Artificial intelligence and the future of design: what will happen to designers by 2025?

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Artificial intelligence and the future of design: what will happen to designers by 2025?
Artificial intelligence and the future of design: what will happen to designers by 2025?

Naked Science publishes a translation of Rob Girling's article on the future of the design profession and the place of AI in it.


For anyone who doubts that artificial intelligence has entered our daily lives, the New York Times recently reported that Carnegie Mellon University plans to establish a research center dedicated to the ethics of artificial intelligence. Harvard Business Review began developing strategies for using AI for management, and CNBC began analyzing the stocks of promising companies involved in the development of artificial intelligence.

However, this short-term surge of optimism did not help me to shake off my fears. This year my daughter went to college to study Interaction Design. As I began researching the impact of AI on design, I wondered what advice I could give my daughter and a whole generation of future designers to help them not only maintain their relevance to the profession, but also succeed in the AI ​​world.

And this is what, in my opinion, they should be ready for in 2025.

Anyone can become a designer

Most design professions today require creativity and high levels of social intelligence. This requires empathy, problem formulation, creative problem solving, negotiation, and persuasion. Primarily due to the introduction of artificial intelligence, an increasing number of non-professionals will have the opportunity to develop their creativity and social intelligence in order to increase their competitiveness. Indeed, in the Harvard Business Review article I mentioned earlier, managers are encouraged to try themselves more often as designers.

For designers themselves, this means that not only creative professionals will be taught to use the category of "design thinking" in their work. Designers will lose (if they once possessed it) the undeniable status of "the most creative person in the company." To stay competitive, they will have to upgrade their skills and master interdisciplinary fields, which in turn can lead to the emergence of increasingly exotic specializations. Imagine a classroom where a “design thinking” instructor is constantly testing new interaction tools to improve the quality of education. Or the design chief physician, whose task is to change the procedure for initial hospitalization so that it is more effective, understandable and contributes to the improvement of the patient's condition. This trend can be seen today: The Seattle Mayor's Administration has created an innovative unit responsible for finding solutions to urgent problems. The strategy of the department is customer-oriented design, and the team includes designers and marketers.

For over a decade, Stanford School of Design has been developing creative intelligence in people without a design background. New training programs are emerging, such as Integrated Design and Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Even medical schools are starting to introduce courses in design thinking. These innovations are indicative of the growing demand for design, but they also allow educators to incorporate elements of creative thinking and customer-centric web design into the curriculum.

From creators to curators

I've already written about how tools like Autodesk Dreamcathcer use algorithmic programming techniques to create a more abstract interface. Given the parameters, constraints, goals and the formulated problem that needs a solution, these programs can generate hundreds of design variations - designers will only have to choose the ones they like best or continue changing the settings until they get the option that suits them.

The consequences of such a scheme vary depending on the scope of their application. In architecture, the parametric movement, called Parametricism 2.0, clearly demonstrates the potential of creative thinking, supported by appropriate technologies. The effect of their application is being actively studied in the gaming industry, where virtual spaces and large virtual cities are created using algorithms. Just look at the game No Man's Sky - the action in it takes place in a deterministic model of an open Universe generated using an algorithm, numbering a quintillion (1.81019) planets. Despite the fact that No Man's Sky failed as a game, it set the direction that will sooner or later become dominant in the development of virtual content - the role of the designer will be reduced to the formulation of tasks, parameters and restrictions, followed by verification and debugging of automatically generated content.

Automatic generation technologies can hardly be called something new, but deep reinforcement learning is a relatively new system (3-4 years ago) and has largely contributed to the growth in the number of developments and a surge of enthusiasm for AI as a discipline. DeepMind, a Google-created company, has developed an artificial intelligence system called Deep Q, which uses deep reinforcement learning technologies for self-improvement while playing on the Atari console. Over time, the system has developed a mastery of detecting previously unknown loopholes in the games available for this console.

However, the real breakthrough for Deep Q and its predecessor AplhaGO - a computer program that plays an electronic version of the board game go - is that the AI ​​lacks subject knowledge or expert gaming skills. Moreover, he does not need the developer to codify the rules of the game. These systems have only a visual input signal, a control panel and the task to score the maximum number of points. This goal makes games ideal for testing the learning ability of artificial intelligence.

But what happens to the design? It is at this stage that the curator comes into play. In the future, designers will teach their AI systems to solve design problems by creating models based on the parameters they specify. For example, over the years in the healthcare industry, Artefact has developed a framework that addresses the key design challenges in the healthcare industry for changing patient behavior. I can well imagine that one day we will have enough information to start changing behavioral patterns and challenge artificial intelligence to develop a system that can cope with problems such as confirmation bias. per.) and lack of empathy.

The era of mega-popular designers

Since AI-powered parametric design allows designers to quickly and relatively easily create millions of design variations, the productivity of most of the industry will skyrocket. There will come a point in the future when we suddenly acquire the ability to analyze an impressive array of alternatives millions of times faster than we do today.With increased productivity and improved technology, it will be easier for self-taught designers to create works that meet minimum requirements - and perhaps exceed them - which could affect the pricing of professionals in this area.

Despite the fact that the number of obstacles to learning and mastering this profession will decrease, most likely, nothing threatens super-professionals. We already saw similar trends in print and graphic design in the 90s. The advent of desktop publishing helped drive out the lower end of the market. However, thanks to them, interest in the product of the design industry has increased, which has increased the demand and demand for the best representatives of the profession. Until AI is able to amaze us with some innovative ideas, successful professionals and companies investing in them will continue to dominate the market, adding value to brands.

From traditional to virtual forms of design

Cynics may argue that many will flee to virtual reality due to the fact that a large number of people are being laid off due to the transfer of a number of functions to artificial intelligence systems, which will increase the demand for virtual worlds, objects and services. Hopefully we can avoid this dystopian turn of events, but as the possibilities of virtual, augmented and mixed reality deplete, it will become the next frontier of design possibilities.

The difficulties that arise (how to ensure interpersonal interaction in virtual reality, how to experience and share them) are not only unique for the new space, but also require the use of creative skills and social intelligence - qualities that make it quite difficult to entrust this type of work to the system artificial intelligence.

In addition, virtual worlds can spark an increase in demand for more traditional designs: architecture, interior design, item design, and fashion.

The future of humanity will depend on the development of AI

By making my understanding of how AI begins to do our design work clearly, I may have done AI a disservice by downplaying its contributions to the profession. Working together, humans and artificial intelligence can achieve great results that they would never have achieved alone - just give the example of Michael Hansmeier's unimaginable forms. These multifaceted forms cannot be created by humans on their own, but they exist and can radically change the digital architecture.

Of course, this is just one example, but you must agree: finding ways to activate our creativity as individuals and professionals has an undeniable appeal. I can quite imagine a future where AI plays the role of a personal assistant, equipped with a deep understanding of our motivations, heroes and what inspires us. They could evaluate our work, offer useful ideas and ways of professional self-improvement. The world will become a place where special bots can provide us with different points of view on a problem and different approaches to solving it. Where simulations of real users test the products we have developed: they test their performance under various conditions and propose adjustments even before the prototype turns into a working model. Where the A / B test algorithms are constantly looking for opportunities to make even microscopic changes to improve the design quality.

Artificial intelligence not only does not destroy web design as a profession, but also provides tremendous opportunities for developers - especially those involved in creating mechanisms for interacting with new AI systems.How will new artificial intelligence systems be created? How will smart grid services and platforms of the future be designed? How do you build these systems to foster creativity, real-world engagement, and humanity? This list of questions about the use of artificial intelligence is endless - as well as the list of opportunities that it provides to us and future generations.

The original article in English is available here.

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