By Elliot Leech & Laura Hart

AI isn’t a new concept, it has been slowly added into our reality over years of Hollywood films such as “Blade Runner” or “I, Robot”, to name but a few, but what is it? How are we seeing it manifest itself in modern society? Most importantly, should we embrace it? 

I for one welcome our new technological overlords!. Actually, instead of having you worry about it and spending the rest of this post brooding over schemes that will stop AI from taking your job, I’ll spoil the ending: AI is here and that’s a good thing. 

What is Artificial Intelligence?

But let’s get back on track, what is AI? The acronym AI is used to describe artificial intelligence. This is a computer’s ability to perform a task that historically would require a human mind to complete. This is where people become worried, the term AI has negative connotations of rendering the human race useless and jobless. This is a common fear which IBM CEO Ginni Rometty addressed when she said “If I considered the initials AI, I would have preferred augmented intelligence.” she then further clarified “AI said replacement of people, it carries some baggage with it, and that is not what we’re talking about.”

The coming together of AI and human minds creates Augmented Intelligence and that’s where things begin to get exciting. By taking the data processing power of computers and combining it with the creativity and ingenuity of the human mind you find this amazing harmony and, if applied correctly, the opportunities are endless. Think about what humans have managed to achieve with computers: space travel, cures for diseases and immersive virtual realities. Now imagine what could happen if the computers could become co-authors to our progress?


Already Implemented

Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Google: these are all AI systems that are in our everyday lives. These virtual assistants aren’t handing in their CVs to employers or planning world domination but instead, they help us check the weather, settle a friendly dispute or play that podcast your friend keeps recommending. These are all tasks we are well equipped to deal with but having these guys in your pocket can make the more mundane, time-consuming or menial tasks disappear and leave you to spend your time doing the things that matter to you.

Machine learning has already been implemented by AI experts when trying to craft new user interfaces. To create a more personalised experience, each interaction with the app or website is gauged, a task that would take a human longer to do and they manage it with greater precision.

As technology progresses in this sector computers will become even more efficient at making decisions which, in turn, will enhance how they deal with processing automated tasks. This can lead to exponential technological and societal leaps.

Apps and technology using Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) or Mixed Reality (MR) are a quickly growing market but creating each environment is a vastly time-consuming task for designers. Using AI, these realities can be made much quicker, once a basic layout and specifications have been established the AI can offer various visual options for the designer to choose from. Allowing them to make quick alterations to create the environment exactly how they visualize it.

So let’s break it down, what are the actual benefits of using and embracing AI in design and why should you consider this partnership going forward? Well, straight off the bat, it frees you up to focus on other tasks. Repetitive and data-heavy tasks can be handled by AI while you allow your creativity to be focused elsewhere in the process.

This, ultimately, improves efficiency in the workplace saving money within the design process. As you get to understand the capabilities of the AI and the AI learns what you are looking for, the savings and efficiency are amplified. So what happens when you have a cohesive and harmonious working relationship? Well, now you have streamlined the creation process, you can produce more prototypes in the time it used to take you to create one, allowing for more A/B testing and a better final product is created. 

Now please excuse me as I try and settle a dispute between Alexa and my Kettle! The sooner we can get an AI that can make a good cup of tea the better, that’s what I say!