Johan Berndtsson and Pontus Wärnestål

Welcome, Pontus Wärnestål! 🦾💜

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Pontus for many years. Few people have impressed me as much – both professionally and personally. Pontus, starting in June, you will take over the “AI and Design” track at Ambition Empower, succeeding Chris Noessel. What do you find most exciting about the new developments in generative AI?

– The new possibilities will not only impact the design work and its processes but also enable entirely new types of user experiences. Personalization will take several steps forward as we use generative AI to create, for example, uniquely customized experiences, not just recommend already existing content. The entire design process will also be affected, where smart tools built on generative models can improve quality and efficiency. GPT-4 was recently released, featuring multimodal functions, i.e., an explosion of possibilities in combining video, image, and text. This could, for example, mean a giant leap in accessibility – if thoughtful designers take command and implement this in new ways.

– However, even though much attention is focused on generative AI right now, we’ll continue to delve deeper into other types of AI technologies and use cases as well.

As we advance, what is most important to embrace for those working with developing digital and digi-physical services?

– A fundamental prerequisite, especially for those who are “senior” and established, is to remain open to the idea that the playing field for design is changing. I choose to see AI technologies as a new design material, and with that comes the need for new tools, methods, and thus new skills. A classically trained designer needs to dare to question old truths about how and what(!) we actually design. As we advance, we’ll not just create graphical interfaces. Conversational interfaces and digi-physical services challenge established ways of looking at what we actually design.

What are you most looking forward to when it comes to leading the AI and Design track at Ambition Empower?

– Aside from meeting all the curious and skilled participants, I look forward to working on how we address AI as design material. We’ll cover everything from the tactical UX-oriented design perspective to how we strategically combine AI with business models, circularity, and business development. Right now, we are collectively setting the standard for how AI should be used in both the private and public sectors. And the community of human-centered designers has a critical voice in this development. Ambition Empower is an excellent arena for jointly defining how the design world should best utilize AI!

It’s really great to have you on this journey, Pontus, and to have the opportunity to work with you again! 🙌

Read more about Pontus and his track at Ambition Empower here.

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