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July 22, 2022   |   Hive Thoughts

Will design be the last job humans have to do?

We like to talk design in our studio, especially on Thursdays. We even came up with a name for that—Odd Thursday. At one of these meetings, we asked a question, “Will design be the last job humans have to do?”, and now we’d like to share our thoughts with you. Well, we have more questions than answers 😄

Artificial intelligence is evolving rapidly, but it hasn’t yet replaced creative professionals. So far, it only assists them with monotonous and tedious chores. How soon will AI take designers’ jobs, and will it be capable of that?


“It depends on how far we look. AI hasn’t yet evolved enough to replace us completely. Most likely, human designers will be in demand, but their role will change, i.e. they will train AI to create designs. But designers will stay in charge of the creative part. As for UX, we’ll need to create interfaces for working with AI at the very least. That’s funny.”


“Computer is incapable of illogical, abstract thinking and matching the unmatchable. For example, will AI be able to create a logo with a double meaning? No doubts it can draw a logo, but the designer will still have to set the parameters for what should be matched. Humans are essentially illogical beings with certain innate randomness. Many inventions were totally accidental, and I doubt the computer will be able to spot occurrences like that and develop them into working prototypes. Most likely, AI will consider them as errors.”


“Design has many fields, and some of them are strongly tied to emotions. Most often, those are fields that originated in art, bringing the emotional component and sense of beauty into design. Think of any book illustration or children’s illustration, especially the one created in hand-drawn or computer-aided hand-drawn technique. I’m not sure if AI will be able to convey these emotions. Maybe one day there’ll be an algorithm capable of reading feelings and expressing them in drawings. But in the short run, it’s most likely to pull off creating icons, generative abstract patterns, and impressionist paintings.”


“I agree that AI will help us rather than replace us. Well, I’d like to believe that. AI is already handling everything related to analytics or big data sets and will keep doing so. It’s impossible to keep everything in your head or spend hours scrutinizing a database to conduct research. Most likely, there’ll be the need for designers with strong soft skills who’ll be able to explain to their clients why things should be this way and not some other way. The computer can’t persuade.”


“Speaking of sound design, AI is super likely to take over. Song structure and notes haven’t changed in centuries. And it won’t be a hard task for machine learning. Compositions involving a large number of instruments, like an orchestra, are something else. But even that’s a question of time.”


“Anyway, designers will need to give directions to AI and set the desirable style or format. Things like layout and adjustments for different sizes will be fully automated, and we’ll simply need to pick the right composition out of suggested options. It’d be great if humans weren’t involved in printing preparations at all. But what are the chances that printing will even be needed in the future?”

AI, like anything that has to do with the future, leaves more questions than answers (we warned you). Eventually, we agreed that our profession would be somewhat different. There’ll be design engineers, design managers, and design QA who’ll work with their customers using AI.

Many things will be automated, while designers will have more time for creative processes. But there’s a downside: the value of design may decrease as machine learning will make it mainstream. At the same time, end-users will question design, thinking it’s not unique, artificial, and simply not for them.

That’s when we’ll need designers who’ll improve AI and create better solutions. Or maybe we will witness the revival of handmade design. Who knows, who knows…

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