Design and Artificial Intelligence: The 2023 Design in Tech Report

John Maeda
3 min readMar 15, 2023
Person standing and looking to a SXSW audience with hand raised and pull quote reads: “The hand, the mind, the heart working together can create extraordinary things.”
The hand, the mind, the heart working together can create extraordinary things. Even in this new age of AI. In fact, we’re likely to do even more to show machines what we humans can do.

Four Things That I’m Thinking About #DesignInTech

  • Designers tend to care about people as people. Instead of just as prospects or customers.
  • Design as a field has evolved to speak more machine, more scale, and more $$$s.
  • A lot of work has been done in the design world to birth a new “aesthetics of ethics.”
  • But it’s not mainstage because it doesn’t sound like “time or $$$s saved” or “new $$$s.”

Three Things I’ve Noticed In The Last 30 Days

In general I’ve noticed that referencing the past is quite helpful to understand the present. These three quotes help me do an SJ “look backwards to look forwards” daily yoga-style cognitive exercise to stay limber, humble, and hungry.

1) Simon’s Scissors

Early 1960s AI pioneer and Nobel Laureate in Economics, Herbert Simon, framed human intelligence as like two blades of a pair of scissors:

“Human rational behavior is shaped by a scissors whose blades are the structure of task environments and the computational capabilities of the actor.



John Maeda

John Maeda: Technologist and product experience leader that bridges business, engineering, design via working inclusively. Currently VP Design and A.I. at MSFT.