AI and The Growing Need for Authenticity in Design

Can AI-generated and Man-made Design Coexist?

The advent of AI has sparked intense debate, with some praising it as the next major breakthrough and others expressing concerns about its potential negative impact. These have led some countries, such as Italy, to ban AI-powered tools such as ChatGPT outright.

Generative AI platforms have gained significant attention due to the endless possibilities they offer, as well as causing some controversy for their role in the creation of deep fakes featuring prominent figures such as Pope Francis and Donald Trump. That said, the integration of AI into design software is still in its infancy.

While it may not always hit it right, sometimes AI can create beautiful things.

The rapid development of this technology has raised doubts among design professionals, prompting ongoing discussions about whether AI-generated design can ever replace human-made design and whether peaceful coexistence is feasible.

Reaffirming (a) Human Design

Market players have begun exploring strategies to protect and enhance authenticity in design.

In 2019, Adobe established the Content Authenticity Initiative (CAI) community, which set industry-wide standards and criteria for verifying the authenticity of images. This initiative was launched in response to the proliferation of visual misinformation and deep fakes.

These initiatives can be expanded to encompass and promote human-generated designs by clearly labeling and distinguishing them from those created by AI. This can be accomplished through the introduction of digital certifications that confirm the human origin of a specific design, differentiating it from AI-generated designs.

Main CAI criteria for assessing the authenticity of images.

If we consider traditional crafts, this concept is not entirely new. For example, a hand-crafted and hand-painted ceramic piece is often perceived as having more value than a mass-produced item from a factory, leading to a distinct difference in price. So, why can’t a similar approach be adopted for distinguishing AI-generated designs from human-made ones?

AI and UX Design: An Unlikely Partnership?

Initially, generative AI in design was met with apprehension, as there were concerns among designers that it will be able to match – or possibly surpass – human abilities in the near future, with some fearing that AI would render the role of designers obsolete.

Over time, this perception has shifted, particularly in relation to UX design. Current evidence and market developments indicate that AI, including its applications in design, is not a threat as previously assumed.

While AI may be hailed as revolutionary and have the potential to reshape various fields, its impact on UX design is still uncertain.

It would be quite remarkable to witness AI evolve to a point where it becomes a direct competitor rather than a valuable resource for designers, given that AI-generated outputs still have room for enhancement even when it’s the result of a detailed prompt.

What UX Can Gain From AI

The full potential of generative AI has yet to be explored, and the possibilities it presents are unprecedented. However, any conclusions regarding AI becoming an integral part of UX design remain speculative.

Generative AI and designers may coexist in the future, but the extent to which this collaboration benefits designers is yet to be determined. The utilization of AI by companies and professionals in other sectors is already a reality, with customer service live chats having been already semi-automized by implementing AI.

Many players in the design industry have already incorporated their own generative AI models, yielding varying results. One such player is Zyro, which has integrated generative AI tools to its website building platform to help create drafts of webpages in no time.

An example of how generative AI-powered tools can offer UX designers a quick solution.

Another is Canva, a known design software that has started using AI to assist with text-to-image generation. Designers and design agencies will undoubtedly determine the most effective ways to integrate generative AI into their workflows without the fear of AI replacing the role of a designer.

AI Is No Threat to UX Designers. But Will It Remain So?

Although the prevailing consensus is that AI has not yet realized its full potential, its dominance in design seems unlikely. AI can undoubtedly serve as a valuable resource for UX designers, and its application should be welcomed and embraced.

Currently, AI can assist designers by creating quick drafts of websites, generating sets of text for iteration, or even aiding with coding and implementation. However, it will not revolutionize or threaten the role of a designer as we currently know it in the foreseeable future, rather it will augment and enhance their creative capabilities, allowing designers to explore new possibilities and streamline their workflow.

As software continues to integrate AI, designers will discover that there is no need to fear it. Instead, they should embrace AI as a new resource. Considering the rapid pace of AI development, the future relationship between generative AI and UX designers promises to be intriguing.

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Gianmarco Caprio Avatar

Gianmarco Caprio / Content & Community Manager @ Phase

Content creator, editor and community manager at Phase.