Opti-Pessimism: Design, AI, and our Uncertain Future

Slide title: "Opti-pessimism turns edge cases into safety and success." Two equations are shown in icon form. The first: Elephant plus dung = run. The second: Elephant plus dung plus curiosity = ideas. The Ideaplatz logo is visible at the bottom of the slide.

This keynote talk inspires developers, designers, and product managers alike with a mental model for coping with the increased risk that comes with greater impact.

In the world of technology product design, we were trained to focus on the most common customer experiences. Edge cases were to be minimized as we devoted our attention to the most common experiences. But this best practice was built upon the assumption that the least common experiences can’t cause lasting harm.

As we work with increased scale (thanks to the proliferation of devices into our lives) and increased uncertainty (thanks to newer, more powerful AI), this assumption is no longer valid. How do we reframe our design process to adapt to this new world?

In this talk, Cheryl draws from her personal and professional experience working with large-scale, high-impact situations – from the Sims to Cortana, Azure, Alexa, and beyond – and shares the concept of “opti-pessimism” she’s used to cope with design at that level.  You’ll walk away with four concrete steps to apply when approaching your biggest challenges… and a deeper appreciation for elephant dung.

The Basics

  • Length: 50 minutes
  • Topic: Design ethics
  • Content scope: Practical / Apply Immediately
  • Audience: Web developers, product managers, UX designers, UX researchers
  • Bonus: Narrative theme (Personal travel story)

As seen at…

Related Material

Cheryl Platz delivers the first version of her Opti-Pessimism talk at DEVit 360 2018 in Thessaloniki, Greece.