Design is for humans

How AI and machine learning are toxic for the design industry

Britney Spears saw this coming in 2003
Screenshot from the movie ‘AI’
“We both feel that you should make the logo bigger”

AI is toxic for the design industry…

My position is that this technology will fail to address or ameliorate any of the key aspects of modern product design. It’s a bunch of answers to a bunch of problems that don’t exist.

Digital design is an analogue process

Technology has afforded the democratisation of design, which in some cases has been great, its lowered the barrier to design (production), yet resulted in a framework-style approach to design process and execution.

Adobe Illustrator logo
The only AI a designer ever needed

Too many cooks

Everyone knows the more people you throw at a design problem, the worse it can get. ‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’. You cant just ‘apply’ an AI to ‘fix’ a layout, or finesse some login screens or a signup process in an app.

Design does not need more technology

Empathy

One of the core tenets of Human Centred Design is empathy. You cannot design for a user unless you can try to understand their needs, and what problems you need to solve.

Terminator meme
Kyle Reece knew back in the 80's
Animated gif from the movie Robocop. You have 15 seconds to comply
“Karen from marketing has asked me to get you to make the logo bigger”

Bias

Machine learning bias, also known as algorithm bias or Artificial Intelligence bias, refers to the tendency of algorithms to reflect human biases.

From zero to (Nazi) zero in 24 hours
Meme about racist AI
Ouch

Marketing

Marketing and design are like oil and water. In many large organisations the design is still governed by the marketing department.

Screenshot from the movie ‘Apocalypse Now’
I’m out, bitches.

Recruitment

The design recruitment industry is a mixed bag, there are some really lovely people who work their asses off to place good designers with good positions. There are also some terrible ones, who are fuelled by the toxic fallacy of financial incentives and have no real understanding of the nuances of design as a profession. Put simply, hiring designers is not the same as hiring ANY OTHER profession. We are special. We cant be defined by regular vocational categorisation.

Copywriting

Copywriting, and UX writing, are both extremely important sectors of product design, and talented writers are highly sought after.

AI *hates* humans

Issac Asimov’s three laws of robotics state:

AI is aware it is not human

Also, I literally just asked it, and this is what it replied with:

ChatGPT screengrab
This is exactly what a computer would say right before it stole your job
ChatGPT screengrab
* spits out hazelnut flat white * Absolute scenes!

Product design needs more human TALENT

Design is about problem solving, and the main problem with product design is not enough *real* human talent. AI can’t fix this.

ChatGPT screengrab
Ok, I’m out. * flounces *

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Mat Venn

Designer. Dad. Cyclist. Runner. Flâneur. Autodidact. Piano student. Writer of intelligent balderdash. Fondue enthusiast. Hopeless romantic