Humans + AI + Design with Ruth Kikin-Gil — DT101 E107

Ruth Kikin-Gil is a design strategist, a digital product designer, and a practical dreamer who focuses on product innovation across devices, input methods, and platforms. At Microsoft, she leads the Responsible AI Practices for Microsoft’s security organization. She helps drive responsible AI and Microsoft through serving on multiple AI and ethics in engineering and research workgroups. Ruth is a co-creator of the Guidelines for Human-AI Interaction, and is on the programming committee of Microsoft’s Machine Learning and Data Sciences internal office. We talk about humans, artificial intelligence, and ethics.

Portrait of Ruth Kikin-Gil

Listen to Learn About

  • How designing for human-AI interaction differs from typical UI/UX design
  • Microsoft’s guidelines for human-AI interaction
  • Ethical implications of AI
  • The process of curating content for conferences
  • Synthetic creativity
  • The future of design and designers

Our Guest

Ruth is a design strategist, a digital product designer, and a practical dreamer that focuses on product innovation across devices, input methods and platforms. In Microsoft she leads the Responsible AI practices for Microsoft’s Security org. She helps drive Responsible AI in Microsoft through serving on multiple Aether (AI and Ethics in Engineering and Research) work groups, is a co-creator of the Guidelines for Human-AI interaction and is on the programming committee of Microsoft’s Machine learning and Data sciences (MLADS) internal conference.

In her Microsoft career, she designed future experiences for Office, for an innovation lab, and for a strategy team. In addition, she lectures at the Human Centered Design and Engineering (HCDE) department in the University of Washington, Seattle. Before Microsoft she co-founded a digital product design agency in Tel-Aviv, was the corporate art director of a startup, worked for Nokia in Helsinki, freelanced in London, and earned her Interaction Design Master degree from IDII in Italy.

She’s interested in the interplay between society and technology, and the ways in which people appropriate technology in unexpected ways. She explores how existing social interactions and behaviors can be supported or transformed by technology and influence the creation of new products and services.

Show Highlights

[01:55] Ruth talks about her AI work at Microsoft.
[03:03] How AI and design connect and interact with our lives.
[04:10] Curiosity as a guiding force in Ruth’s career.
[04:50] What it means to be a designer.
[06:46] How Ruth started working on AI.
[08:06] Finding and talking to others at Microsoft who were working with AI.
[09:44] Thinking about how AI might influence design, and the ethical implications.
[10:26] The AETHER team at Microsoft.
[11:53] The work to craft guidelines for human-AI interaction.
[12:40] Creating her own dream job.
[15:01] The “Wild West” of the AI field, and the concept of responsible AI.
[16:08] The question that started the work to create the 18 guidelines for human-AI interaction.
[17:58] Ruth gives an example to show why the guidelines are important.
[19:30] Guiding AI to make sure it is learning and changing in appropriate ways.
[21:25] AI is about probability.
[22:48] Designing for being wrong.
[25:24] How people are using the guidelines in the design process.
[26:01] Auditing existing experiences.
[28:30] Ruth talks about being the Programming Director for the 2019 IXDA Conference and curating content.
[31:23] Teaching design at the University of Washington.
[32:09] The recent explosion in synthetic creativity.
[34:50] The importance of good prompts when it comes to AI-generated art, and the rise of “prompt engineering.”
[37:11] Thinking about the future and relevancy of design and designers as AI continues to evolve.


Ruth on Twitter
Ruth on LinkedIn
Ruth’s website
Ruth on Medium
Ruth on Women Talk Design
Ruth on the Interaction Design Foundation website
Humanizing Technology through Design
Interview with Ruth on all tech is human
Humanity-centered design
AI ♥ Design
The Design of Everyday AI Things
Guidelines for Human-AI interaction
Human Centered Design and Engineering (HCDE) – University of Washington
Microsoft Aether (AI and Ethics in Engineering and Research)


The rise of the Demigod designer. God created the world with a word, by Ruth Kikin-Gil | UX Collective (
Humanity-Centered Design. How ethics will change the conversation, by Ruth Kikin-Gil | Microsoft Design | Medium
AI Design. How AI can enhance the design process. by Ruth Kikin-Gil | Medium


Better together: Guidelines for designing Human-AI Interactions
Humanity-centered design: How can AI disrupt and augment the design process

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