AI & design

3rd Apr 2019

AI & design

The artificial intelligence (AI) you see in futuristic sci-fi films has been steadily growing in real life. It's long past its first days playing checkers in the 1950s - in fact, Ai's integration into our society is getting pretty rapid. And it is starting to design. In truth, AI has been lurking for the past few years. We just haven't noticed nor realised. Social media is a prime example. The Facebook business page setup has everything a small business may need, providing them with all the basics. A majority of the websites you see are run by some type of framework.

And it's not something that could still just be a possibility. Things will start to become much more automated. But it doesn't have to be as scary as it sounds. It will most likely go hand-in-hand with the designer, rather than completely taking away their job. It's just going to be like an additional bit of software, making our lives easier rather than taking away our livelihoods (not to be dramatic about it).


The Grid's introduction into the website design world demonstrates the initial panic felt amongst designers. It completely takes out the need for a human hand, allowing the user to design everything. Everything. And its pitch promised the world - you can't really blame designers for getting a little stressed. Ultimately, there are still teething problems and the technology is not quite there yet for what The Grid guaranteed. These AI website builders will evolve and develop, but everyone can relax in the meantime.  


AI has already done some design work - just look at Nutella. In Italy, an algorithm created seven million different designs for limited editions of the jars, all pulled from the data of previous patterns and colours. Called Nutella Unica, each buyer would have had their own unique jar and they all, of course, sold out rather quickly.


In this sense, right now, AI can be a sellable gimmick for companies - it's not everyday a machine not only designs a label, but makes every single one of the seven million one-of-a-kind. Yes, it's innovative and cool, but what about the future, when it's a regular occurance? Will it still have that je ne sais quoi? I guess we'll have to see.


There's also the argument that AI-driven design is lacking the human element - it can't conjure up empathy, relate to the audience it's designing for and create a story. Yes, it's more intelligent than your average computer, but it still doesn't have the emotions of a human (obviously). That's one thing we are still useful for.


Chances are, the time when AI completely takes over won't be any time in the immediate future. And when it comes, I guess we'll just have to adapt. We're pretty good at that sort of thing. Plus, we can just get it to do the jobs we don't want to do as designers (I'm sure it won't mind). And let's be honest, as far as technology has come even within the last decade, it can still crash and break. So I think we're safe from AI-driven designs for a little bit longer.

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