Parenting a mind

talk – 7 min | Feb 8 – 12:45

We, as designers, are the parents of our creations. And as a parent, we must nurture our child in the direction we wish for it to become. So, what will be uncovered when we parent a mind?

In the context of designing software, we program a chain of explicit commands on how we want it to interact with the universe. What if instead of executing on commands, the software could make its own decisions? If it could learn from new inputs and continuously evolve on its own?

We are now at the edge of technology where this is possible. This is the era of machine learning and artificial intelligence.

In this talk, we will discuss how designing a mind, or artificial intelligence, parallels parenting a child. From birth to growth to maturation, what do we need to prepare for? And, what could we possibly learn about ourselves as parents?

About the speaker

Jennifer Kumura

Jennifer Kumura


Hi, I’m Jennifer! I’m originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, and I am a young UX Interaction Designer.

I graduated from the University of Washington’s Human-Centered Design and Engineering with a focus in Human Computer Interaction and a minor in Dance.

It was truly fated that I’ve found my program. I learned that with the singularity rate or rate of innovation exponentially growing, the world is approaching a point where technologies can be created almost immediately after ideation. As innovators, we must make sure we take a pause to step back and think about the possible implications. Thoughtful design can ensure the positive outweigh the negative.

In hopes of practicing thoughtful design, post-graduation, I found a job at a digital and marketing agency where they had a really strong UX presence. There, I learned to create strategically effective designs for sales purposes. We had cutting edge projects, but something still felt missing. I wanted to create something that brought stronger value. Something that will help people’s lives, not just sell something. So, I decided to go into product design by taking a job at a 125-year old industrial company where I faced a new challenge: how does a traditional, industrial company become an innovative and effective software company? I had a new mission: to evangelize and educate traditional IT folk on the importance of thoughtful design.

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