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The Design + AI Series


Monday, July 10, 2017 at 6:00 PM - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at 9:00 PM (PDT)

The Design + AI Series

Ticket Information

Ticket Type Sales End Price Fee Quantity
3-Day Pass Jul 10, 2017 $105.00 $3.62
Monday, July 10 Jul 10, 2017 $45.00 $2.12
Tuesday, July 11 Jul 10, 2017 $45.00 $2.12
Wednesday, July 12 Jul 10, 2017 $45.00 $2.12

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Event Details

3 Nights  •  6:00PM - 9:00PM • This event is for designers and anyone who works at the intersection of design and technology.

Learn to Build Better Products with AI

The Cascade SF team has been working hard to help designers prepare for the future of design jobs.

By learning about AI, designers can unite with automation to create a unique career path that fits within the marketplace. We don't want to fear the future of technology – we want to work with it to improve the quality of life and make it easier to accomplish our dreams.

This is a 2-track conference.  We're still adding more speakers to the lineup so stay tuned!

Monday, July 10, 2017
Day 1: AI, Bots & Emerging Technology


"Machine Learning for Everyone"
Roger Pincombe, Senior Full-Stack Software Engineer
Previously at Microsoft, Hired, Adobe, & many startups


AI and machine learning is getting all sorts of buzz, but what does it actually solve?  What does it do?  How does it work?  What problems can it be applied to?


In this presentation, Roger Pincombe, Machine Learning Expert and Software Engineer will teach us practical advice for applying machine learning to problems we deal with in the real world.  This talk is not overly technical and will help us understand:  

  • An overview of machine learning, basic concepts, and how they work

  • Different types of algorithms and real-world examples to match them

  • The difference between AI + machine learning

  • How AI works when we have more or less data


"Chatbots & Conversational UI"
Alexandra Lee, UX Researcher and Chatbot Designer



Chatbots are revolutionizing technology and simplifying the user experience. When designed properly, chatbots save us time, make recommendations, increase engagement and provide us with immediate access to what we're looking for.

In this presentation, we'll learn about best practices and techniques for designing chatbots. We'll also look at conversational design, character development, and communication etiquette.





"How AI is Transforming a Designer's Role"
Nick Velloff, Chief Product Officer at The Grid


Stay tuned for talk details!





Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Day 2: Ethics



Tragic Design”
Jonathan Shariat, Senior Interaction Designer at Intuit
& Author of “Tragic Design” (O’Reilly)

In this presentation, Jonathan Shariat, Author of “Tragic Design” will teach us about real case studies showcasing how design choices affect users.  You’ll learn about

  • How design affects emotions

  • Biases that occur in design

  • Dark patterns

  • How to advocate for ethical design when it isn’t easy

  • Designs that can kill, including the bad interface that doomed a young cancer patient

  • Tools and techniques to help you design a more thoughtful interface


"A Primer on Ethical Design Practices"
Faruk Ates, Product Designer


Designing ethical products involves genuine care about the people who use them. We can make the technology we create reflect our best selves by studying ethics, and borrowing concepts standardized across other industries. In this talk you will:   

  • Understand the unforeseen impacts of big data, algorithms, and technologies at scale
  • Learn how morality and ethics affect our industry
  • See how ethical design can benefit our field and, in turn, our customers and users
  • Discover unexpected sources of inspiration that can teach you about ethics in helpful, applicable ways



"Designing Smart Things:  Balancing Ethics & Choice"

Gretchen Anderson, Head of Design at PG&E

Gretchen Anderson explores the challenges we face when designing the user experiences of the complex behavioral agents that increasingly run our lives. You’ll learn how to:  

  • Understand current thinking by the AI community on ethics and morality in computing and the challenges it presents

  • Explore examples of the ethical choices that products make now and will make in the near future

  • Learn how designers might approach designing experiences that face moral dilemmas

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Day 3: Design & Defense

"The Future of Design Jobs with Automation"
Blake Hudelson, Interaction Designer at Method


As technology becomes smarter, the role of the designer is evolving. Software is gaining the ability to draw on its own, sort and choose captivating imagery, and handle the production work that designers do now. How will artificial intelligence and new software transform the role of the designer? Blake Hudelson, Interaction Designer at Method, will teach us. 


"How to Protect Yourself Online"
John Adams, Cybersecurity Engineer + Hacktivist

John Adams, former Twitter Security lead, will teach us how to protect our online identity and personal information in the world of online surveillance, data mining and hacking.


"Designing Security Software"  

Claudia Love, Product Design Manager at Cisco

Claudia Love from the Cisco Umbrella team will teach us new tools that protect enterprises from data hacks and leaks. She will also teach us about:

  • Challenges and complexities of designing online security software

  • How their design team is structured within a security-focused product.



More speakers to be announced! Stay tuned!
Interested in giving a talk? Email

Meet Our Speakers!

Nick Velloff

Nick Velloff
Chief Product Officer at TheGrid

Nick’s leadership at TheGrid focuses on where the vast forms of new and emerging technology meet the concept. His product leadership includes managing a global team of engineers leveraging machine learning and neural networks, complete automation of mobile release and test cycles alongside continuous integration, buttery smooth and responsive user interfaces backed by diverse and coordinated business logic. Nick helps to solve some of the most interesting and complex creative and technical problems in the industry.

As the technical lead and consultant at top agencies such as Deutsch LA, AKQA, R/GA, Sapient, Goodby / Silverstein & Partners,, Crispin, Porter & Bogusky among others, he lead breakthrough campaigns and platform work for brands such as Volkswagen, Microsoft Xbox, ESPN, Vitaminwater, Sony Playstation, Lexus, Hewlett-Packard, Adobe and Travelers Insurance.

Prior to his current role as CPO at TheGrid, he helped assemble and lead a large team of developers, engineers and creative specialists to launch the award winning consumer website, and was the lead technologist interfacing with both VWUS and VWAG marketing and IT clients. Nick also led the launch of the award winning Lexus LFA Global Campaign.

Some of the most interesting and complex campaign and platform work can be credited to Nick. He led the launch of the ESPN TV website, designed to provide viewers with a one-stop online destination for information on what's airing on the various ESPN networks.

Nick’s work has picked up honors from the Webby Awards for Online Advertising, ''US Campaign of the Year'' by Advertising Age magazine, "Best User Interface" in the 20th Annual Webby Awards, Best in Show at the MIXX IAB Awards, Nominated for a Cannes Lion, and won a Silver Addy, as well as a Webby Awards Official Honoree.

Alexandra Lee

Alexandra Lee, PhD
User Experience Researcher & Chatbot Designer

Alexandra Lee, @leejayeun, is a full stack user experience design researcher and chatbot connoisseur, specializing in social impact and innovations. Alexandra spent her formative years as a humanitarian architect, founding New Zealand's first non-profit service design agency whose primary mission was to make design accessible by connecting talented designers with community organizations.

Since moving to the Bay Area in 2014 to complete her post-doc at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design Research, Alexandra published her first book on research methods called, "Resilience by Design" (Springer: 2016), which explores the application of design thinking strategies in the context of social crisis. Alexandra now works with various startups and nonprofits to integrate chatbots into their product so that organizations can focus on their mission and improve user experience. Her goal for the next 30 years is to use her design research expertise to make technology more accessible and a friendly environment for people to reach their goals.

Roger Pincombe
Roger Pincombe
Senior Full-Stack Software Engineer
Previously at Microsoft, Hired, Adobe, & many startups

Roger Pincombe is a Senior Software Engineer with diverse technical and business skills. He has worked for notable companies including Microsoft and Adobe, took his own startup through Techstars Boulder, and regularly builds new projects for fun or freelance.

Roger studied Computer Science at the Georgia Institute of Technology and has over a decade of experience on the Microsoft stack in addition to several years of NodeJS and Ruby on Rails. He has won many awards, including over 15 hackathons and other competitions.

 Jonathan Shariat
Jonathan Shariat
Sr. Interaction Designer at Intuit & Author with O'Reilly Media

Jonathan is a design leader who is passionate about doing right by the people who use our products and using design as a tool to improve the world we live in. He loves to learn and share it through writing, speaking, co-hosting the Design Review Podcast, and on Twitter as @DesignUXUI. He is currently Sr. Interaction Designer at Intuit in Mountain View, CA.

Gretchen Anderson
Gretchen Anderson

Head of Design at PG&E

Gretchen Anderson is head of design for Pacific Gas & Electric, California’s energy utility. Gretchen spent the first part of her career in design consulting for firms like frog, Cooper, LUNAR, and Punchcut. Recently, she served as the vice president of product for GreatSchools and consulted on the design of the hardware and software of a next-generation surgical system. Gretchen is a Bay Area native who left only long enough to get a bachelor’s degree from Harvard in history and literature.


faruk ates


Faruk Ates
Product Designer, Developer & Diversity Advocate

Faruk Ateş (@KuraFire) is a product designer, developer, and advocate for diversity & inclusion in Tech. He created Modernizr, wrote A Dao of Product Design and Inclusive Design, and is currently writing a science fiction novel.



John Adams
John Adams

Security & Privacy Engineer & Activist
Founding member of Twitter's InfoSec Team

John Adams (@netik) is a security and privacy activist, and an independent consultant. He was the one of the founding members of Twitter’s operations team, and later, a founding member of Twitter’s Information Security team. He is also an independent security consultant and privacy advocate with over 25 years experience in Information Security, having had his start in security with the L0pht in the early 90’s.

In addition to this, he serves as a member of the Open Technology Fund Advisory Council and Rapid Response Team, supporting projects that empower world citizens to have access to modern communication channels that are free of restrictions.

He is a frequent speaker at universities, conferences, and is a contributor to publications on operations (O’Reilly Web Operations, O’Reilly Twitter API) and security (The Intercept, RSA Conference, Usenix LISA, Washington Post, Wired, and more.)


claudia love 

Claudia Love
Product Design Manager

Claudia leads the team of product designers and researchers behind Cisco Umbrella, the industry’s first Secure Internet Gateway in the cloud. Prior to joining the world of cyber security, she led the design of dozens of web, desktop, and mobile projects for a variety of customers including 3M, University of Missouri, Autodesk, and MoneyGram.


Blake Hudelson

Blake Hudelson
Interaction Designer for Emerging Technology

Blake Hudelson (@BlakeHudelson) is a designer working at the intersection of product design, strategy, and emerging technology. He has worked on mobile and web applications, IoT products, and interactive experiences for a range of clients including Google, the Exploratorium Science Museum, and the United States Government.

Blake is a frequent lecturer and mentor at California College of the Arts and UC Berkeley. As an architect turned product designer, he also co-founded the organization, Architechie, which helps people become more fluent in the realms of technology and entrepreneurship.

Currently, Blake works as a Senior Interaction Designer at Method, a global design firm headquartered in San Francisco. Blake received his M.S. from California College of the Arts in Architecture and his B.S. from Cal Poly in Urban Planning.



This event is produced by:


Cascade SF Logo


Cascade SF is a design and technology organization based in San Francisco, CA. 
Designers and mentors come together to teach each other the latest tips, tricks and techniques for designing apps and web sites.


Subscribe to our mailing list or join us at




Hosted and sponsored by: 
Located in SoMa, Galvanize San Francisco takes collaboration to a whole new level, with five floors of creators, innovators, and passionate learners. And don’t forget the rooftop, with gorgeous views of downtown and the San Francisco Bay. From events to workshops to the thriving startup ecosystem, our SoMa campus provides the opportunity to learn, connect and build your startup. This campus is full of energy, intelligence, and motivation – we welcome you to walk through these doors, join our community and be inspired to level up.

Interested in a shared workspace in San Francisco? Visit





Where can I contact the organizer with any questions?

E-mail Andi Galpern at with any questions you might have.

What is the refund policy?

All tickets are non-refundable and available on a first-come-first-served basis.


***This event was initially called "AI + The Future of Privacy". We still have many talks relating to protecting the privacy and security of the user. However, as we add more more content on chatbots, conversational UI, machine learning, and predictive technology, we want to make sure the title reflects the content.

Have questions about The Design + AI Series? Contact CASCADE SF

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When & Where

44 Tehama Street
San Francisco, CA 94107

Monday, July 10, 2017 at 6:00 PM - Wednesday, July 12, 2017 at 9:00 PM (PDT)

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Designing the Future Together

We connect designers with industry leaders to promote career growth and learn skills relative to the job market.

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