If there is one thing I know, it is that my knowledge of technological advancements doesn’t even scratch the surface of the amount there is to learn on the subject. Whether it’s recognized or not, technology is advancing exponentially and changing lives every single day. I also know that the latest “up”date is already “out-of”date by the time I learn the ropes of it. In the world of a digital designer it is sometimes hard to keep up with the latest and greatest updates especially when it comes to digital software. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to attend Adobe Max – Adobe’s Creative Conference, that showcases all of the newest Adobe software updates and digital advancements as well as insights to the future of technology. Adobe is one of the most powerful software systems and has been a forerunner of innovation in the creative and digital space. Every year Adobe holds their Creativity Conference to release software updates, hold software workshops, put on digital boot camps, invite keynote speakers to share their stories, and house creative and tech companies so they can show off their latest-and-greatest gadgets for one to experiment with in-person. Not to mention, Adobe Max gives you the opportunity to meet 14,000 other creatives from around the world, talk about networking.
So fear no more, I will get you up to speed on just a few things I learned from this conference and hopefully expand your knowledge on the progress of technology today.
Voice Prototypes and Speech Playback in XD
During the conference, it was made aware that voice and speech playback will become one of the most common additions to working with technology in everyday life. Adobe estimated that the Amazon Echo, Amazon’s voice controlled smart speaker, will be in almost every household by 2022. This is because voice-based platforms move people away from using their fingers to search for content, to using something much more automatic and natural, voice. Because of this, Adobe incorporated the power of voice into Adobe XD, an application that builds digital prototypes. This means that XD will now include voice commands and speech playback for prototyping in an easy-to-use way. Let’s say you were designing an app for your phone in XD. You now are able to link voice commands to specific sections of the app, so you can tell the app what page to take you to next. That way when you go to preview the prototype on your phone, you can open the app with voice commands and tell the app to navigate to a particular section of the site all while intelligently connecting your commands into action. Pretty cool right?
Adobe XD Prototype Example
Augmented Reality and Project Aero
Augmented Reality is already relatively well-known and is being utilized by a wide range of companies and individuals. Every Pokemon-Go player out there has experienced the technology of augmented reality. But for those who need a refresher, AR is “a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, providing a composite view.” AR has been used for creatives to express beautiful 3D pieces of art, but is also expanding to the consumerist market, by changing the way consumers experience brands and products. Nike is using AR to let their customers design their own custom shoes in an interactive environment for optimum viewing. Similarly, at Adobe Max, Adidas displayed their new sneaker line on stage through the use of AR. They showed how to customize the product and included an expanded shoe model showcasing every layer, accompanied by a description of the product hovering in space next to the shoe. Adobe has claimed that within the next year, 1-billion phones will be AR-enabled, pushing both business and consumers into a world of immersive media – the next big disruptive platform, as they say. Through Project Aero, Adobe is going to make AR easily accessible for everyone through the integration of current Adobe applications we already know and love. With the launch of this application, essentially everyone will be able to easily create their own realities blending together digital conceptions with the real world.
See video example of AR here.
Machine Learning in Product Design
Contrary to popular belief, artificial intelligence does not consist of human-looking robots that plan to take over the world. Artificial intelligence is essentially computers that perform tasks that normally require human intelligence (common sense, reasoning, strategy). Computers can also get better at what they do, “learning” as you feed them more data – a method in which you build out an intelligence system. Machine learning also includes a superior type of learning called “Deep Learning” that build higher level abstractions based on the layers before it. These systems can learn in three ways: Supervised learning, unsupervised learning, and reinforcement learning. Supervised learning is the most popular form of machine learning, where the computer learns by following examples and has access to a full set of supervised data while the algorithm is being trained. But sometimes clean and concise data sets are not easily found, so that is where unsupervised learning comes in. This Deep Learning model is given a data set without explicit directions on what to do with it. Since there is no expected outcome, the machine looks to sort data into clusters and make connections to form structure based on the system’s best judgment. Reinforcement learning is mainly used for games and robotics, as systems learn from trial and error and get rewards for actions. The ultimate goal is to predict the best next step in order to achieve the biggest final reward.
Machine learning can take many forms, some of which you already know. Ancestry.com automatically sources suggested matching public records and historical documents to intelligently use as citations for facts in your family tree. Netflix uses true personalization to intelligently recommend hyper-specific shows that you might like without being hand-curated or manually programed to do so. Content manipulation used in applications like Snapchat, uses data within the image to influence final results of a feature such as adding a cute pair of bunny ears to one’s head. Autodesk is currently developing Dreamcatcher, a system that automatically generates thousands of design options for the body of a bike using a problem’s goal and constraints to intelligently find structural solutions.
GIF of Autodesk – Dreamcatcher
These were just a few insights Adobe Max dove into during their creative conference this year, where I was constantly taking notes and compiling a wealth of material to have the opportunity to share my experience. Hopefully you feel a little more educated after this information overload and can impress your friends at a party by talking about augmented reality and artificial intelligence. Or maybe not… In any case, it is important to note that the way we understand and navigate the world around us is constantly changing and evolving with the presence of new technologies.