Technically Speaking
Technically Speaking with Harrison Wheeler
Demystifying AI: Hype, Consumption, and Creation of Powerful Products with Aastha Gaur

Demystifying AI: Hype, Consumption, and Creation of Powerful Products with Aastha Gaur

Aastha, Director of Product Design at Google, joins us again in this engaging podcast that covers the world of AI at the intersection of customer engagement. In this episode, we cover valuable insights into its definition, the reasons behind its current hype, and the crucial distinction between consuming and creating AI-powered products.

We explore the societal shift from initial resistance and fear towards new technologies to their eventual acceptance and integration into daily life.

Drawing from her experience leading the customer engagement team at Google, Aastha explores the differences between the technology-forward approach versus the customer-back approach strategy in user experience, emphasizing the importance of research, personalization, and AI principles in achieving full-on experience design.

She also sheds light on Google's North Star, the overarching goal that ensures the optimal use of technology, and discusses the pros and cons of the technology-first approach.

Tune in to hear Aastha's deep dive into understanding what is real when it comes to today’s latest tech buzz - Artificial Intelligence! Get ready to be inspired by all that she has shared.

About the Guest:

Aastha Gaur is Google's UX Leader for Customer Engagement. Her team uses sales, support, and marketing for advertisers to elevate the customer experience for Google's business. As a designer, she has worked at boutique design studios and big corporations. Through Leading with Mindfulness, Intuition, Creativity, and Compassion, she brings her experience designing for consumers and enterprise into her passion.

Her values are: Invest in people since focusing on each unique individual makes for a stronger, more connected team; inspire through craft because practicing their art with obsessive attention to detail and deep knowledge of the business earns them the trust and respect of their partners; and Xfn team first since their goals and their PM+Eng partners' goals are the same: No walled gardens.

She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Anurag, and their two dogs, Gustave and Rumi. She is a trained yoga and fitness instructor who used to co-own a yoga and fitness studio. Her favorite photography subjects are humans together, badass women doing badass things, and bloopers. A total Jungalow fan, she loves to decorate with plants. Her favorite way to de-stress is to play with her boys, Gustave and Rumi, who enjoy learning new tricks.

Connect with Aastha Gaur:


(02:26) - Past and current obsessions: A quick update on her pole-dancing studio, the language she's trying to teach herself because of a reality TV show, and her unique approach to photography

(04:57) - What AI is, why there is so much hype around it now, and the difference between consumption and creation of products using the power of AI

(07:45) - The shift from initial resistance and fear towards new technologies into acceptance and daily life integration and its natural progression that starts with younger generations as early adopters 

(10:15) - Real talk: AI as a threat to livelihood vs. a tool to help enhance work

(14:03) - How she leads the customer engagement team at Google by doing sales, support, and marketing for advertisers, and the difference between AI and deterministic technology

(20:22) - Technology-forward approach vs. customer-back approach in user experience

(23:50) - Full-on experience design with design, research, conversation, content, strategy, and branding coming together through research, personalization, and AI principles using PAIR with Google.

(26:43) - Google's North Star, its overall goal that ensures the best use of technology, and the pros and cons of the technology-first approach

(31:29) - Ethical AI model training using second and third-party data

(33:32) - Aastha’s top 3 AI tips

  1. Separate the hype from the reality of AI by becoming knowledgeable about the technology and its applications through various resources such as academic papers, technology products, and Twitter threads

  2. Skill up in the core concepts of AI, including machine learning, by taking online courses, watching videos, and having a basic understanding of the technology

  3. Form your own point of view on AI by trying products and exploring the unknown unknowns, such as ethical concerns and differences between AI and traditional personalization


  1. Learn more about the resources, podcasts, and community.


  3. Support the Technically Speaking podcast by becoming a patron.

  4. Get early access to episodes and free swags by becoming a supporter.


  6. Access the Glossary here:

  7. Buy merch here:


  9. Contact me by filling out this form:


  11. Leave your rating and review on Apple here:


  13. Visit the dance and fitness studio Aastha used to co-own:


  15. Watch the I, Robot trailer:


  17. Learn more about PAIR, Google’s multidisciplinary team that explores the human side of AI:


Connect With Me:

Technically Speaking
Technically Speaking with Harrison Wheeler
Technically Speaking is a podcast by Harrison Wheeler about BIPOC designers, entrepreneurs & technologists sharing their unique stories of triumph and resilience at the intersection of product design.