How AI is Changing the Role of the Designer

This is a guest post from Matthew Fritschle, a content writer at
Aumcore.

AI (artificial intelligence) is nothing new. In fact, the field
of AI research technically began in
1956
, meaning we’ve been advancing AI for over sixty years.
However, as we continue to advance, AI does provide a constant
stream of news and concerns.

For example, programs now have the ability to learn without
being explicitly programmed to do so, as we’ve seen with machine
learning.

Although this development has many positive results, many have
voiced concerns over AI. For instance, what if
dependable positions are taken by AI
? What if we create
something that mirrors hateful human behavior (as was the case with

Microsoft’s Tay
)?

While these concerns are valid, AI is all around us, largely
making life more convenient.  AI is often used where you shop
(Amazon comes to mind) and programmed into binge-watching platforms
like Netflix. We use AI constantly to improve otherwise inefficient
situations.

Still, depending on your profession, you may not embrace the
changes AI brings with it.

As mentioned above, we’re already seeing
automation take jobs away
from human workers in factories and
fast food locations worldwide.

This begs the question, what’s next?

What does the future of design look like with AI?

A lot of the talk surrounding AI recently has been around
machine learning and whether algorithms can shape the future of
design.

For example, as design technology gets smarter, it’s gaining
the ability to
generate templates
. Programs can even use inputted information,
like content and colors, to generate very specific designs. Because
of this,
many fear the possibility
of a machine taking over the role of
a designer.

And then there’s the introduction of AI-powered web builders
(e.g. The Grid), which promise
convenience: machines doing everything with algorithms that take
shapes, colors, and text into design consideration.


And then there’s the introduction of AI-powered web builders (e.g. The Grid), which promise convenience

But as we saw with The Grid, these promises of the future are
still very much a work in
progress
. So, even if AI feels a bit threatening to some design
professionals, there’s still quite a lot of improvement that
needs to happen before AI becomes a true threat.

A perfect mix: The future of design with AI

“At its heart, AI is computer programming that learns and
adapts. It can’t solve every problem, but its potential to
improve our lives is profound.”

Above is a quote from Sundar Pichai, CEO of
Google, about the search
engine’s AI principles
. In short, AI helps us, but it also
continues to experience limitations.

In terms of design, this means AI—at least the AI of
today—is not going to take any design jobs soon, but it will be
found in the workplace.

For instance, think of what design really is and the purpose it
serves. Design is more than aesthetics—design
evokes emotions and even actions
, which is why it’s so
crucial to businesses.

While the more technical elements of design can be handled by
various programs, it ultimately takes a human touch to ensure
quality.

Lack of human touch is the biggest problem with leaving
everything to algorithms and machines—even those that learn
automatically.

While AI can take a variety of inputs like colors and shapes
into account, it fails to assess the complexity of an audience.
This makes designing for emotional appeal too advanced for
contemporary programs. It’s largely still up to marketers,
designers, and advertisers to create that specific connection
between brand and audience.

Because of this, the future of design with AI looks more like a
partnership between designer and machine. In this partnership, the
machine lends its (artificial) intelligence to human designers
through tools, leaving higher-level tasks to the designers.

For example, a set of algorithms can take over mindless tasks,
like searching and rating thousands of templates against set
criteria. This allows a designer to spend their time conceiving and
creating designs for their clients’ needs.

In other words, while AI can parse and analyze data, resize
images, and color correct photos, it ultimately can’t determine
how to create a better picture.

The tools

If you’re a designer, you can rest easy knowing AI isn’t
taking your job any time soon, but rather helping you to streamline
your processes.

Let’s discuss some of the AI-backed tools you can integrate
into your process:

1. Let’s Enhance


Let’s Enhance is a platform that “uses cutting-edge image super resolution technology based on deep convolutional neural networks” to increase photo or image size without losing quality.

Let’s Enhance is a
platform that “uses cutting-edge image super resolution
technology based on deep convolutional neural networks” to
increase photo or image size without losing quality.

In other words, Let’s Enhance uses AI and machine learning to
learn common features on physical objects. After recognizing those
features on uploaded images, the program can then add extra details
based on recorded data.

With this ability, Let’s Enhance comes with three main
functions, a JPEG noise remover and two additional processing
options, Magic and Boring:

  • JPEG noise remover: if an image with a .jpg or
    .jpeg extension is detected, Let’s Enhance automatically applies
    a noise reduction system based on neural networks
  • Magic filter: the Magic filter truly seems
    like magic, as it does the impossible. It “hallucinates”
    additional details and adds them to images to improve their quality
    (perfect for photos and complex pictures)
  • Boring filter: the Boring filter is best for
    illustrations, art, logos, etc. because it can keep colors,
    details, and edges sharp while enlarging the whole image (up to 4x
    its size), essentially allowing you to upscale and clean your
    designs

2. Select Subject


And then there’s Select Subject, a new tool in Adobe Photoshop that uses Adobe Sensei, Adobe's machine learning technology, to memorize shapes and allow users to make subject selections with a single click.

And then there’s
Select Subject
, a new tool in Adobe Photoshop that uses Adobe
Sensei, Adobe’s machine learning technology, to memorize shapes
and allow users to make subject selections with a single click.

As
Photoshop Essentials
explains,

“Photoshop, in the past, has looked at images as nothing more
than a collection of pixels…It had no idea that there was a
person, an animal, a tree, or any other type of object in the
photo.”

With Adobe Sensei and Select Subject in tow, this problem is a
thing of the past as users can now select prominent subjects in
images without the fuss of dragging around the cursor (the struggle
of the previous tool, Quick Selection).

3. Prisma


Prisma is a photo-editing application that uses neural networks and AI to transform photos into “paintings” with artistic effects.

More on the design side is Prisma, a photo-editing application
that uses neural networks and AI to transform photos into
“paintings” with artistic effects.

This program allows images to mirror existing art styles, like
sketches or impressionist paintings.

4. Deepart


Deepart turns your images into artwork, but this one also allows you to upload your own style image to further tailor what stylistic elements you use.

Another site that leans heavily on the design and artistic side
is Deepart. Like Prisma, Deepart
turns your images into artwork, but this one also allows you to
upload your own style image to further tailor what stylistic
elements you use.

As to the how, Deepart uses “a neural algorithm of artistic
style” that was developed by several of its creators. This
algorithm allows the program to separate style elements from a
piece of art.

Wrap up

Artificial intelligence is creating great change, but many fear
that the change will be too great, eventually outperforming humans
and taking on the worst of their traits.

While this is a valid concern from some, the world of design is
still safe from the effects of AI automation. This will remain true
as long as design requires an emotional element and the human
touch.

Luckily, we’re seeing streamlined processes and empowered
designers thanks to AI. In short, designers use technology to
enhance what they do best.

Bio: Matthew is a content writer for Aumcore, a digital marketing agency
based in New York City. He writes on a variety of topics that range
from digital design to crafting the perfect creative content
marketing plan. You can find him on Twitter or on Gravatar
(mfritschle(at)aumcore(dot)com).

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How AI is Changing the Role of the Designer
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How AI is Changing the Role of the Designer