one because it’s used a lot for prototyping.

InVision Is purchased for the enterprise, but it’s not purchased and for an individual it’s free. So, all these tools that I’m talking about and including all the millions of competitors that are trying to come out there, you and I can just go there and use it to our heart’s content and, they’ll only get money out of us once we start a company.

David Yakobovitch

Well, Sam, thank you so much for being with us on the HumAIn Podcast. Sam Horodezky, founder of Strathearn Design.

Sam Horodezky

Thanks a lot for having me. It was a really interesting conversation.

David Yakobovitch

Thank you for listening to this episode of the HumAIn Podcast. What do you think? Did the show measure up to your thoughts on artificial intelligence, data science, future of work and developer education? Listeners, I want to hear from you so that I can offer you the most relevant trend setting and educational content on the market.

You can reach me directly by email at david@yakobovitch.com. Remember to share this episode with a friend, subscribe and leave a review on your preferred podcast app and tune into more episodes of HumAIn.

Works Cited

¹Sam Horodezky

Companies Cited

²Strathearn Design³WixSquarespaceAutodeskLookaPendo.ioFrame. io