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By phil

Animistic Design – A New Approach to IoT & AI

On 16, Mar 2016 | In Blog, ideas | By phil

In a newly published paper, “Animistic design: how to reimagine digital interaction between the human and the nonhuman” (Digital Creativity – Special Issue: Post-Anthropocentric Creativity), my co-author Betti Marenko and I argue that a new model is needed for design in an Internet of Things world. We think it’s time to rethink the standards of Human Centered Design, AI, and interaction design, especially for open-ended, creative contexts, whether that’s directing a self-driving car, planning a vacation, or solving a hard legal problem.

See my Medium post “Rethink IxD” on this topic.

These videos are from the Little Data Wranglers research project conducted in 2014. The video demonstrates the use of working, speculative prototypes of what Animistic Design might be like. Additional videos and commentary from the 2012 AniThings research project are here.

For more thoughts on animism, please see an interview with Betti and myself, conducted by London based design studio 1984 on their blog 1984 Bold Ideas.

Marenko, B., & van Allen, P. (2016). Animistic design: how to reimagine digital interaction between the human and the nonhuman. Digital Creativity, 1-19. doi:10.1080/14626268.2016.1145127

Davies, D. (2015). Animism in Design: Creating an Internet of (Quirky) Things. Retrieved from