Clément Bordas

Clement Bordas

Collaborating with Machines Rather than Commanding Them:

Interaction and Interface Design for a Human-AI Collaboration Paradigm.

Progress made in artificial intelligence and machine learning is changing the way designers interact with computers. Machines are now able to transform billions of data points into insights, predictions, and knowledge without the need for traditional programming. This information- and knowledge-abundant data enables computers to be trained to act as intelligent agents and is changing the relationship we have with the computer. These new technologies open up possibilities for reinventing user interface by applying interface and interaction design principles adapted to artificial intelligence and machine learning skills and to collaborative theories.

This research investigates the design of interfaces that utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to help designers create design artifacts involving information-abundant research and dissemination. A framework, which integrates several Human-Computer Collaboration (HCC) approaches with artificial intelligence and machine learning will underpin the design of these interfaces.

These interfaces visually translate opportunities for the development of a human-AI collaboration (HAC) paradigm, informed by theories of HCC but also design thinking. In this HAC paradigm, the human and the computer collaborate and contribute to achieving shared goals while considering the strengths and weaknesses of both partners. My research methods are based around this adapted HCC framework, mapping out a range of issues and themes using user journey maps, scenarios, and storyboards, as well as the generation of visual studies and rapid prototyping.

Focusing this research specifically on the impact of artificial intelligence and machine learning upon collaborative activity, via an interface, forefronts the impact of big data upon the design process. To propose meaningful, inclusive design solutions, designers must be able to access and analyze expert data and knowledge. Machine learning techniques can enable designers to access this data and knowledge in real time and thus influence their design decisions. Ultimately, this research presents opportunities for designers to define a new relationship enabled by artificial intelligence.

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Clement Bordas

From Stem Cells to Big Ideas: An Exploration of In Vitro Meat through the Lens of Schema Studies

Consumption of meat in the United States is on the rise with projections suggesting that it will reach a record high in 2018 of 200 pounds of beef, pork, and/or chicken a year per capita. While American consumption of meat increases, people in developing nations are also consuming meat several times a week.

With sustainability issues challenging industrialized animal agriculture, in vitro meat could be a potential solution. The approach produces meat in a more humane way while still meeting demand. Researchers disagree over whether in vitro meat production is a better and more sustainable production system; however, it provides an interesting topic to explore the acceptance of an idea.

Schema studies provide an interesting framework to explore the acceptance of in vitro meat. Schema analogies make the strange familiar by introducing something that we can relate to and compare it to something we aren’t familiar with. The opposite is also true; they can make the familiar strange by using new insights and creating unrelated or unexpected connections. Schema extends the range of interaction we can have with things and allows us to engage in more dense communication and interaction.

For instance, I position in vitro meat production within the narrative realm to introduce schemas that provide information on aspects of in vitro meat production. My narrative takes place in a future era where people’s receptivity, as defined by David Rose’s Audience Receptivity Gradient, ranges from accepting ideas to becoming an advocate for the cause. What if in vitro meat production has matured to the point that it is commonplace?

I explored schemas that used science, education, tourism, cosmetics, agriculture, food conception and distribution, and design as sources of familiar artifacts to introduce the user to in vitro meat production concepts.

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Clement Bordas

Feeding The Dialogue: Understanding Food Systems Through Design

This exhibition presents the work of masters of graphic design students from North Carolina State University completed during a graduate studio course focusing on the cognitive complexities of the people involved in design systems. The course used food as a theme to inform research and design investigations. The collective body of work is part of a larger, ongoing conversation about the design of food systems. The methods used, in tandem with the resulting work, looked for methods to build awareness of new lifestyles and innovative approaches for food.

The course began with research on various food systems–vendors, shopping experiences, and distributions. Students visually mapped points of interaction, and considered experiences from various perspectives; customers, consumers, providers, distributors, and vendors.

Following general research, the focus moved to activity and schema theories. Students visually explored small interest points discovered through initial research. Explorations focused on how people within systems could be moved to shift their frame of thinking based on design. The concept of cultured, or in-vitro meat, was introduced to provide a central point of focus and exploration. Students explored how design can move an audience along a Receptivity Gradient, as theorized by David Rose, MIT Media Lab Visiting Scientist.

Through this process, students were collectively immersed in all things food, becoming pseudo-experts in a previously unfamiliar subject. By exploring the work of peers, students laid the groundwork for discussion on a variety of topics, including food allergies, culinary innovation, farming practices, manufacturing, the impact of livestock on the environment, farm waste, fast food, and culinary innovation. These discussions and conversations furthered the work, and in turn, the work furthered the discussion.

The resulting body of work is presented as an exhibition with the intention of encouraging cross-disciplinary conversation in the Experiencing Food conference space.

What’s the deal with that?

The purpose of a concept map is to ascertain and comprehend the full scope of the topic through visualization, keeping in mind larger and tangental systems and how they might influence the primary topic. Students collaborated to explore three food-related areas that explicitly involve design: food stores, food shopping, and food distribution.

Why’d they do that?

Experience mapping allows designers to capture and communicate complex interactions by illustrating a particular user’s path through an experience. Students examined the relationship between designed artifacts and the experiences of particular people (shoppers, workers, kids, etc.) by way of experience mapping, one map exploring an existing experience, the other to speculate about the ways people who negotiate such systems might gain greater agency.

How did we come to this?

Activity theory comes from the work of early twentieth-century Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky. Designers use activity theory to analyze activities as goal-oriented interactions between people and their environments, through the use of tools, both physical and psychological. Students were asked to use activity theory as a means of visualizing the progression of an object’s design based on multiple cycles of activity.

But what could it be?

Building off the anticipated and imagined changes seen in progressions of activity theory, students researched potential interactions within an existing food-related system. From this research, students identified potential design opportunities for greater user agency or information transparency. Students then designed artifacts within a system that imagined expression and experiences representing the opportunities identified.

Why am I so grossed out?

Analogies are useful in making the strange familiar (comparing something we don’t know to something we already know) and in making the familiar strange (gaining new insight on a concept we think we already know by comparing it to something seemingly unrelated). Students were asked to observe and discuss schemas used currently to represent in-vitro meat production and then design Things (artifacts, tools, information spaces, etc.) that fall somewhere on David Rose’s “Receptivity Gradient” and might motivate readers to move along the gradient.

What is meat anyway?

Students were asked to identify the schema(s) applied in Thing #1 and then applied opposite, or counter, schemas in Thing #2 in order to point out student biases and to redirect designed responses.

Will it make a good burger?

Students investigated five different, arbitrarily selected schemas applied to the same content in one artifact, such as a digital interface, public space, or booklet.

Can I subscribe to that?

After creating a collection of schemas, designers reflected on the previous study and evolved one of the schemas to create a new artifact, tool, or space that informs specific people on the topic.

But really, what is taste?

Students were asked to reflect on and explore their previous schema further, as many of the things created were clichés or parodies. Students were tasked with creating demonstrations of informed schema applications as a means of realizing its potential communicative power.

Authorship: Clément Bordas, Grace Anne Foca, Mac Hill, Amber Ingram, Bree McMahon, Dajana Nedić, Rachael Paine.

Clement Bordas

How can designers partner with AI to empower their leading position in the creative design process?

Machines began to replace humans in the first industrial revolution. In the decades coming, according to Wired founder Kevin Kelly, we should expect a second industrial revolution (Kelly, 2016). Artificial intelligence will undergird this new revolution in which a “cognification” of our environment will create more intuitive interactions between people and their environments.

In my review of the literature, it is obvious that artificial intelligence (AI) will replace many jobs, but I also found literature suggesting new roles for humans alongside AI. What will these new roles entail? What will this partnership mean for the workers and their daily activities? This study will consider the use of AI in the context of the creative design process as a way to complement designers rather than replace them.

Artificial Intelligence or AI “refers to non-sentient intelligence that can deliver complex tasks previously performed by people” (Fisher, 2015). The market increasingly recognizes the potential of AI.. In addition, AI is growing in its applications where many approaches live together such as the idea of enhancing the human brain by implementing technology, or also, ideas involving the development of machine learning. I focus this research on the latter.

Machine learning is a type of AI through which computers learn without the need of being programmed. Computer programs learn by analyzing and interpreting data which can be recognized by an AI without the need for specifications. A key purpose of machine learning and AI is automation. In an era focused on productivity, automation is appealing.

AI in a Human World – SWOT

I investigated some existing machine learning applications available for designers to use in their creative process. I built a SWOT analysis to consider AI technology in our current design production process.

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Clement Bordas

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics: Student Graduate, Storm Ensue

× North Carolina State University Graduation Rates (1999–2016)

× Storm Events Database—Wake County (1999–2016)

I started the project by picking two unrelated datasets. The first one was the North Carolina State University Graduate Rate dataset. The second dataset was the Storm Events Database of Wake County. Both datasets overlapped the time period of 1999 to 2016.

I chose each of these datasets with certain interests in mind. The rationale for my choice of the graduation database came from the fact that our final visualizations are being displayed in one of the student libraries at North Carolina State University—Hunt Library. I chose the storms events database as I became interested in this subject upon my arrival in the United States where I was introduced to new kinds of storms, such as tornadoes.

I started the project by analyzing the data to gain a global overview of its content. After cleaning and inspecting the data, I created simple line graphs. This allowed me to be able to consider the data in a visual way to identify correlations. After comparing the graphs, I was unable to find a direct statistical correlation, but I did discover a strong correlation within the general trends. I started to compare the graduation rate trend with the frequency of storm events on an annual basis. In years where the graduation rate was higher than the trend, the occurrence of storm events was higher as well. For instance, 71% of lightning events in Wake County occurred in years when the graduation rate was above trend, and 69.2% of the storms events happened in those same high trends years.

Students Graduate, Storms Ensue is the title of the data visualization system I created from the correlation found in the two random data sets. This title came from turning the correlation into a lie of causation where graduation rate directly impacts the frequency of storm events. The higher the graduation rate, the higher the occurrence of storm events. In addition, the data showed that more students enroll every year and students graduate faster; the 5-to-6-year graduation rate is decreasing while the 4-year graduation rate is on the rise.

After having defined my lie and refined my story around the correlation of these two datasets, I started to design a range of graphical visualizations. For clarity, I decided to compose a dashboard to present the information using different approaches. The idea of the dashboard, the scattered data visualizations and the circular diagram came from typical scientific weather visualizations, such as polar coordinate graphs and vortex-like 3D models. The complexity of the dashboard implemented multiple components, further reinforcing the lie through adding complexity to the data and suggesting scientific truth.

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Clement Bordas

Design- and Data-Minded Visualizations

On February 20th, our Master of Graphic Design 1st Year group attended a workshop led by Deborah Littlejohn, associate professor of graphic design and Walt Gurley, the Visualization and Digital Media Librarian at the NCSU Libraries, along with the presence of Matthew Peterson, assistant professor of graphic design.

In addition to our group of students, other researchers and Ph.D. students from different disciplines participated in this workshop. Discussions took place around examples of data visualization pieces created by participants of the workshop. Through those discussions, we tried to understand the meaning of data presented as well as any drowning conclusion of this visualization. What does the creator want us to get from this visualization?

In some cases, comparing the creators’ intentions and the visual outcomes were surprisingly different and showing different stories.

This workshop suggested the question of legibility and how we can improve the legibility of data using visualization techniques. How do we adjust the visualization depending on the audiences we are talking to? How do we speak to professionals of the field versus how we speak to the public? What level of information is the most adaptable for specific audiences?

Through the different talks, we also got a sense of how the standardization of the format of scientific publication is limiting the choice for a scientist to think outside of the box and come up with more interesting and visually expressive data presentations.

We can then ask ourselves: how do scientists and graphic designers work together to use the strengths of both fields and improve data visualization across disciplines? Scientists helping designers, keeping the truth of data, and designers helping with the improvement of legibility and access to the data.

The question of accuracy and truth is important as through our project we saw how easy it is to use data in a way that it creates a totally different story. Lying done accidentally is relevant to the lack of accuracy and knowledge in the treatment of the data; while done intentionally, it shows how easy it is to manipulate data.

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Gender and Advertisements

The design research methods studied in our seminar “Graphic Design as a Cognitive Artifact” is an important asset when doing research. Looking at the representations of genders in business to consumer advertising, I was able to apply those methods to get more in-depth insight over the topic but also helped design a proposal for a possible research over the topic.

Within recent debates questioning genders, issues remain within the portraying of some genders and their relation to others I thought it was interesting to look at how those genders are portrayed and if and how all genders are equally represented.

Gender definition is often defined as the sex at birth; supposedly either male or female. This binary definition starting at birth remains today in all steps and phases of life. These definitions affect choosing your clothes, going to the bathroom, grocery shopping, pursuing sports, and at the workplace. This script has been visible in history and has defined genders’ place.

While today, society starts to open its eyes to the diversity of gender, the scripture is still very anchored in the binary context of heteronormativity. How can design as a socio-cultural act help to better integrate gender diversity in our current society?

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