I have already written about how AI systems are capable of completing impressive tasks related to writing, painting, drawing, editing, and designing. However, even with the technology available now, or in the near future, it is clear that AI will not yet completely replace creative professionals. Humans are needed to initiate, guide, curate, and judge the process and success of each AI project.
As AI exponentially matures from its infancy, this could change, but in the short term, this lull in time gives designers the opportunity to think about their future places in the field of design amidst all this advanced technology and consider their willingness to evolve and adapt to the coming changes. The creative AI examples discussed in previous posts I have written show what AI technology looks like in its elementary form, which should spur designers to rethink how to work with AI as the technology grows exponentially better, faster and stronger.
Despite AI’s progress in working on creative tasks, some people will likely wonder what makes these changes different from other changes designers have experienced with the release of new technology, can these AI tasks just be written off as elementary in nature? Do they only amount to gimmicky “creative tricks”?
Experts who study trends in technology, like Max Tegmark author of the book Life 3.0 and Klaus Schwab author of the book The Fourth Industrial Revolution, say that the AI revolution is not merely an evolution of disruption, but rather a complete revolution, unlike anything the world has seen. This points to the speed at which this technological revolution can advance and why some of the world’s most powerful entrepreneurs and world leaders are talking about AI in such dramatic terms.
Whoever becomes the leader in artificial intelligence will become the ruler of the world – Vladimir PutinSergey Brin, the co-founder of Google who was alive before the invention of the internet, said “The new spring in artificial intelligence is the most significant development in computing in my lifetime”. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and currently the world’s richest man, sees developments in AI as an “amazing renaissance” and a “golden age”.
Investor, and billionaire businessman Mark Cuban has said that whoever masters AI will become the world’s first trillionaire, a point that falls in line with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s thoughts when he said, “Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere (AI) will become the ruler of the world” (Clifford, Maggio). The speed at which AI advances makes the fourth industrial revolution much more transformative than previous technological changes.
Since growth in the technology sector tends to be exponential, it is safe to say that the disruption will be dramatic. In technology circles, this notion of exponential growth is referred to as Moore’s Law, which means computing power tends to approximately double every two years. For example, it took almost 120 years for the spindle, the token invention of the first industrial revolution, to spread outside of Europe. In contrast, the internet took less than a decade to sweep across the world.
When China’s President Xi Jinping delivered the opening address at the World Economic Forum in 2017, he stated that the fourth industrial revolution was “unfolding at an exponential rather than a linear pace,” which is why China decided early on to invest heavily in AI. The Chinese believe mastering AI technology is the path to reaching their goal of becoming the world leader in technology by 2030.
The pace and impact that the fourth industrial revolution is ushering in is a critical factor as to why designers should care to learn more about the opportunities and challenges of AI technology. Designers must not forget that, less than thirty-five years ago, design was a fully hands-on, computer-free craft that required multiple professionals trained in a specialty to work together to complete a designed artifact.
In the mid-1980s, everything changed for the field of graphic design with the introduction of desktop publishing, thanks to Apple’s release of the Macintosh, Linotype’s type library, as well as Adobe’s PostScript technology. These advances, almost overnight, forced skilled typesetters, darkroom strippers, and pressmen out of the design process and out of jobs.
However, those who were willing to adapt to the desktop publishing revolution, rather than wallow in the unfairness, were able to participate in the future of design, where the field sits today. Desktop publishing opened up a whole new way of working and creating, which forced design to be constrained mostly to a digital world.
The computer also changed when a designer could work (at home, on the road and late at night now), and it sped up a designer’s work because designers no longer had to travel across town to meet with typesetters or darkroom strippers. Designers now are able to take care of all the typesetting and image compositing on their own, and when they are finished, they can send the files to an online printer or post them digitally on the web, making them one-stop servicers.
A designer not willing to succumb to the digital know-how of today’s design tools will quickly be left behindChanges caused by the invention of desktop publishing have led to design being less physical, exclusive and collaborative. Nowadays, one person with a computer, an Internet connection and access to Photoshop can design a whole project and then instantly post it to a website or have it printed through an online print shop having it delivered the next day.
Not only have computers changed how designers work, they have also changed clients’ demands and needs. Most projects now require a digital workflow in order for them to be completed. A designer not willing to succumb to the digital know-how of today’s design tools will quickly be left behind if their client wants a vector logo, website, animation, or mobile app.
This is why I believe designers should learning more about the fourth industrial revolution and possible futures for the field of graphic design so they can better anticipate and adapt to the coming changes. A good place to start is to check out my posts A Graphic Designers Guide To Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning & Deep Learning and Future Skills Graphic Designers Should Cultivate In A World Powered By Artificial Intelligence.
Let’s be friends!