Will AI/ML replace designers in the future?
Artificial intelligence (AI) has become an over-hyped buzzword in many areas, including the design profession. Designers and developers are now debating the future implications of AI, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning. How few jobs may be affected by VR, AR, and MR (virtual, augmented, and mixed realities).
Will machines and algorithms be able to take my job away from me? Is it true that I spent my life studying to be a designer only to lose my career because of some code? Did a computer generate 20 different designs for a design that would take me a week to complete? These are some of the questions that can linger in a young designer’s mind.
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With the growing presence of machines and algorithms, it’s challenging to be a professional human nowadays. Every day, sensationalized headlines about the future of technology and how it will alter what it means to be skilled are published.
Even creative abilities are vulnerable to algorithms, but there is a great need for competent individuals, and employers aren’t looking to hire robots just yet.
Artificial intelligence and algorithms, on the other hand, are already available and may be found in today’s advanced gadgets.
So, while AI will eventually replace designers, it will do so for today’s designers rather than tomorrow’s. Designers will be able to leverage AI as a creative partner and tool to fulfill ever-changing workplace demands.
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Designers are not being replaced by robots. At least, not in the foreseeable future.
The vast majority of jobs that robots might take over will be blue-collar jobs in the next decade or so. Drivers, receptionists, scribes, and other professionals do monotonous jobs that can be automated. Then would come all the positions where you need to apply rules without being creative: engineering, lawyers, accountant where machines will be able to propose 20 or hundreds of different solutions to a problem in a few seconds. Humans will only be needed to select the best one according to context. Thus drastically reducing the need for human resources.
Things are a little more complicated when it comes to Design.
Design is about foreseeing the future, jumping forward in time, and looking for what is needed next. Humans have the unique capacity to anticipate what’s coming and how things would evolve. Machines are not yet capable of this. Yes, they are outstanding in using probabilities to “guess.” But they are not yet able to put designs into context and elicit empathy from users. This is still needed to be done by Humans and will remain for a few decades more.
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For now, AI can help us get faster sketches and renderings (vizcom), AI can help us finalize complex textures and landscape arts (Nvidia GAUgan). Generate hundreds of new shapes. But humans are still in control of the creative process; AI remains just an impressive super-efficient tool. But still only a tool.
It will allow designers to go faster on the production phases by automating monotonous activities, finding more time for understanding, empathizing, and focusing more on the strategic aspects of the design process. This will lead to projects being more relevant and creating more personalized experiences.
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The truth is that designers and AIs are increasingly likely to collaborate in the near future to co-create.
Technology in the past made us stronger and faster. AI will make us smarter.
But designer and creative jobs will not be taken over by machines yet.