AI and UI design.

22 Apr 2004 - 7:01pm
10 years ago
1 reply
828 reads
Andy Watson
2004

Hi folks,

I've recently been taking a look at artificial intelligence as a bit of a
hobby. The area that I am interested in is breaking down the human brain
into a series of basic components that can be modelled as a piece of
discrete hardware (to perform the basic functionality) such as a dsp and a
series of objects (OO software dev. is my background) to perform the
additional intelligence.

I've recently come across the recent discovery of Mirror Neurons that raises
some interesting questions to do with interaction design. For those that
don't know what these are, I've been told that the discovery of Mirror
Neurons (in the last 5 or so years) is to psychology as to what the
discovery of DNA was to genetics. It seems to me that when a person
performs an action, their Mirror Neurons fire in a specific pattern.
However, the big thing is that anyone who observes that action also has
their mirror neurons fire in the same pattern at the same time.

What this kind of means to me, is that if I observe you, then I will
experience everything that you do at the same time. For example, if you eat
a chocolate bar, then I will experience the same emotions and feelings you
do (although since my taste buds are not being triggered, I wont get the
actual taste, I will however experience the effect of the taste).

Its a bit of a heavy topic that one and there is plenty of info appearing on
the web. But I was wondering, do the mirror neurons also trigger when you
observe something that was written or designed by someone else. That is, if
I see an image on a TV screen or perhaps read a page from a book, will my
mirror neurons trigger in the same way as the person who is sitting next to
me and also sees the image on the TV or reads the same book. I know that my
sub-concious will be observing the person sitting next to me and my mirror
neurons will be firing in a similar way because of this, but perhaps if
there is a barrier in between so that effect can be taken out.

I'm thinking that when we design a device or an application we build it in
such a way as that our mirror neurons will fire in a pattern that is
pleasant to us. That is the emotional experience we gain is a good one. It
seems to me that if a group of individuals with a similar memory pattern
(cultural experiences) observe that device, then they will gain the same
emotional experience. Likewise, those that have a different memory pattern
(cultural experience) may observe the device and have their mirror neurons
triggered in the same way, but the translated meaning (experience) would be
different due to their differing culture (the same pattern recalls a
different emotion).

If this is true, then it seems to me that the art of designing something is
to place it in the context of the culture that it is being created for in
such a way that it develops pleasant emotions. This would mean that if you
are designing for a different culture (that you may not understand
completely), you can either make it generic enough so that it generates
neutral emotions, or you can add extra design features so as to teach the
foreign individual aspects about your own culture that are pleasant.

Has anyone else done any research into the effect on Mirror Neurons with
regard to inanimate objects. It seems to me most of it is currently being
done on people interaction.

Andy

---
Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free.
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com).
Version: 6.0.656 / Virus Database: 421 - Release Date: 9/04/2004

-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: winmail.dat
Type: application/ms-tnef
Size: 3388 bytes
Desc: not available
Url : http://listserver.dreamhost.com/pipermail/discuss-interactiondesigners.com/attachments/20040423/e0185d93/winmail.bin

Comments

23 Apr 2004 - 1:25am
id at ourbrisba...
2004

Quoting Andy Watson <awatson at attglobal.net>:
> Has anyone else done any research into the effect on Mirror Neurons with
> regard to inanimate objects. It seems to me most of it is currently being
> done on people interaction.

Now that's another interesting take on design - looking at the more granular,
neurophysiological reactions...

There's been quite a bit of research done recently that explains what I think
you may be driving at, but at a higher level of abstraction (systems and
process, rather than neurophysiological actions and cause). Norman, Ortony &
Revelle have (based on the work of Sloman -
http://www.cs.bham.ac.uk/research/cogaff/sloman.vienna99.pdf ) divided the brain
into three basic systems: The visceral; The behavioural; and The reflective (or
Rfelection; Routine; Reaction -
http://www.research.ibm.com/journal/sj/421/norman.pdf ).

The first half of Norman's latest book, "Emotional Design" explains the recent
theories on this division of systems within the brain quite eloquently. For a
precis, have a read of:
http://www.jnd.org/dn.mss/EDesign-PeopleThings.html

> If this is true, then it seems to me that the art of designing something is
> to place it in the context of the culture that it is being created for in
> such a way that it develops pleasant emotions.

"It depends."

Something that I don't think is explored in the abovementioned essays is the
fact that not all affect should be positive (creating positive emotions) when we
design artefacts. Sometimes negative affect can be useful. Calculating correct
intervals of negative affect are necessary for designing systems that require
certain levels of diligence (such as airport security, air traffic control,
medical or defense monitoring systems).

I hope this helps.

Best regards,

Ash Donaldson
"It depends."
User Experience Designer

Syndicate content Get the feed