Designers have power to shape technology

Earlier this year, I asked if the bots were coming for your jobs. With the acceleration in AI technology, it is a question at the top of everyone’s mind, along with whether we are safe with this advancing technology and how we can use it to our advantage.

While the federal government is attempting to address safety concerns with Congressional hearings on the subject and most recently an executive order from President Joe Biden, industry experts are delving into how to use the evolving tools effectively.

In October, I attended a workshop at The Mart in Chicago presented by the Association of Interior Design (ASID) Illinois on the future of AI. The speaker, David Truog, VP principal analyst at Forrester Research, explained the essentials of generative AI, dispelling common misunderstandings and highlighting the crucial role designers can play in these technology waves. He described how the work of interior designers will be transformed by technology, creating opportunities for designers as well as a push to adapt and innovate.

Truog discussed how design plays a crucial role in shaping our environment, from urban planning to architecture and interior design, and even the creation of everyday objects like chairs, glasses, and phones. Just as the physical world is designed, the content highlights that generative AI systems, which are becoming increasingly relevant, rely on designed training data and content. The quality of this data is essential, as it directly influences the AI’s output.

Similar to my argument in the earlier editorial, he underscored the idea that human intelligence and AI should work together rather than replace one another. He used an example from the medical field where doctors and AI collaborate for better diagnosis. He noted that this principle of human plus AI being more powerful together is applicable across various domains, from healthcare to music recommendation algorithms.

The audience was encouraged to recognize the transformative potential of virtual reality and AI and to ensure that these technologies are designed with a human-centered approach. He said that design professionals are seen as crucial in shaping the experiences that technology offers to make them humane, effective, and beneficial to society.

Truog ended the workshop with two points that stress the inevitability of change and the importance of taking an active role in shaping the future. He called upon the audience of designers not to be passive observers but to proactively participate in guiding the development of technologies and their impact on society.

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About the author
Michaelle Bradford | Editor

Michaelle Bradford, CCI Media, is Editor of Closets & Organized Storage magazine and Woodworking Network editor. She has more than 20 years of experience covering the woodworking and design industry, including visits to custom cabinet shops, closet firms and design studios throughout North America. As Editor of Closets & Organized Storage magazine under the Woodworking Network brand, Michaelle’s responsibilities include writing, editing, and coordinating editorial content as well as managing annual design competitions like the Top Shelf Design Awards. She is also a contributor to FDMC and other Woodworking Network online and print media owned by CCI Media.