Harry West, “Servant or Svengali: Design, AI and CX”

CX Harry West frog

Today, we are living in the age of customer experience. The internet, smart phones and social networks have given consumers, customers, citizens unprecedented power and control. Companies have to constantly improve their customer experience or we, as consumers, will switch our allegiance. Today, a tweet can kill a brand.

frog designs better customer experiences for companies worldwide, and today, we are incorporating AI into the design of those experiences. We think of AI as just another tool designers can use to make the experience of customers even more seamless, more convenient, more emotionally connecting.  Along with other designers and engineers around the world we are making decisions about how to implement AI systems, and quite innocently, with the best of intentions, setting the direction for how even more advanced AI systems will be used in the future.

The immediate impact of our design decisions is often for the good, but the repercussions of our design decisions are more difficult to predict. The same technologies that have given each of us as consumers, customers, citizens such unprecedented access to information and such power over brands, can now be equally be used to manipulate us. AI is getting so smart that it can anticipate our wishes, and when AI understands us better than we do it can manipulate us in ways we are not prepared for. A smart servant can quickly become a Svengali.


At frog Harry leads an extraordinary group of designers, strategists, researchers, technologists and program managers who together improve the daily experiences of people around the world. 

frog is a global design and innovation firm. frog works in a broad range of industries including financial services, telecommunications, healthcare, enterprise software, automotive systems, government services and consumer products. We partner with clients to anticipate the future, transform businesses and advance the human experience.

Harry has led design and innovation at MIT, Continuum, Prophet and now frog. He lives in Lexington, Massachusetts and each week works from a different frog studio around the world. He has degrees in engineering from Cambridge University, in Technology and Policy from MIT, and a Ph.D. in robotics from MIT.

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