AI Enabling a Revolution in Commerce.
Cognitive load is the phenomenon when you’ve got too much to think about that you can’t think at all. That hazy fog of mis-memory and ‘un-intuition’ that can stop you in your tracks and say, what was I doing? Some call it a brain fart, others will call you a space case, but when it comes to HCI, cognitive load is the result of bad design.
Consider the landscape of interfaces today, most consist of boxes, buttons and lists confined to windows on screens. Some have an omnichannel nature and can be accessed from a variety of touchpoints, but most require the user to know what they want before they become useful at all. Now, consider the realm of possibility offered by modern devices, the opportunity for continuous discovery on platforms like Instagram, Google and Youtube create a paradox of choice and increases cognitive load pressures as a result. We are able to do so much and end up doing nothing at all.
AI can be used to examine behavioral and environmental factors that precede an interaction or user context and refine the scope of possibility offered to end users. Now, that’s one hell of a mouthful, let’s break it down a bit.
Consider an interactive mall map. You’ve arrived at a new shopping center and want to see what’s relevant to you. More often than not you will be greeted with a map, and a list of shops, but the experience itself will be much the same for each user.
Now consider an artificially intelligent version of the same system, powered by the Stylist AI. It’s cognizant of environmental factors like forcast and the time of day and situational factors. It can even understand your demographic information if a camera is used to analyze live video. Using these factors as a guide, options can be presented at an initial interaction that already have relevance to the user. In this case the AI can make an individualized judgement about items, stores or offers relevant to an individual with a set of suggestions as a starting point.
A refined scope of possible and personalized experience requires less cognitive load than stating an experience fresh. Think back to school, did you prefer multiple choice tests over longform writing? … I know I did!
In essence, AI systems can shortlist opportunity and empower us to act on intuition faster. This extension of cognition plays to the strengths of both people and computers. Artificial intelligence is fantastic at indexing information and mapping meaning in data. People on the other hand have a knack for creative problem solving and doing what they are not supposed to do. Combined, we will be able to shortlist and act on possibility lest the barrier of cognitive load, enabling increased fluidity when solving problems and completing tasks.