Sonder: The profound feeling of realizing that everyone, including strangers passed in the street, has a life as complex as one’s own, which they are constantly living despite one’s personal lack of awareness of it.
Scheme: A systematic or organized configuration.
After years of studying AI and automation companies—successes as well as failures—and the future of work, we are convinced that AI can be done better and faster. For AI experts through to people who have not yet used AI, by involving a diverse set of voices from across the organization and by using design techniques customized to AI, companies can create great, human-centered AI.
We created Sonder Scheme to help people develop AI for humans. Our techniques are founded on years of research about AI. We are convinced that the role of humans in AI design is fundamental. This role has been subsumed by technological optimism; it is under-appreciated and under-utilized. The interaction between AI and humans starts at the creation of data, includes the selection and understanding of algorithms and requires a new way of developing user interfaces. People need to have experiences that tell them that the machine is learning and adjusting all the time to what they say and do.
AI is another intelligence and this intelligence is quite alien. AI makes mistakes in unpredictable ways and develops its understanding across dimensions we can’t fathom. But we can design AI that works with our nature, our biases and our preferences.
For strategy and innovation managers, this means directing a whole new scheme of possibilities—thinking in systems, solving old problems in new ways, creating new opportunities for revenue, cost and risk reduction and rethinking the dynamics of digital markets.
For product designers and marketers, this offers the opportunity to rearchitect relationships, recognize the mutual interactions of machine and human and designing for (not against) the mental models that shape customers’ behavior and expectations.
For human resource professionals and leaders, this means designing for a future of work where humans and machines collaborate—where machines augment, rather than replace—humans in their work and humans do what they do best—make sense of the world.
Our goal is to help people make better AI; AI that serves people, augments our relationships and uses this powerful technology well to advance our species.