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FBTB 2022 Speaker: Allie Vogel – exploring gender fluidity through Virtual reality

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Starting her career in Silicon Valley and now living in Tel Aviv, Allie Vogel, Senior Product Design Lead at Microsoft, has spent the last several years designing AI-focused products from chatbots, data analytics NLP tools to e-commerce personalization.

With a special interest in Virtual Reality, Allie recently received her master's degree in Human-Computer Interaction where she explored gender fluidity through virtual embodiment.

– My focus in graduate school was a project called TrueHue, a platform that leverages AI to allow individuals to explore their gender identity in VR, says Allie.

The idea for the project came to life when Allie was approached by her fellow student and software engineer, Adi Klinger, during a VR seminar. They started to work on TrueHue, a VR project where the participant first has their photos taken and then an avatar produced based on how they would want to see themselves – as their true gender.

What was it that got you hooked on machine learning in the first place?
– During my career, it became increasingly apparent that machine learning can empower designers to do anything from understanding user behavior to creating generative art. Utilizing the technology at our disposal will empower us to create unique designs that are both well-informed and delightful.

With a background developing products at LinkedIn, Booking.com, and now as Senior Product design lead at Microsoft, Allie has gained insights about leveraging UX skills in a machine learning-oriented environment. She aims to provide actionable frameworks for designers and product managers wanting to utilize machine learning that focuses on the holistic human experience.

Could you tell us a little bit about the project you’re currently working on at Microsoft?
– At Microsoft I'm currently working on the Autonomous Development Platform, a data management and AI-focused tool for enterprises in the autonomous driving vehicle space.

Having insight into the development of machine learning, what pros and cons can you see in the increased presence of AI in our everyday life?
– We'll dive into this inside my talk and workshop :) But at a high level, AI has so many positive impacts: anything from automation to creating user-focused experiences. More obvious cons include ethics, especially around privacy.

Do you have any advice for UX designers looking to lean more towards working with machine learning or AI?
– Absolutely! There are so many resources that can be utilized to better understand leveraging AI conceptually to create user-focused designs while also tactically using AI-based tools to experiment with new and innovative methods.

Finally, how does it feel to be a part of FBTB 2022? What are you looking forward to?
– One of the things I enjoy the most about conferences is the ability to meet IRL and exchange ideas and projects with designers from around the world. I'm excited to be doing this in Stockholm, one of the ultimate design capitals.

Don't miss out on Allie's talk at From Business to Buttons next year, make sure to get your ticket. Visit the website to see all the speakers announced so far: www.frombusinesstobuttons.com.