IDEO has acquired Datascope, a Chicago-based data science company.

The impact of the merger is that IDEO will now be able to tap into the power of data, algorithms, and machine learning to supplement it’s human-centered design practice.  What are they calling this merger of disciplines?  Augmented intelligence.

Diana Budd, in a Co.Design article, describes augmented intelligence:

Datascope and Ideo have a new buzz phrase for their application of human-centered design to the world of algorithms and data science: “augmented intelligence.”

“Ultimately, we’re using the term ‘augmented intelligence’ to really focus on the fact that we’re extending and enhancing people’s capabilities through technology, as opposed to thinking of technology as a separate thing, or replacing people’s capabilities with technology,” Stringer says.

Algorithms have always been designed, but most often by engineers and computer programmers, not by designers who have been trained in the traditional sense to respond to the needs of people. Brown draws parallels to the birth of interaction design in the 1980s, a field which Ideo cofounder Bill Moggridge coined.

“Data and algorithms and machine learning—all of these things collectively together are a new medium for design,” Brown says. “They can be crafted and shaped by people who think about what the world should be like, who have the imagination to do that, and have the technical skills to actually build the things. I think the design industry is getting excited about [data science], as it realizes [data science] is really a different way of shaping the world.”

The most informative piece of  information in the article was the description of how they see design and data science working together:

“Creating algorithms and systems that are in the service of people requires building humans into the loop,” Malmgren says. “It’s observing interactions and taking those learnings and reapplying them to how we’re thinking about algorithms. So it’s the constant loop of people, data, and algorithms and continuing to iterate that.”
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