Eric Gu is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering with his main research focussing on Augmented Creativity: Designing in the Age of AI & Big-Data.
Can we have human-centred design without real humans? With the state-of-the-art in training conversational AI models, designers can potentially chat with a Synthetic User embodying the knowledge, experience, and personality of real-world user groups. Not only do realistic but entirely artificial data offer a layer of privacy between corporations and the end users, but Synthetic Users also don’t get embarrassed, annoyed, tired, or bored. The designer can endlessly interrogate one for insights about the user groups they represent, or simultaneously send out a hundred questions to a hundred synthetic users. Work is underway to evaluate the impact on creativity and performance of the designers when co-designing with these non-human representatives of stakeholders.
Eric has worn a variety of hats in Academia and Industry. Previously, as the former Teaching Fellow at Imperial College London, Eric co-created the "Augmented Designer" curriculum for design graduates of the Dyson School of Design Engineering. In Industry, Eric is Creative Technologist with 6 years of experience as a Design Innovations Consultant, for clients ranging from Fortune500s on “Future of [X]” projects to startups & NGO's in AI-embodied hardware products.