There is a growing concern about technology, artificial intelligence, and how it could replace humans in the future. Popular culture, including movies, depict AI rebellions against the human race. Therefore, it is natural to be concerned about whether AI will be a curse or a blessing to the world. Here, I want to share my thoughts on what designers can hope for with advancing AI. I believe that designers can use AI technology to complement their own creativity and allow AI to take care of tasks that are repetitive or require pattern recognition.  

There was a time when movie posters were hand-painted, typography was done using handwritten calligraphy and block printing. Then came the digital age with printers and computers, which evolved design and opened it up to new dimensions. It made the process faster and the designs more polished. It created jobs with new skills. Change is inevitable and with advancing technology, there will be a change in tools. The best way is to adapt and accept the inevitability of a changing and evolving technology. If there are new tools, there are new opportunities, new methods, and new ways to do things. 

Design and AI: Companions or Competitors?

When we talk about designers, I feel that artificial intelligence will act more like a companion than a competitor. This is because the design is a subjective discipline that caters to a person’s artistic and aesthetic requirements while being faithful to their own thought process. Although AI could produce a good set of designs, it cannot instill a human element of creativity and the flaws associated with it. Such a design cannot be tailored for each individual.

Design requires social skills and human interaction. There are many repetitive tasks that a designer performs which can be easily automated and made more efficient with the help of AI-Powered design tools. Tools like Autodesk Dreamcatcher, The Grid, and Adobe Sensei are few such examples.

Design can reach great lengths if we combine the strength of the two. The strength of AI includes speed, efficiency, and the ability to intelligently predict repetitive patterns. The use of AI can therefore significantly reduce the time taken to create a design. If the AI can sense the pattern in which a designer works, it can tailor and customize an efficient workspace for the designer making repeatedly used tools and features more easily accessible. AI is gaining popularity not only in the digital design industry but also in interior design, fashion design, automobile design, and many more.

When AI is fed with the right input, it can help in the creation of multiple variations of a given design in seconds. AI can help the designer by helping them identify the core components of their design and perhaps suggest edits for issues like alignment and white space calculations. Given that AI can present an output after processing vast amounts of data, it can help in classifying or even recognizing various design elements. Ultimately, the job of AI is to basically make the job easier for the designer, making the best working conditions accessible to get the best of their creativity. Moreover, AI is cost-effective, since it could last for a long time after an initial investment. 

Can designers be replaced?

The most unique element about humans is empathy. Humans have the ability to understand and interpret emotions and effectively respond to them which makes them irreplaceable for jobs that require subjective human interaction. Humour, love, compassion are elements of emotions that a designer can infuse into their work of art that AI cannot replicate. Or even if they ever could replicate, it would be devoid of any emotional value.

Humans are more effective than AI specifically in cases of soft skills like interpersonal communication. Humans are capable of evaluating a specific design from an ethical and moral point of view instead of sticking to a given set of rules. Since each situation is unique and complex, humans are best fit to make ethical decisions adapting to time and context. Humans are capable of creating original designs since originality is only possible when humans do something different, including making human errors.

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