AI is disrupting all industries; the Creative Industries are no exception. From logo design automation to automatic product evaluations, the role of the designer is changing fast. How should educators in design and business schools prepare students for this new working reality?  What do companies expect from graduates? This was the topic of the Designer Leadership mini-conferee co-hosted by Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Design and the Hong Kong Business of Design Week.


Since MOJO is active in the area of AI education running its course in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan, I was interested to join the event but I have to say I was disappointed by the ambition and experience of the speaker in AI design education and specifically the implications of AI in and around the design profession.  

Three speakers from industry or working closely with industry discussed the future work role of designers in industry. One speaker suggested designers will be given the more interesting work, whilst low level tasks will be passed to software. The familiar trope of AI doing the drudgery whilst humans fly high was common amongst the industrial participants – was it a twinge of conscience that the jobs of many graduates in digital marketing and application development were being automated away?

From the academic side, the discussion of ethics and copyright was heated. If a design is co-produced with an AI provided by, say, Autodesk, where does the copyright lie? If AI causes accidents, who is responsible? How to evaluate students that incorporate AI in their learning? Should the AI get a grade, also?

Design processes and tools were a central issue discussed by all participants but the academics showed they had little idea in what software and automation tools were being used or would be used by the students (or designer in industry) or on the impact that the tools would have on circular and assessment criteria. Integration of tools in design processes and the change of the double-diamond model into something circular where AI designs (based on real designers output) and evaluates/iterates itself (based on user feedback data capture by automatic testing scripts) presented a particularly memorable vision of the future.

What does this all mean for MOJO? Firstly, the discussion on design education is central to our own Academy courses run with Yunlin National Technology University, Hong Kong Polytechnic University and The Hong Kong Technology Higher Education Institute. Secondly our own practice is being influenced  by AI – we are developing our own AI tools, processes, products and solutions for clients, and our own training and development.

The future is AI – let’s design the future.

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