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Designing inclusive systems

"AI" is here to stay as a participant in our society. Language and communication should be designed with a focus on equality between all participants. This is not the case. Current communication prioritizes technology and AI.

There is an abundance of bar-codes, QR codes and RF-ID tags all around us. These facilitate communication between devices leaving out human participants causing dependency on technology to bridge the gap.

An antenna bent in the form of an image or word illustrates the idea that a message can be send both as an electromagnetic wave but also visually. In other words, the same message travels on two wave lengths, providing redundancy.

We need to develop means of communication that focuses on continuing direct human access without dependency on technology.

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Alternative ideas for digital search

When down scaling images you will loose details, however the context is maintained. This is an alternative way of reducing data.

It is quite the opposite of how most systems deal with data. Digital systems give details without the context and without the full picture. Its like giving a puzzle piece with exactly the data you asked for but without information about the rest of the puzzle.

Human-centric systems could apply the concept of "down scaling images" to search results.

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The digital way to deal with data

Digital simplification gives a skewed and distorted view of reality. The end result is not representative for the total data. You don't know what you don't know. It is the result of an idea that we cannot deal with big data. Therefore we have no access to source data.

Science and technology have turned into religion. Trust the science, experts and AI while there is no accountability. With the digital transformation this will become the new norm.

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Out of the loop

Many automated systems make use of cards with an RFID chip that we carry around but do not give us feedback. For this, you need an additional electronic device that reads these cards. It makes us depend on systems we do not own, and have to adapt to rules enforced by AI. This is all part of the new normal we are sliding into.

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Visual interactive data representations

KartOO was a meta search engine which displayed a visual interface. It operated from 2001 to early 2010.

Search results were presented as a "map", with blob-like masses of varying color connecting each item. On rollover of an individual result a bunch of red lines connected related links. Every "blob" clicked added another word to the search query. The map would presented keywords or subtopics that defined the topic one was searching on, very much like an interactive spider diagram. (from: Wikipedia)

Visual interactive representations can represent information better than ordered list.

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You don't know what you don't know

"When you use Google, do you get more than one answer? Of course you do. Well, that’s a bug. We have more bugs per second in the world. We should be able to give you the right answer just once. We should know what you meant. You should look for information. We should get it exactly right and we should give it to you in your language and we should never be wrong. That’s our challenge." - Charlie Rose interview with Google chairman Eric Schmidt in 2005.

The above is a single concept and design philosophy out of many. It is an important one applied by many companies. Whether Google gets it right or not, end-users will never know what they didn't get. While Google collects an unlimited amount of data, the feedback is simplified and filtered by AI.

The idea behind this is that people cannot deal with large amounts of data. This is not true. People can deal with huge amounts of data if it is interactive and visually appealing.

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Old vs new

System designers find it hard to provide feedback the same way as paper-based systems did. Solution? They stopped giving feedback altogether. Instead of a printed ticket full of data, we now got reusable plastic cards with no information on the trip printed. That is a step backward no matter the amount of marketing and propaganda tricking us into believing the opposite.

Tourists kept tickets as souvenirs for trips they made, no more.

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Digital vs analog

We pretend modern systems are better than the systems we had. Often this is not true. Digital systems filter data and remove options and details readily available in analog system. Digital systems present users with AI filtered and manipulated data, removing context.

Digital systems concentrate information in the hands of the owners while removing users from the feedback loop.

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The digital transformation

I started programming in the nineties with DBASE IV. Concept wise, little has changed. Current software is based on the same structures, objectives and logic as in those days, inheriting the same problems.

The digital transformation pretends to replace analog systems with digital ones that are supposedly better. They are not. Most systems are focused on achieving effectiveness and efficiency which is better for the owners while users lose their ability to influence and control the outcome of the processes they depend on.

The antidote is to find ways to re-introduce inclusive, human-centric analog ideas into the new systems.

OhGoOn friendica

looking for solutions

It seems that many of the alternative media is just focusing on problems. That is not good. We need to focus on solutions or on removing the problems. Without solutions we are just complaining.

I will dedicate the next few months in building a solution addressing one single problem. I will first describe the problem, then describe the solution and build it. I will outline the steps and progress in here on the go.
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