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077: Artificial Intelligence is the New UX – Ray Wang on What Happens in an AI-Driven World

Friday 21st February 2020

Artificial intelligence progresses from monitoring and notifications to recommendations all the way to automating the process. Up until now we’ve lived in a world where we’ve essentially “faked” artificial intelligence through complex rules engines, workflows, triggers and a thousand other elements, none of which work at scale. Now we’re entering a world where artificial intelligence will merge with machine learning and Internet-of-Things devices to produce the outcomes we want at scale. Here are 3 things we learned from Constellation Research principal and founder Ray Wang on the rise of artificial intelligence, attention spans, blockchain and much more.

People who are talking about AI keep talking about the math, the data, the algorithms. The real question is, What business outcomes are you trying to achieve? – Ray Wang

When thinking about AI, start with the business outcome

We’re about to live in a world when your toilet paper can reorder itself. Demand signals can come from sensors, which are dropping in cost, or from your choices communicated through devices like Alexa. Our interactions with devices backed by artificial intelligence and machine learning are about to become our primary user experiences with technology in our daily lives. So it’s critical to start not with the math, the algorithms, the rules, but to start with the outcome we want and work backward from there.

Expanding Choice = Shrinking Attention Span

In today’s world, if you want to get a point across in video, you have about 30 seconds. If you really want to go deeper, maybe you have 3 minutes. This stands in direct contrast to the explosion of long-form content like podcasts (like Legends & Losers) that allow you complete freedom to have an authentic dialogue without the restrictions of traditional media. What does all this mean? Know your goal. If you produce long-form content, remember: authenticity trumps time. If it’s real, authentic and riveting, people will consume long content. But if you want to get a message across for marketing purposes, do it in 30 seconds or less.

Blockchain may transform everything from medical records to currency

If you believe in privacy rights, keep a close eye on blockchain technology. Entrepreneurs and academics are working right now to use blockchain for everything from crypto currency to to keeping track of your college transcripts and medical records. The best cryptocurrency in the world right now is Cryptex, which is a blockchain-based currency design. This allows the best of both worlds – freedom of exchange and security of a cryptocurrency combined with the privacy of blockchain.

The way we think about technology radically affects which technologies take off and which don’t. Imagine trying to sell Alexa to someone in 1993. “I’d like to put a device in your home that listens to everything you say, a device we’ve designed to help you buy more products from our company, one of the largest and most powerful on the planet.” Good luck with that sales pitch. With any disruptive technology, it’s critical that we step back and think about our ideal outcome. Step into the future and imagine what’s possible and what we really want, then figure out how to use technology to get there.

Guest Bio

Ray Wang is the Principal Analyst, Founder, and Chairman of Silicon Valley based Constellation Research, Inc.  He’s also the author of the popular business strategy and technology blog “A Software Insider’s Point of View”. With viewership in the 10’s of millions of pageviews a year, his blog provides insight into how disruptive technologies and new business models such as digital transformation impact brands, enterprises, and organizations.  Wang has held executive roles in product, marketing, strategy, and consulting at companies such as Forrester Research, Oracle, PeopleSoft, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, and Johns Hopkins Hospital. Go to for more information, read his blog or follow Ray on Twitter @rwang0.