AI & Design

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Chat GPT 4.0

The impact of AI on the future of the design industry: will it be an upend, a replacement or an enhancement?

Recently, various online AI platforms have surfaced in the public interest, from Midjourney, which can produce drawings quickly with simple text prompts, to ChatGTP, which has a powerful text service.

Opinions vary on the impact they will have on the architectural industry, but my colleagues, as well as most architectural journals, are optimistic that AI development will provide designers with convenience and efficiency.

As with every technological break through, architects have benefited from for instance: CAD, BIM, and parametric tools, which have invariably become one of the resident tools in the work of architects today. But will it be the same this time?

Using AI image generation as an example, there are undeniable expectations that it is highly effective in reducing costs and saving time by automating the rendering process.

In the early stages of a project, renderings that are tailored to the design brief can provide valuable insights for both the design team and the client. This can help to accelerate the decision-making process, increase client satisfaction, and ultimately lead to better project outcomes.

However, due to cost of time and budget, the process is often done with hand sketches or neglected - but this is not to diminish the value of hand-drawing but rather to remind architects of the significance of hand-drawing in a world where drawing is about to be replaced by technology.

Despite its efficiency, the images generated by AI are only as good as the prompts fed to it. At this stage, therefore, the rational use of AI is inseparable from expertise in architecture, meaning that the user of AI must understand how to communicate their design intent and parameters effectively to the system, as well as interpret and evaluate the output generated by the it.

There is no doubt that preparation for the era of AI is an imperative for every profession, including architects. Architectural education and training should consider incorporating AI as part of the course as effective use of the programs do require a certain level of skill set and proficiency.

Yet, the acceptance of AI by society at large is one of the inevitable problems: to what extend do the wider public accept and trust the direct influence of AI on the built environment?

Therefore, policies and education related to the appropriate and ethical usage of AI are equally necessary in preparing for the future.