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Will A.I. Take Over Design?


The recent strides in artificial intelligence (A.I.) have demonstrated that we are only on the cusp of a techtonic shift in technology. Once quantum computing becomes more readily accessible, A.I. applications will transform everyday life like never seen before. Neural networks are changing everything from music to healthcare. What is A.I. impacting in design and art?

A couple of months ago, OpenAI’s DALL-E-2 was exhibited showing written phrases and sentences transformed into incredibly accurate AI generated images and art. Now, Google has taken this step further with their aptly named app, Imagen. This is not currently available, but it will be soon. How it will be used and to what degree it will be allowed in consumer application is unknown as of this publish date.

In reviewing Google’s sample images, the results are stunning. The degree of photorealism and accuracy, along with a deep level of machine learning to create relevant context, is a game-changer. Imagen could strike a possible death blow to many facets of the design industry, most notably the use of stock image sites, conceptual artists, and many photographers.

If a Creative Director can say, “Give me an animated octopus reading a newspaper” and Imagen can create five different renditions of the concept, and the concepts are high quality, striking, and versatile, there could be negative consequences for artists and illustrators. Spoken instructions that create results have wide-ranging implications that are exciting and troubling.

Will there be such a saturation of digital “art” that can be created in a few seconds and thus reduce the need for hand-made art? It evokes the days of the traditional illustrations done on animation cells becoming extinct with the advent of digital artboards.

In a traditional illustration model, the sample below of the Octopus would require hours of work. As with anything, the market will determine what is viable. Many professionals may become a proverbial blacksmith trying to get new business at the Apple Store. Advancements turn trades into yesteryear’s relics. Is design next? Is art next? NFTs? Will an untrained user who knows nothing of design principles be able to give a few prompts and the A.I will layout a page without a single click of a mouse and with results that are professional looking and in context? The likely answer is, “yes.”

As more adoption occurs as consumers handle more and more design functions (such as Canva), a career in design will be most successful for those who think strategically, have fresh creative ideas, find their niche, and know how to flow with the changes in our rapidly evolving culture. We must continually reinvent ourselves or die. Like the Blacksmith who made his last shoe and had to change to another profession, designers will have to keep pivoting to remain relevant.

Some things to consider:

  1. Keep a professional journal of new ideas, regardless of your wheelhouse.
  2. Stay current on A.I. progress and be prepared to jump in with applications as advancements become available.
  3. Be original. Be authentic. The world has a lot of digital noise. Nothing can replace authenticity…even a robot. Well….not yet!

© 2022 Steven Tyrrell / Tyrrell Creative

Part II Coming Soon