Chris Noessel

Author and Designer


Chris Noessel

About Chris Noessel

Chris is a Senior Designer for Watson Customer Engagement with IBM. He teaches, speaks about, and evangelizes design internationally. His spidey-sense goes off semi-randomly, leading him to investigate and speak about a range of things from interactive narrative to ethnographic user research, interaction design to generative randomness, and designing for the future. He is co-author of Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons from Science Fiction (Rosenfeld Media, 2012), co-author of About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design, 4th Edition (Wiley, 2015), keeper of the blog, and author of Designing Agentive Technology: AI That Works for People (Rosenfeld Media, 2017). He is also on the advisory board of the ASU-OTI AI Policy Futures initiative. He is currently contemplating books about meaning machines and interfaces that improve their users.


Designing Agentive Technology

Think of a hammer. Think of a steam shovel. Think of a computer. Each of these is a tool a person can use to get things done. But using a tool isn’t the only way to do things. In the age of narrow artificial intelligence, we can hand things off to an agent and have it do the thing. Designing a tool for you to use is really different than designing the AI that does the work for you. And if you only know how to design hammers, or even just computers, well, you’re behind. Come hear Chris Noessel introduce these new kinds of technologies, discuss what they can mean for your users, and share the models by which you can design for them. Catch up…to agentive tech.


Designing for AI-Human Centaurs: Who is Doing the Work?

The foundational question for designing AI systems is: Who is doing the work? The human with help from the AI? Or the AI with help from the human? Once designers understand and become familiar with the differences of these modes of interaction, they can more confidently design modern systems that take advantage of AI APIs. Noessel literally wrote the book on Agentive Tech last year, and is working on the follow-up book about assistant tech. 

In this workshop participants gather into design pairs. Then short lectures explain the core concepts and start the creative ideas flowing, followed by integration exercises where participants put these ideas into action. Each team refines ideas across the afternoon, integrating these modes into a cohesive whole. Time allowing, teams are asked to volunteer to present the key ideas from their designs.