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Next speaker: NASA's Space Suit designer Lindsay Aitchison

Ayelen Win

As promised: We’ll venture into space!
Lindsay Aitchison, NASA's space suit engineer is coming to this years’ FBTB.

Lindsay Aitchison, NASA’s Deputy Project Manager for the Advanced Spacesuit Project, will be speaking at FBTB 2019. Lindsay Aitchison is one of the leading experts behind NASA’s effort to build the next generation spacesuit. Lindsay began working full-time with NASA in May 2006 and has since March 2013 had the position of Manager for the Advanced Spacesuit Project.

In an interview Aitchison said that the last spacesuits, which were designed in the 1980’s, were created under the assumption that female astronauts were basically just tiny men.

“If you know anything about clothing design, women are definitely not just smaller versions of men,” Aitchison says.

NASA Space suit engineer Lindsay Aichison

Lindsay earned a Master of Industrial and Human Factors Engineering degree from Wright State University, and a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree from Purdue University.

During the Apollo program, the crew was assigned well in advance, giving designers time to create custom spacesuits for each astronaut. Aitchison's team are now working on a modular design for NASA’s Z-2 spacesuit. Astronauts will be able to mix and match pants, gloves, sleeves, and other parts to fit their various proportions.

“Having modular spacesuits means everyone will be accommodated, but it may not be as great of a fit as a completely customized suit would be,” said Aitchison. On the other hand, if say an astronaut’s elbow joint wears down while collecting Moon dust, she’ll be able to borrow a replacement elbow from a friend.

As a space suit engineer, Lindsay gained extensive hands on experience as both test director and test subject. Her workspace is in the lab, at remote test sites, and in reduced gravity analogs including the Neutral Buoyancy Lab and NASA’s reduced gravity aircraft, affectionately known as the Vomit Comet.

As she works to perfect the suit, Aitchison says one of the major perks of her job is that she gets “to test spacesuits out in all these different environments which is just crazy cool” – from the Rockyard, NASA’s simulated alien land, to a 6.2 million gallon pool called the “Neutral Buoyancy Lab” which simulated the feeling of a spacewalk.

Get your tickets for FBTB19!

Being human in the age of AI

Sofia Fröjdman

Recently I had the opportunity to listen to Max Tegmark talk about what it means to be human in the age of artificial intelligence, AI. Max talk focused on the power, the steering and the destination of AI. It was inspiring but at the same time horrifying talk. 

Max Tegmark is a Swedish-American physicist and cosmologist. He’s a professor at MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author known for his controversial theories about parallel universes. Furthermore, he’s a co-founder of the Future of Life Institute where he’s trying to steer the development of AI in the right direction. 

He opened his talk by claiming that intelligence is as all about information processing and that we need to stop thinking of intelligence as something that can only exist in biological organisms. He then proceeded to talk about where we’re heading from ”normal” AI to artificial general intelligence, AGI, and maybe even artificial superintelligence, ASI. 

Reaching AGI within decades

While AGI is intelligence that could perform any intellectual task that a human being can, ASI is intelligence that will far surpass the brightest human minds. Many are questioning whether we’ll ever reach AGI and ASI. To Max, the real question is when and not if. And he’s not alone in thinking this. Many leading AI researchers think we’ll probably get AGI within a couple of decades.

Foto: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Max continued to talk about the wisdom race, that we need to make sure we’re wise enough in time to steer the AI development in the right direction. He brought up examples of previous development where we’ve learned from our mistakes. First came the cars and later we developed seatbelts and air-bags to make them safer. While this has worked before there are many areas where it's safer to get it right from the beginning. Things such as nuclear power, synthetic biology, and AGI. Things where the consequences can be too devastating if done wrong. We need to plan ahead and be proactive since we might only have one chance to get this right. 

To win the wisdom race

Max suggested ways to win the wisdom race included banning lethal autonomous weapons, ensuring that AI-generated wealth makes everyone better off, and to invest in AI safety research. To demonstrate the possibly devastating consequences of not doing this now he showed the Black Mirror-style dramatization video Slaughterbots. The, now one-year-old, video shows a near-future scenario where huge swarms of microdrones use facial recognition and AI to seek out and kill political opponents. Even though I’ve seen this video numerous times, every time it still gives me the creeps. 

There are many questions that need to be answered. If (or when) ASI arrives, who should be in control? And how do we make sure that AI, when turning competent, don’t create goals misaligned with ours? The truly scary part is that the amount of money that goes into AI safety research today is nothing near what goes into developing AI. 

I’m personally convinced AGI and ASI could end up making the world a much better place for everyone. At the same time, I’m horrified of what might happen if this is done without considering and preparing for all the possible risks. 

Empowered, not overpowered, by AI

Max concluded his talk by stating that we do have a choice. Either we’re complacent about our future or we’re ambitious and make sure we build AI that empowers, not overpowers, us. 

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If you still haven't bought tickets to From Business to Buttons 2019, now might be a good time. Chris Noessel, currently with IBM Watson, will be there to talk about his latest book, and how to design AI-powered products and services. Tickets and information is available at the From Business to Buttons website.

Flow chart picture from Kim Goodwin's Twitter.

Kim Goodwin created a chart explaining Mansplaining to men

Ola Nilsson

Kim Goodwin got more than 50 000 retweets and 126 000 likes on a flow chart. A chart she made after being asked many – many – times by her male coworkers whether a certain behavior is mansplaining. So, no more doubts, just follow the chart.

We are many who are painfully aware of the phenonema. But still there’s a lot of people, definitely mostly men, who need an explanation of it – what mansplaning really is.

Kim Goodwin, one of the speakers at FBTB19, got tired of the question from her male coworkers.

"When people (almost always men) explain the product design methods in my own book to me, I say I’m well-acquainted with them, mentally roll my eyes, and move on. I hadn’t developed a succinct explanation for what distinguishes mansplaining, so I spent a few minutes drafting a diagram, as I often do to examine or explain ideas in my work.", Kim Godwin wrote on BBC about the issue.

She made a flow chart of it and posted it on Twitter. It got extremely popular, and discussed.

"Thousands of female-appearing Twitter users started sharing the post, asking to print it on business cards or staple it to the foreheads of men. Some added: asking first is polite behaviour for any gender.".

"Responses from male-appearing Tweeters were more mixed. Some responded with mansplaining, either explaining sexism to women or asking how women would learn if men didn’t share their knowledge. Many said the diagram was helpful."

And you have to take a look at some of her comebacks on the critique:

"Mansplaining may seem like a trivial issue in isolation, but how we communicate tells other people how much or little they are valued. And in my experience, humans feel better, work more effectively, and behave better when we feel valued ourselves.", Kim Goodwin summarized on BBC.

We asked Kim if she ever will post some similar chart on Twitter on some similar issue, and also if she is looking forward to coming to Sweden for From Business to Buttons...

– Considering how useless my Twitter feed became until I muted the thread, I might think twice about posting similar charts. I’m looking forward to seeing you all in May, she says.

Get tickets for FBTB19 now, and meet Kim Goodwin in Stockholm on May 3 2019!

Check out Kim Goodwins workshop in Stockholm.

FBTB19: The workshops are here!

Sara Doltz

At next year’s From Business to Buttons, you’ll have six (!) workshops to choose from!

As usual, a selected group of the speakers at From Business to Buttons will host workshops the day before the conference. For 2019, we went a little bananas: we offer you no less than six workshops to choose from!

  • First of all, Kim Goodwin will hold her famous workshop Leading UX: Influencing culture and growing teams. Not to be missed if you’re a UX leader!
  • We’re ecstatic to have Jake Knapp doing his workshop on Design Sprints this year. As Jake promises in his workshop description: ”You’ll laugh. You’ll high five. You’ll learn ridiculously useful skills”. Yes please!
  • If you’re a UX designer working with AI –  or if you’re just curious about AI – Christopher Noessel will be your choice. In his full-day workshop Designing for AI he’ll guide you through designing for multiple modes of AI. Here's a short movie from Chris!
  • Jeff Gothelf is returning to FBTB in 2019. His long-running, but constantly updated workshop Leveraging Lean UX to Lead Successful Agile Design Teams will teach you how to build stronger collaboration with product development teams, using product discovery practices.
  • Learn the essentials of web animation in Val Head’s workshop The Web in Motion. Perfect for hands-on designers or front-end developers. 
  • Marc Stickdorn will also hold a workshop. The topic and more info will be disclosed just before Christmas.

Get your ticket ASAP! In previous years, several workshops have sold out months in advance. 

Each workshop is 5990 SEK. The venues are TBA at the moment, but all workshops will be held in central Stockholm. Read more at www.fbtb.se .

FLASH: Sprint-author Jake Knapp is coming

Sara Doltz

The creator of the method Design Sprint and author of the book Sprint, Jake Knapp is coming to the conference.

Jake Knapp is the creator of the Design Sprint method, which he developed while working at Google and Google Ventures for 10 years. He is the author of Make Time and the New York Times bestseller Sprint, about the method. 

The method Design Sprint is one of the most talked about in the design community today. We are happy to have him as a speaker at From Business to Buttons 2019.
He has since his years at Google coached teams like Slack, Uber, 23andMe, LEGO, and The Wall Street Journal on the method Design Sprint. Previously, Jake helped build products like Gmail, Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Encarta. He is currently among the world’s tallest designers.

Besides how tall you are, what is the number one question asked about the Design Sprint?

– ”Can we do a sprint in less than five days?” And the answer is... it depends. You can do a sprint in four days for sure. In three days, only under specific, narrow circumstances. I encourage people to do five days the first time they try it.

What is the craziest project/company that you heard of, that used the method?

– The craziest sprint project I've heard of is either Reykjavik University, who ran 92 sprints with 460 students in 1 week, or LEGO, who ran 80 sprints in 8 weeks—which is obviously less but still so many and at a real company to boot!

Jake Knapp is currently working on a new book. It’s a very secret project, but we will continue to ask nosy questions about it.
If you havn't heard about Design Sprint (where have you even been for the last 2 years?) here's a 90 second intro to the method.

The Design Sprint is a highly structured five-day process for solving problems and testing new ideas. Invented at Google by Jake Knapp, then perfected with more than 150 startups at Google Ventures, the Design Sprint helps teams solve big problems and test prototype solutions—all in a single week. Today, the Design Sprint has spread to places like Facebook, Apple, Airbnb, Uber, IDEO, and LEGO. And it’s not just for companies—Design Sprints have been used by organizations like the United Nations and the European Space Agency; by non-profits, governments, and even museums.

Sprint is available in 22 languages, and smart teams around the world are applying it's lessons to give their products and services the best chance of success, and to have a good time along the way!

Get your FBTB19 tickets here!