Christopher Noessel (US)

IBM Watson Design Lead

Talk: Catch Up to Agentive Tech: AI with Chris

On stage:

Think of a hammer. Think of a steam shovel. Think of a computer. Each of these is a tool a person can use to get things done. But using a tool isn’t the only way to do things. In the age of narrow artificial intelligence, we can hand things off to an agent and have it do the thing. Designing a tool for you to use is really different than designing the AI that does the work for you. And if you only know how to design hammers, or even just computers, well, you’re behind. Come hear Chris Noessel introduce these new kinds of technologies, discuss what they can mean for your users, and share the models by which you can design for them. Catch up…to agentive tech.


Chris is a veteran of the interaction design industry, having designed products, crafted services, and helped clients with design strategy across many disparate domains for more than 20 years. In that time, he co-founded a small interaction design agency where he developed interactive exhibitions and environments for museums. He worked as a director of information design at international Web consultancy marchFIRST, where he also helped establish the interaction design Center of Excellence. For ten years, he worked with a boutique interaction design agency in San Francisco, where he led the “generator” half of that practice. He is now one of the Lead Designers for Watson Customer Engagement at IBM.

Christopher has written for online publications for many years, but was first published in print as co-author of the interaction design pattern chapter in the textbook edited by Simson Garfinkel, RFID: Applications, Security, and Privacy. His Spidey sense goes off at random topics, and this has led him to speak at conferences around the world about a wide range of things, including interactive narrative, ethnographic user research, interaction design, sex-related interactive technologies, free-range learning, the future of tech, and the relationship between science fiction and interface design with the 2012 Rosenfeld Media book Make It So: Interaction Design Lessons from Science Fiction, coauthored with Nathan Shedroff. He is keeper of the blog and runs related sci-fi movie nights all over the world. In 2014 he co-authored the 4th Edition of About Face: The Essentials of Interaction Design, helping modernize it for the six years that had passed since its prior release. His most recent book, ”Designing Agentive Technology: AI That Works for People”, describes the newest mode of interaction made possible by artificial intelligence.


(sold out)

Designing for AI

Christopher Noessel

Thursday, 02 May, 09:00 – 16:00

The fundamental question for designing AI systems is: Who is doing the work? Do the humans get help from the AI, or is it the other way around, that the AI performs the work with the occasional assistance from humans? Once designers understand and become familiar with the three modes of interaction; Manual, Assistive and Agentive, they can more confidently design modern systems that take advantage of AI APIs. In this workshop, Chris Noessel will guide you through designing for multiple modes of AI—Assistive and Agentive—and integrate them with manual-control interfaces.