There is a lot of conversation happening around Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and using algorithms to shape the future of Design and the role of the designer. But how is that going to change the way you work in the near future?

“The end is near”, according to specialists in robotics and artificial intelligence. Not really the end of the world itself, but the fact robots will be taking over a portion of jobs currently occupied by humans.

Futurist Thomas Frey, as an example, predicted in a TEDx talk that 2 billion jobs will have disappeared by 2030. Just to put it into perspective, that number represents half of all the jobs in the world.

Yes. Because of robots.

Uber’s self-driving cars, Amazon’s delivery drones, chatbots that replace customer service representatives — the robotic revolution is only getting started.

But what about designers? Are we in trouble? How are robots, artificial intelligence and machine learning technology going to affect our careers as designers in the long term?

Robots are not replacing designers

Well, at least not in the near future.

You probably remember the announcement of The Grid a few years ago: a website development and design system (a la Squarespace) powered by artificial intelligence — where site modules and other interaction patterns design themselves, without the need of a designer.

A few months later the world started to see the first websites designed by The Grid.

A disaster.

I think your jobs are safe, designers”, says a reddit comment about what people started calling The Grid fiasco.

The vast majority of the jobs that will be taken over by robots are blue collar jobs — at least in the next decade or so. Drivers, receptionists, scribes, and other professionals whose tasks tend to be more repetitive and subject to automation.

When you look at Design, things are a bit more complex than that.

  • You don’t decide whether your app’s menu will be exposed or a hidden under a hamburger icon simply based on the number of items it contains.
  • You don’t decide whether you are creating a 2 or 3-column grid on your site solely based on the size and amount of images you want to display.
  • Most designers I know do not decide the font color based on a “color psychology bible” of sorts.

The truth is: it’s more likely that designers and robots start working side by side in the near future.

Instead of a problem, a series of opportunities.

Let’s talk about them.

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