Interaction and Experience Designer
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Poetic Language Between Humans and AI

A speculative design of Poetic Language between Humans and AI.

This project explores how humans might use metaphors, phrases, or poems as the language with AI, allowing a deeper level of communication and understanding of intangible emotions.


Individual project


Dan Lockton


4 weeks in 2018


Speculative design, future thinking, human-centered research, cultural references, prototyping, Innovation, Concept Iteration, Work in ambiguity, system thinking, Storyboarding, 3D Prototyping, , Illustrator, Photoshop

The Challenge

Communicating intangible emotions is challenging between people — even more so with AI. Where is the Understanding of Context Between Humans and Artificial Intelligence? How do we communicate with each other in humans terms?

Importance of context


Human Language Study




Where are the Human in AI?


Poetic/ Lyricism — a metaphor or a symbol relates to so many inputs and context. Where is AI’s position in this topic?

Social Status/ Hierarchy — Often AI are called assistant. Does AI has social status or hierarchy between them?

Manners/Traditions — While younger people spend more time with machines and AI, they can easily lose contact with human intelligence, losing their culture and roots. Moreover, they might lose the manner and etiquette in daily lives.

Emotional Quotient/Intelligent Quotient/Adversity Quotient — EQ and IQ are not equally valued in human intelligence society

Talks & Conversations

AI, ethics, machine learning, data , interactions

Madeleine Clare Elish from Data and Society

Min Kyung Lee from Carnegie Mellon University Human-Computer Interaction in the Machine Learning Department

Cennydd — former Design Manager at Twitter, current Independent Design Consultant

MiMi Onuoha — an artist and researcher using data and code to explore new forms of storytelling, social critique, and interaction

Anne Burdick — “Trina, Designing Text Technologies for Critical Interpretation”

The Carnegie Mellon Universtiy — K & L Gates Conference on Ethics and AI

Exploratory Research

What level is it appropriate to the situation ?

Why does everything needs to be transparent?

Trust Building

Theory of Mind

Ethical Test

Concept Refinement

Human communicates intangable emotion to AI (technology) through poems with a designed kit.

How can AI assist and practice with human on their social skills; to provoke, play, adjust human emotions?

  1. Is this service about AI responding to humans with more humans’ experience?

  2. Is this getting closer to something like fortuneteller and horoscope predictions?

  3. What is the story?

  4. When does people interact with this service?

  5. Few words are not sufficient to communicate and express thoughts, feelings, ideas. How to use literature and objects to communicate — using symbols, metaphor, poems?

  6. Human communicates intangable emotion to AI (technology) through poems with a designed kit.

Characteristics of AI, HUMAN, and BOTH.

Characteristics of AI, HUMAN, and BOTH.


Design Objectives

Case Studies

What are the poetic mediums?


More Process