Perspective on AI within Design

Aaron Sirico | 1-27-2024

The article “Design is Dead. And we have killed it.” written by Michael Buckley, is a fatalistic perspective on artificial intelligence and design. Buckley's pessimistic take on Ai takes it as far as quoting “ AI is similar to the invention of the atomic bomb in that the world was a darker place after its creation.” Buckley uses this quote because he feels that AI's power is unknown to the human race. But we know what Ai can do. The power and versatility of Ai is able to complete entire jobs that people are earning salaries from right now. Buckley feels that this is going to be a detriment to our society because these people are going to lose their jobs to Ai. I want to pose a different perspective on this, one that Buckleys article overlooks. The main variable not discussed in the article is time. How much time is it going to take for Ai to completely render out people from their jobs. For the people who currently have Design jobs and are cemented in the industry they are going to have work until the end of their career. Ai is young, growing quick, but not as mature as Buckley's article perceives. For the new incoming designers they have time to adapt. Not only to adapt their design skills but adapt to what they are designing. Buckley mentions a common user experience of searching for green tea. Buckley's scenario states:

“After reading a few articles about the health benefits of green tea, users migrate to their favorite online shopping platform. They search for green tea and are faced with dozens, if not hundreds, of choices. They may filter by rating, price, and even package design. Once confident with a selection, items are added to a cart and purchased”

-Buckley


This is a classic mundane user experience that is even more repetitive for a designer. Every designer faces the issue of wanting to make it look new, yet trying to not reinvent the wheel. This is the job Buckley is afraid is going to go away. It's work and without work then we have no living. Yet it is hard for me to grasp that designers are becoming designers so they can repeat these mundane user experience loops. Designer become designers so they can reinvent the wheel. They want to create something new, something a user wants to experience not has to experience. I feel that Ai will open new possibilities for Designers to reach beyond the mundane tasks. To create new experiences on the web, on our phones, in our everyday lives that we have not yet seen. I believe we have a new era emerging. In the Documentary Stutz that follows Jonah Hill and his therapist's relationship, there is a key take away that I'd like to reference. To loosely paraphrase Phil Stutz who is Hill's therapists he states that in life everyone has to deal with three things. Constant work, pain, and uncertainty. Work for most can bring pain into our lives. We have to deal with work and put up with the mundane tasks. What if those tasks are taken care of though. Then you can use your work to lessen your pain. This is doable through using our constant work as an outlet to work on what we want to. In this optimistic view of how Ai will affect our society in the future we have to trust in ourselves more. Trust in larger companies to give us work but to make work for ourselves. Designers are not the only industry being affected by the emergence of artificial intelligence. It is happening everywhere. The perspective I want our society to have going into this future is not that we are losing work. It is that we are being freed from the constraints of everyday mundane tasks, so we can work on ourselves more.