cOG in the Wheel

future scenario simulation experience design
Team: Stephanie Chen, Tamara Amin, David Chikowski, Robert Managad, William Su
Fall 2018


purpose —
The “AI Forces Shaping Work and Learning” is a report by Institute for the Future (IFTF), containing four different scenarios of the alternative future taking place in 2030. The report focuses on studying and predicting the possible changes and results of AI development and how and to what extent it will influence work and learning. The purpose of this project is to create a 15-minute future scenario simulation for a group of around 40 people to participate in and experience what a studied, researched, and identified future scenario may be like. Our group was assigned to the Cog in the Wheel Scenario, which is a continual growth future mainly focusing on how AI becoming a background condition of everyday life by 2030.

summary of scenario —
AI become a background condition of everyday life by 2030
Able to manage complex tasks
“Cognitive intelligence”
AI understand meaning + take action
Influence basically all industries

Human jobs being take over by AI
Similar to what happened to factory in the 80s
But still role for humans in creative work

Human in partnership with a machine
Troubleshooting problems related to antiquated physical spaces and public infrastructure
Human = caregivers

Most jobs are designed and overseen by AI systems in 2030
Every decision made + action taken is algorithmically guided

our concept —
Our final concept for an experiential Cog in the Wheel scenario was a job-recruitment placement service that large companies employ in order to discover individuals with high EQ (versus IQ). In our future simulation, the EQ (over) IQ job recruitment placement service has come to Carnegie Mellon University to help screen for possible high-EQ candidates for large tech firms like Google, Pinterest, and Airbnb.

Throughout the job recruitment session, the entire process was overseen and controlled by AI behind the scene, which includes deciding which recruitees get eliminated during each round, and the human job recruiter staffs simply walk around with earpieces on receiving and following orders from the AI boss.

Recruitees underwent two assessments to help evaluate your emotional intelligence and compatibility with our creative roles catalogue. The assessments were designed to assess recruitees’ communication, interpersonal, consensus building, and emotional recognition skills. Our proprietary matching methods use cutting edge analytics to guarantee a best match and provide those successful recruitees at the end with recommended career trajectories.

flow of simulation —  
1) People walk down hallway towards the room, seeing EQ/IQ posters
2) When walking into testing room, people are screened by security biometric test
3) Screened recruitees sit at assigned tables (6 tables with 6 people each)
4) Recruitees perform group tasks for each round
5) Recruitees eliminated each round for not meeting benchmark standards
6) Remaining people receive documents that say which companies will accept them

inventory of assets —

Inventory of Assets.png

room setup —

photographs from simulation —


key stubs development —

During the idea generation process, we compiled 11 stubs from our total count of 30 that we felt were most fruitful. The most prominent themes in these stubs were related to job opportunity and distribution as related to AI taking labor jobs.



personal insights —
Reflecting on the future scenario simulation, I felt that the overall intended experience was communicated fairly effectively. For example, the small touches like cameras, headpieces, and costumes contributed greatly to building a serious mood and high tech feeling. I observed that people changed attitudes quickly when they were stopped at the door and forced to wait and get screened by security biometric test, and the activities and competitions throughout the job recruitment sessions was immersive. Some of the feedback our group received from participants include, “My heart was legitimately racing during the selection process”and “The experience was honestly very stressful”.As people get eliminated each round, the intensity of the experience also continue to arouse.

Physically creating and experiencing a situation of this future scenario also caused me to reflect on the relationship between humans and AI. Despite our participants being fairly disciplined and the majority follow instructions orderly, I think it would be interesting to consider what if humans try to break the system and regain control from the AI throughout the process. Designing and executing this future simulation definitely inspired me the think deeper about how the world is continue developing and what our future may be like.