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Weekly Inspirations: February 2nd, 2018

Here are the things that I think are worth reading and checking out this week:

This Is The World’s First Graphical AI Interface

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are so difficult to understand, only a few very smart computer scientists know how to build them. But the designers of a new tool have a big ambition: to create the Javascript for AI. The tool, called Cortex, uses a graphical user interface to make it so that building an AI model doesn’t require a PhD. The honeycomb-like interface, designed by Mark Rolston of Argodesign, enables developers–and even designers–to use premade AI “skills,” as Rolston describes them, that can do things like sentiment analysis or natural language processing. They can then drag and drop these skills into an interface that shows the progression of the model. The key? Using a visual layout to organize the system makes it more accessible to non-scientists.
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A few years ago, my design team encouraged me to submit my first ever conference presentation proposal. I carefully put together my submission, spent some time second-guessing myself, and then finally pulled the trigger. Imagine my surprise a couple of weeks later when I got an email saying they’d accepted my proposal. I was elated. Overjoyed. Mega-pumped! I was going to have the opportunity to share some of the research I’d been working on with the UX and design communities! 45 seconds later, I was panicking and considering moving off the grid to a cabin in the deep woods with no internet access so I could pretend I never got the acceptance letter. I’m an introvert, and public speaking is definitely not my forte.
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Uber’s New Exec Bozoma Saint John on Sexism, Embracing Fear, and Bringing Her ‘Whole Self’ to Work

The enormous crystal chandelier that hangs in the foyer of Bozoma Saint John’s Los Angeles home gives a dramatic first impression, but it’s no less dramatic than the homeowner herself. Almost six feet tall in bare feet and wearing her signature bright prints with matching fuchsia lip gloss, Saint John (Boz to her friends) is every bit as striking giving a tour of her new home as she was onstage being honored as Executive of the Year at Billboard’s 2016 Women in Music awards last winter. When asked about the hot pink curtains in her master bedroom, Saint John, 40, a woman whose résumé name-checks her tenure at some of the world’s biggest brands, explains her reasoning. “I’ve worked hard for my life,” she says. “No one gave me anything. This house is a reflection of that. It belongs to me and to [my daughter] Lael, so I can make it as feminine and bold as I am. Because I can!” Saint John’s new role as chief brand officer for Uber makes her a unicorn in Silicon Valley: She’s one of the very few black female C-suite executives in tech. But to earn her place in the pantheon, Saint John has overcome challenges that would have stymied most mortals.
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8 Ways to Redesign the Workplace for 2018

Our wish for the new year is that companies become more flexible, human-centered, and purpose-driven—in other words, better places to work. But rethinking accepted ways of doing business isn’t easy (btw, we’ve got some help on hand if you’re interested in learning the tools of organizational change). Our designers have a long wish list and some ideas for how to get started: What if we could reframe maternity leave as a time for personal enrichment? Or make navigating enterprise software less miserable?
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Gucci Becomes the First Major Fashion Brand to Create a Custom Animoji

Gucci now has another accolade to add to the brand’s long line of accomplishments: the very first fashion brand to create its own custom animoji. Inspired by paintings created by London-based collaborator, artist and Instagram phenomenon Unskilled Worker, Gucci has revealed two dog animojis based on Creative Director Alessandro Michele’s own Boston terriers, Bosco and Orso. Gucci’s custom animojis allow users to record video clips of the dogs that utilize the each individual’s unique voices and facial expressions. This latest release from Gucci comes in support of the company’s Chinese New Year campaign, which also involves a special, Year of the Dog-themed capsule collection.
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Following closely on the heels of an app redesign late last year, Snapchat has made it easier for users to share and watch Snapchat videos outside of the app, even if they aren’t Snapchat users. The company has made the “Discover” contents of its app more accessible to people who don’t use Snapchat. As of this past Tuesday, users will be able to share many Snapchat Stories to external platforms like Twitter and Facebook with a link. On Twitter, that means Snap videos will play natively, right inside the Twitter feed. On most other platforms, or via email and text messages, shared Stories will appear as a link that brings you to Snapchat’s website to watch the clip.
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8 beliefs about diversity, inclusion, and belonging

America is more diverse than ever before. Business is not. But with a unique combination of forces that are shining a light on this problem, it seems that now is the time for positive change to accelerate. For starters: There’s an increasing amount of research and journalism focused on the value of diversity and belonging in organizations; the current political context is forcing leaders to stand up for what they believe in and raising the consciousness of the nation as a whole; and more leaders are catching on to an emerging model of leadership that’s focused on wellbeing and unleashing the unique talents and humanity of their organization (rather than controlling and constraining them).
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Digital product design is a relatively nascent field, but one thing is clear: It’s playing a key strategic role in many businesses today. Companies are investing in design and growing their teams at a pace we’ve not seen before. With scale comes the need for strong leadership that understands both the plight of the designer and needs of a business. That’s a rare combination of skills. Unlike our peers in engineering, we just don’t have a class or degree that helps us master the art and science that is Design Leadership. It’s hard to figure out org design when you’re creating the first design org of its size. It’s hard to convey the business value of design when many business leaders still think of design as “making it pretty.” We’re solving these problems, and more, with the Design Leadership Forum.
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