The big move towards anticipatory design, Part II

AD is quickly becoming indispensable to our daily lives

Big Data Brings Anticipatory Design (AD) to life

AD is quickly becoming indispensable to our daily lives. It leverages Big Data’s capacity to crunch vast quantities of Internet-based information to automate decision-making. How?

  • It utilizes a wide array of ‘outliers and subgroups’ that extend beyond conventional preliminary samples for instantaneous analysis.
  • AD then applies algorithm-based real-time corrective feedback mechanisms to generate increasingly accurate information about our individual behavior over time.

As with all tech breakthroughs, there is a downside to Big Data collection. Many people, for example, don’t know that their smartphones continually track their locations, including where they live, and that this information can be accessed by third parties, including, tech savvy individuals who may want to stalk you. If this troubles you, by all means, adjust your security options–which vary according to your operating system and phone model.

Examples of how anticipatory design will make life easier

  • In the near future, AD-based tools will monitor your calendar to book a flight automatically when you schedule a meeting requiring air travel. This will include seat preference, preferred airlines and a flight time based on your prior travel behavior. Payment will be transmitted automatically. Similarly, in the future, Uber may automatically schedule a car to pick you up from work when you walk out of a meeting, without your having to do anything.
  • Google Now is a digital assistant app that is already predicting your wants and needs based on your search history, including providing recommendations of where to eat and what to do based on past preferences and current location, though it doesn’t yet make automatic purchases or restaurant reservations…
  • Released just a few months ago, helps folks make automated savings decisions by analyzing their income and spending habits, then automatically moving money into their savings account. The service estimates what the client can afford after factoring in general expenses, when bills are due, etc., with the overriding goal of helping people save more money.


Of great benefit to society-at-large are apps like Google’s Flu Trends. Several years ago, Google realized they could track the spread of influenza using searches for keywords such as ‘flu symptoms,’ associated with users’ locations. They found their analysis predicted flu outbreak incidence and prevalence faster and more accurately than government epidemiologists, who–until this revolutionary breakthrough–had to rely on doctors’ reports. Designers of government disease response initiatives are now using this Google’s data gathering technique in their epidemiological predictions. –Many more socially beneficial Big Data breakthroughs are on the horizon.

In Part III of this blog, I’ll discuss how your brand, your products/services and marketing can all benefit from AD, if not yet–then in the near future.

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