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AI Personas – An intuitive framework for designing intelligent connected objects

Thursday, December 6, 15:15-17:15h

Thanks to new machine learning advancements, we can now create connected objects which are able to carry out complex tasks autonomously, without requiring direct user inputs.

But with increased autonomy, our ability to plan for all possible interactions users will have with the products diminishes, with the result that users expecting seamless experiences will be often frustrated and disappointed.

As products become smarter with AI, we can no longer regard them as tools for people to use. This usual metaphor doesn’t work anymore for describing the complex interactions between users and AI-powered products.  A better way to consider the new user-object relation is one of cooperating partners.

By using the personification metaphor we can give users an intuitive way to manage their expectation when using products with autonomous, complex behaviours.

The AI Personas is a simple framework that uses the characters of the Butler, the Police and the Buddy to illustrate three different ways for intelligent products to behave. By referring to these personas and their familiar traits, designers can have a higher level reference for guiding their process and users can intuitively know what the product would do in each situation.

In this workshop, we will first introduce our AI Personas framework of the Butler, the Police and the Buddy. Afterwards, we’ll have a creative session where we’ll show you show you how to use the frameworks for ideating AI-powered products with clear goals and behaviours.


Leonardo Amico

Leonardo Amico is Creative Technologist in Design & Innovation company Uniform. His role consists of the ideation, design, and prototype of applications for emerging technologies such as AI and the Internet of Things, working in both commercial and research-based projects. Leonardo is also a member of international collaborative design research platform Hacking Households and his work has been exhibited across a number of festivals and museums including Salone del Mobile in Milan, Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, Adhocracy in Athens.

Dr Mike Shorter

Mike is a Senior Creative Technologist at Uniform. He has over 10 years experience as a product designer, university lecturer and researcher. He is at home playing with new digital technologies and has in-depth knowledge of design methods, idea generation, workshop facilitation, prototyping techniques, sensors, paper circuitry and internet connected objects. Mike has worked with partners such as NASA, Penguin Random House and Mozilla and co-founded the design publication Fieldguide in 2012. He regularly publishes journal articles, conference papers and book sections and presents his work worldwide: from London Design Festival to Unbox Festival in India.

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Program Day 1

Our program on Thursday the 12th

Day 1 of Thingscon 2019 we will shape the future narratives of the responsible IoT and beyond together. You can dive deep with peers, thought leaders, innovators, and researchers from the ThingsCon community and beyond:

Full program

Program Day 2

Our program on Friday the 13th

Day 2 of Thingscon 2019 is about the current state of the responsible IoT. You can get inspiration from thought leaders and practitioners from the field, get hands-on with the latest tools & insights and be part of the leading discours. To end Thingscon will present a State of the Responsible IoT in 2019:

Full program

Tickets & info

12 / 13 December, Rotterdam | Get your tickets now!

Date and time

Thursday, 12 dec. 2019, 09:00 – 19:00 (CET)
Friday, 13 dec. 2019, 09:00 – 20:00 (CET)


Het Nieuwe Instituut
25 Museumpark, 3015 CB Rotterdam (map)


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Speakers & hosts

Our speakers & hosts

We are happy to announce our keynote speakers and hosts for sessions and workshops. These include:

Marleen Stikker
Tracy Rolling
Heather Wiltse
Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino
Klasien van de Zandschulp
Mirena Papadimitriou
Davide Gomba
Wouter Reeskamp

But wait, there are many more:

All our Speakers & hosts