Embracing AI

Whether we like it as a tool or fear that it might steal our jobs, Artificial Intelligence is here to stay in all its manifestations and permutations. In fact, in one year from now, AI will be doing things, enabling actions, and disrupting businesses in ways we cannot begin to fathom right now.

Many in the experiential industry are afraid AI platforms like Midjourney and ChatGPT are going to render their businesses moot, but Thinkwell embraces Artificial Intelligence. Why? It’s quite simple.

Art is communication. Design is providing solutions. Building projects is hard.

Some in our field have pivoted to using AI as a means to get work done faster and cheaper. We use AI as a tool to inspire new takes on our communication tools and empower our artists, designers, and writers to lend new perspectives on our work or serve as a design inspiration tool.

It’s easy to stop there. Let’s be clear about what is going to happen right now. Clients will be coming to us with their own ideas, generated by AI. They will have their own pitch decks with grand art and straightforward narratives, showcasing a vision for what they would like their new project to be. By all appearances, this suggests that what we do (develop a strategy and approach, come up with the grand vision, then execute) becomes completely devalued, as clients could say, “Look, we’ve already developed the big idea. We don’t need your ‘Blue Sky’ phase any longer.”

Whether this is true or not doesn’t really matter. There are two adages that are true in this situation:

  1. Perception is 9/10ths of a person’s reality.
  2. The client is always right.

You could probably add a third: Clients want to save money.

So where do we go from here? For TAIT + Thinkwell we don’t even have to pivot. We are already the largest independent experiential design and production company in the world. With our team of seasoned, passionate creators, 1200 engineers, and one million square feet of fabrication space worldwide, we have the capability to turnkey deliver virtually any project.

AI will empower our clients to “pre-vis” their projects, aspirations, and big ideas. That’s amazing. Now TAIT + Thinkwell can bring those AI-fuelled “Blue Sky” concepts to life–while we continue to validate those big ideas by bringing our acumen and decades of experience to the strategic development, functionality, throughput, engineering, detailed design, buildability, budgeting, scheduling, and in-field direction, programming, and completion to our client’s projects. With hundreds of projects opened successfully around the world pleasing more than 430 million people, we know how to bring big ideas to life.

Artificial Intelligence is a tool that brings the power of pre-visualization into the hands of all. How those aspirations get brought to life still requires the best wetware on the planet: skilled, experienced humans.

Trend Report Deep Dive: A Look at The Bias In Artificial Intelligence

The rapid development of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) has opened a window in time to discuss, debate, and dream of the many ways this technology could impact all aspects of our life. Being on the precipice of an era where machines can emulate human intelligence is also cause for reflection on questions and issues around what it means to be human.

The 6th Annual Thinkwell Trend Report isn’t just about the future possibilities of A.I. technologies within location-based experiences, but also about the realities and challenges that face the people that use A.I. The survey and report were created during a challenging year which laid bare many of the ways in which different human identities can lead to vastly divergent lived experiences. We saw evidence of deep divisions and conflicts along racial, social, socio-economic and gendered lines in recurrent marches and protests, in disturbing revelations of harassment and assault, in the way a worldwide pandemic proved disproportionately deadly based on age, ethnicity, and socio-economic status, and the continuing and widening gap between different economic groups. 

For these reasons we felt it was important that this Guest Experience Trend Report on Artificial Intelligence include questions within its survey of over 1,300 people that could evaluate the ways that race, gender, and age can influence one’s general attitude towards (and direct experiences with) emerging A.I. technologies. The results from this set of survey questions were then summarized in two Data Analysis articles accompanying the main trend report.

  • Bias in A.I. – How have different people experienced bias in A.I. technologies, and how would they suggest addressing the issue?
  • Generation Gaps – To what degree does age determine attitudes towards A.I. technologies?


Among some of the key findings of these reports:

  • Racial identity of respondents contributed up to a 15% difference in reported first-hand experience of bias, as well as general concern about bias in A.I. technologies. 
    • Asians reported both the most concern and direct experience, while white respondents reported the least.
  • Men and women exhibited similar levels of concern about Artificial Intelligence bias. Men were more positive about reporting personal examples of bias they experienced than women, who were more uncertain about their experiences of potential bias.
  • Younger people were both more concerned about the challenges of A.I. (and supportive of regulating this technology), yet were also more optimistic about its future benefits than people from older generations.


The implications of this data should have a profound effect on the process of designing for social experiences that involves A.I. technology. For example, facial recognition technologies have been touted for their ability to provide more personalized, seamless, or interactive guest experiences, yet emerging evidence of their uneven performance across ranges of skin tone and race- or gender-linked facial characteristics may unfairly target or exclude certain guests. Additionally, the very presence of this technology may trigger or enhance existing concerns of guests. The data also suggests that younger audiences in particular may demand more transparency about how A.I. technologies are used as part of the guest experience.

Being anti-bias requires a proactive approach. We at Thinkwell believe that inclusive design must engage every member of the design and development team, and that the team must include people of diverse backgrounds, identities, and viewpoints at all levels of seniority within the company structure. To be proactive in this belief, Thinkwell has established its own Diversity & Inclusion Council. The Council is tasked with continuing to identify not just challenges, but possible solutions, and with the goal of continuing to empower diverse voices within our company and within our industry. A small but important aspect of that empowerment includes collecting the data necessary to better understand and work against racism, sexism, and ageism within the experience design industry, a task that the Trend Report helps to further illuminate.

Thinkwell Group’s 6th Annual Guest Experience Trend Report: Artificial Intelligence

Thinkwell’s 6th Annual Guest Experience Trend Report, released today, explores artificial intelligence (A.I.) and its applications in experiences, breaking down key takeaways and predictions for how A.I. can affect, adapt, and improve the guest experience in museums, theme parks, and beyond. With the prevalence of virtual assistants, smart home devices, and smart digital features in everyday life, the A.I. revolution is already here for consumers. At the same time, A.I. is also becoming more involved in our experiences, and there’s no shortage of ideas for what A.I. can achieve and contribute to the guest experience. 

With input from a representative sample of more than 1,300 survey respondents, Thinkwell’s 6th Annual Guest Experience Trend Report breaks down three ideas around the guest experience and integration with A.I., while also exploring the rising demand for technology and personalization. 

Three Big Ideas for A.I.:

  • Physical queues are waiting for obsolescence. What does this mean for the entire experience?
  • Guests want to make discoveries. A smart guide can help.
  • A.I. is about getting personal. What happens when you’re able to combine human and artificial intelligence for personalized interactions and service? 

“The potential to use A.I. for guest, brand, and operator benefit is limitless,” says Craig Hanna, Thinkwell’s Chief Creative Officer. “Thinkwell is focused on providing innovative, practical, and inclusive solutions to enhance the guest experience in any setting, and A.I. can play a big role in guest experiences and technology decisions as we look to the future.”

For Thinkwell’s insights, data highlights, and predictions on the future of artificial intelligence and guest experience, read the full report here.