The Future of Technology
As I’ve been reflecting on all the technologies we talked about during this course, I keep coming back to an article I read, The State of UX in 2019. It’s a pretty long article that gives an overview of what the UX Collective thinks UX will look like over the next year. They put out this report every year and it is “a holistic analysis of UX Design as a discipline: the tools we use, the methods we apply every day, the technologies we design around, the career challenges we experience, and how our community is responsible for what’s happening in the world around us — the one that we, consciously or not, have helped design.”
The report is very interesting and gives good insight into what UX design looks like right now as an industry and how it’s changing. The thing I keep thinking about, thought, is a section called Technology. Each year new technology is highlighted as technology that will be prominent to UX and the overall future of tech. We covered many of the past technologies in ENP-162, including artificial intelligence, chatbots, the internet of things, and augmented reality. But this year, for 2019, there is no technology. I thought this was really interesting and a little peculiar because there’s always something happening. The authors go on to speculate that it might be because there hasn’t been a game changer technology created this year, or we’ve been focusing on other things but the real reason, they say, is that as designers and technologists we have not mastered the existing technology yet.
If you look back at the topics we were all obsessed with over the past 3 years, not one of those technologies has been fully mastered. The internet of things has only seen a few reasonable use cases go mainstream. Chatbots continue to fail except when used for completing very specific tasks. AI has just now started to be noticeably incorporated into products we use every day — but still, only a handful of companies are applying it to mainstream products and if you don’t work for those companies, chances are strong that you are more of a spectator than an agent of change.
I think this paragraph stuck with me so much because we’ve touched all these technologies in class. We’ve talked about future humans and fully automated kitchens, but it’s also important to keep perspective and remember while all this is shiny and new, it’s still very inconsistent and untested and we still have a long way to go.