How AI enhances, not replaces, design jobs.

Close-up of a designer’s hands arranging paper sketches and sticky notes on a table during a brainstorming session, symbolizing the hands-on and creative aspects of the design process.
Photo by Amélie Mourichon on Unsplash

It’s easy to get swept up in the buzz surrounding AI — I know I have. However, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: AI is not poised to replace our jobs. Why? Simply put, AI is still in its infancy. As of now, there are significant limitations in what AI can accomplish.

Here are five reasons why AI won’t be replacing your job anytime soon:

1. AI can’t figure out what problem to solve

AI, particularly generative AI technology, is still developing and struggles to identify problems that need solving on its own. Let’s not forget that human creativity plays a crucial role in the design process. Humans set clear goals and define the nuances of the problems that must be solved. For instance, AI has difficulty understanding specific design challenges within unique cultural or social contexts. It lacks the ability to grasp complex systems involving human psychology, environment, and interpersonal relationships — elements vital for crafting meaningful and effective design solutions.

2. Multidisciplinary design is beyond AI’s reach

Effective design is inherently multidisciplinary, involving interface design, human psychology, information architecture, visual principles, and many more. AI currently does not possess the capability to navigate these fields autonomously. Design solutions require a systems-thinking approach where connections between various disciplines are identified and leveraged to create cohesive and holistic outcomes. AI systems are not yet ready to handle the complexity of synthesising these diverse perspectives into unified designs.

3. Design requires human creativity

Human creativity involves more than just assembling existing elements — it’s about conjuring up entirely new ideas in innovative ways. This ability to imagine and innovate is uniquely human, something AI cannot fully replicate. While AI can mimic some aspects of human creativity and produce creative outputs, it lacks the lived experiences and motivation that fuel genuine human innovation.

4. AI requires human guidance

AI systems need significant human input to function effectively. They often require guidance to understand their tasks and maintain context. Without human intervention, AI can become lost and perform suboptimally. This underscores the necessity for a collaborative relationship where AI tools enhance human capabilities rather than replace them.

5. AI as an enhancement tool

For designers, viewing AI as a tool to enhance their natural abilities can help them stay competitive. By integrating AI into their workflows, designers can increase efficiency, gain new insights, and improve the quality of their designs. By recognising AI as an opportunity to enhance, rather than replace, human skills is crucial. This perspective allows designers to leverage AI’s potential while compensating for its limitations through human oversight and creativity.

AI’s role in the design process

Despite some resistance within the design community, I am no longer hesitant about embracing AI and exploring its potential in enhancing user experience design, whether content or UX design. The narrative that “AI will take over our jobs” doesn’t hold up against the reasons I’ve listed above. However, as designers, we are responsible for using design as a force for good. This includes considering AI ethics, biases, and the data we use to train AI algorithms.

I use AI to explore ideas and stimulate creativity, but I also ensure that I collaborate closely with users to validate these ideas. For instance, AI has proven invaluable in analysing data and identifying patterns, which helps me understand problems more deeply and allows more time for creative solutions.

Looking ahead, technological advancements offer designers an opportunity to improve the tools of our future, enhancing our ability to understand user needs and interactions with our products.

Embracing AI in design

I don’t think we should shy away from utilising AI. Exploring new tools and technologies is part of our duty as designers. We evolve our craft by stepping out of our comfort zones and taking risks. I believe that the fear that AI will take our jobs is misplaced. As Ioana Teleanu, a prominent product designer, says,

“AI won’t replace you, but a person using AI will.”

This sentiment captures the essence of the opportunity before us. AI can help us make better decisions faster, reduce cognitive load, and focus on more impactful work. It’s time we view AI not as a threat but as a powerful ally that can elevate our design practice to new heights when used ethically and wisely.

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Why AI won’t take your job was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.