We are in the AI-Enabled Experiences era

More and more, AI will act on our behalf: here's what AI-Enabled Experiences are, how they are changing how we live, and what the advantages are for businesses.

Davide Zane, Matteo Polato
Business Development Director, Associate Design Director

14.05.2024 - 7 minutes read

Until now, we have mainly discussed how AI is used in design and innovation processes, as we started from the context closest to us, but in reality, we should look at the issue from a perspective beyond our everyday lives.

As time passes, our conviction only strengthens; AI is changing our relationship with technology forever. This change is inevitable and represents a paradigm shift, the effects of which are still to be fully defined.

A necessary premise: AI is not a recent phenomenon; however, the technologies have only now reached a level of maturity and diffusion that allow them to have tangible impacts on people's lives. What is certain is that, at least in the part of the world where we live, millions of people will experience completely new experiences, mediated and enabled by Artificial Intelligence.

The Three Pillars on Which AI-Enabled Experiences Are Based

We are entering the era of AI-Enabled Experiences, whose main feature is a certain degree of independence of AI agents, which will be able to manage modes of interaction, anticipate our needs, and perform actions on our behalf, coordinating among themselves without our direct control throughout the process.

This kind of experience is possible thanks to three coexisting elements:

  • Agentive Technologies: these are advanced software designed to operate autonomously by sensing the context to perform complex tasks and achieve user goals. These technologies autonomously manage interactions between multiple people or systems, operating in synchronous or asynchronous modes, to execute actions as user delegates.
  • Proactive Models: proactive Artificial Intelligence models are an advanced class of Machine Learning systems that do not just react to predefined inputs or commands, but take the initiative, acting autonomously. These systems actively learn from the environment, predict future events, and base their decisions on such predictions, performing targeted actions without the need for explicit delegation, displaying a level of autonomy and anticipation beyond the capabilities of traditional AIs. Over time, they automatically identify aspects relevant to the user, based on the context, anticipating their needs.
  • Adaptive User Interfaces (AUI): AUIs proactively adapt, personalising content based on context, user actions, and external agents to provide unique and relevant responses. They adapt in real-time to users' needs, modifying the appearance and availability of functions based on various factors of customisation, adaptation, and feedback.

These three elements enable the creation of new experiences. AI agents enable completely new modes of interaction and thus become an extension of the individual, autonomously performing complex or repetitive tasks for them.

What will the next generation of AI-Enabled services look like?

In the past year, we have tried to understand how these technologies could come together to create Next Generation Services, and in doing so, we have focused on rationales on which to base the construction of a series of concepts.

The spread of these technologies will greatly influence people's daily lives, in every aspect of their lives, from the work sphere to the home, from mobility to relationships with people.

Smart appliances and home assistants will certainly meet immediate needs, but sometimes, they will also anticipate them, efficiently managing energy, maintenance, and security. This will mean living in smarter homes that actively adapt to the lives of their inhabitants, improving quality of life and reducing energy consumption.

AI agents will revolutionize how we manage our health, even at home, thanks to the relationship with virtual health assistants, who will be able to monitor vital parameters and predict potential crises or emergencies, suggesting timely and even preventative interventions.

The selection of household utilities will also undergo a significant transformation thanks to artificial intelligence. Through continuous analysis of the market, user behaviour, and preferences, they will suggest service providers that meet current needs while also aligning with their values and long-term goals, thus ensuring their loyalty in an increasingly saturated market.

In retail, the adoption of agentive technologies will radically transform the way we shop. The homepages of e-commerce apps, for example, will no longer be static but will dynamically adapt to the preferences and purchasing behaviours of individual users. Imagine opening an app and being faced with a personalised showcase that reflects your past preferences and even anticipates your future desires thanks to advanced predictive models.

The result is an exponential enhancement in the personalization and recommendation of products, extending to the offer of contextual promotions and tailor-made discounts in real-time, optimizing the shopping experience to maximize both user satisfaction and commercial effectiveness.

Every interaction with the app or website will result in anticipating the user's moves, dynamically adapting the form and functions of the interface to present the most convenient option at that moment.

AI agents will impact not only the experiences of customers and end-users but also the day-by-day lives of professionals, who will adopt them as an essential tool to improve their productivity.

In sales, AI will identify the most strategic selling opportunities and suggest effective techniques for presenting and selling products to customers. This also supports human interactions, for example, by enriching a discussion with real-time access to relevant data and documents, and facilitating more informed and targeted communication. AI will become a pillar for strengthening relationships with customers and increasing the effectiveness of commercial strategies.

How to design AI-Enabled Experiences?

The proliferation of AI agents represents a paradigm shift, enabling entirely new experiences, including in design. Beyond the availability of new AI tools for designers, the very nature of these new interactions is redefining the approach to user experience.

To design AI-Enabled Experiences, we start with an in-depth analysis of the current customer journey, identifying where to effectively integrate agentive interactions. Based on this analysis, we create concepts and scenarios to make the ideal experience tangible and identify the technological requirements that allow us to transform the user's passive needs into active goals that AI must learn to achieve.

Finally, we define the elements and boundaries within which AI can operate, designing a Total Design System. This design system ensures consistency across different digital touchpoints and defines a comprehensive design language that considers every aspect determining the experience: from language to behavior to personality.

The result is a multimodal interface that the AI agent can assemble in real-time, dynamically responding to the needs of the context and moment.

In this context, the designer assumes the role of defining the operational boundaries and goals of the AI. Once the product or service is active, the AI will autonomously continue the work, using the design system elements to create experiences that evolve with the user.

We are at a crucial moment for the future of experience design. As our role as designers shifts to instructing AI, defining user relationships, operational boundaries, and decision-making capabilities, ultimately, it is the AI agent that will shape the UX.

Why is it essential to invest in AI-Enabled Experiences?

This wave of innovation is so powerful and widespread that it promises to reshape the very fabric of our existence, from the complexities of global supply chains to the details of everyday habits, from the corridors of power in global politics to the unspoken norms that govern our social interactions.

The advent of these transformation processes is not a matter of "if" but "when." AI has the potential to self-improve and learn; this evolution could also accelerate suddenly, bringing profound impacts in markets across all industries. 

Table showing the impact that the different trends will have in the different industries

This material is adapted from original work copyrighted by Future Today Institute and licensed under the Creative Commons 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). 

The timing is therefore crucial, and companies have two huge advantages to bring to the table: the data they possess and the deep knowledge of their own domain.

They must capitalise on these to instruct their technologies and offer experiences capable of dialogue in the near future, with the AI of big tech to the greater advantage of users and their businesses. To elevate the value of services, it is crucial to act to integrate AI technologies, maximising their data strategically, and opening channels to interact with incoming AI agents.

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