Is AI here to steal my job?

Artificial intelligence (AI) image generators are all the rave right now. The DALL-E generator is a machine learning model developed by OpenAI to generate digital images from natural language descriptions.

Some designers are even using more advanced generators, like the DALL-E 2, as a replacement for illustrators. These generators look for shape, color, texture and pattern anomalies in millions of images, and then use that compounded data to produce new images with sometimes incredibly accurate results.

AI doesn’t think puppies are cute

No matter how incredible the generator is at emulating a style, creating new images, or making visual connections, it cannot make empathetic and human-centered decisions. It may be able to create something that will win an art contest, but it is only formulating information it is being fed. It also still requires a human to analyze the pieces that it produces; not all of the artistic decisions it makes will be correct. 

In fact, the artist that won a contest recently using AI said he went through ten thousand generated images per entry. That ability to look at something and have it feel familiar or to invoke an emotional reaction is innately human. A generator like DALL-E doesn’t look at an illustration of a puppy and think it is cute: it simply sees complex patterns and shapes that form the basis for what a puppy should look like. 

Design is human-centered. When a cup is designed, it’s designed to fit in your hand: to feel comfortable, not too top heavy, the lip isn’t sharp, the handle fits well with three fingers, maybe there’s a small dimple in the side for your thumb to grasp the cup. All of these traits are impossible for an artificial intelligence generator like DALL-E to apply. The ability our brains have to make subconscious and sometimes involuntary decisions is something that AI is yet to emulate.

AI is not here to steal your job…yet

Just like early type-setters were convinced that sans serif fonts would cause brain damage because there were no humanistic traits remaining in the letterforms, some design thinkers today are a little scared of the possibilities that AI may have and what it may mean for their profession. Creative thinkers need to embrace AI as a tool. Photoshop took over film sheet photo manipulation techniques and the Macintosh replaced traditional typewriters. New tools will always appear on the scene and change the landscape of the design process. 

Artificial Intelligence can’t make empathy-based design decisions. It can’t choose the next concept that will win over millions of people. A generator might provide a bank of possible solutions but the task of understanding the ever-evolving nuances of the problem will still belong to the designer. Still, it is a time saving option for quickly generating concepts or illustrations, and the novelty of the art itself might be a selling point.

Adding artificial intelligence generation technology to your tool box is a smart move. Do you want to learn more about how to use AI to your advantage? Send us an email at hello@thekingagency.com