Aesthetics of Intelligence

  • Design

    Research through Design

  • Course

    Project 2 - Research

  • Coach

    Stephan Wensveen

And how they are made


Designers in the world of HCI and UX often experience difficulties envisioning and prototyping intelligent agents. Most of their concepts and prototypes eventually have to be communicated, either to test with users, or to show the outside world through the use of a video.
Since most designers are not filmmakers, the researcher expects there to be a need for guidance in this field. This research explores the incorporation of cultural aspects into intelligent agents and their importance for designers. These aspects are portrayed in six videos, after which an audience evaluates the agent’s cultural dimensions. Based on the results, a prototyping workflow for designers is proposed.

The proposed workflow provides designers with guidelines to create videos that reflect cultural aspects in the intelligent agent. The videos designers create can be used as tools for discussion and reflection within a design team or as communicative tool towards the outside.


Prior research has found that prototyping for AI is a complex task for designers. Specific aspects which are often already parts of design, such as culture are therefore hard to implement. The research has shown that cultural aspects of intelligent agents can be communicated through film by using storytelling and certain video aspects. The technique used to make the video prototypes proved to be an effective way to prototype intelligent agents relatively quickly. The resulting material can effectively be used for reflections in an iterative design project, validation with users or communication towards the outside world. Concretely speaking, the workflow provides guidelines for certain storytelling and video aspects that make it possible for designers to design for intelligent agents and incorporate cultural aspects of the desired user group. The eventual proposed workflow focuses on only three of the six cultural dimensions of Hofstede for now, but proposes future research where this can be expanded.

By reflecting

Learning points

During this research project, I was able to combine my passion of film making with that of design. Furthermore, I developed myself from a designer with knowledge in aesthetics of interaction, towards the addition of the aesthetics of intelligence. On the practical side, I implemented qualitative user evaluation processing in my process, through the use of SPSS and calculation of for example the validity of my results. The general setup of the project helped to streamline my filmmaking workflow to be better optimized for design, which sparked my interest in design fiction.

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