‘What do you get when you give a design tool a digital nervous system? Computers that improve our ability to think and imagine, and robotic systems that come up with (and build) radical new designs for bridges, cars, drones and much more — all by themselves.’ Maurice Conti, a futurist and AI LLC founder, TEDX 2016.

If we take a look at the Ulises studio concepts we surely are witnessing something that has never been seen before. Near-future architectures, poetic atmospheres & refined ideas brought to “life” with the help of AI. Isn’t that revolutionary?!

Is the future now? Are industrial designers at risk of losing their jobs due to the growing interest in using Artificial Intelligence in product concept designs? Let’s cut the bull… It’s nonsense. At least at this stage. Why? Well, what is a design in the first place?

‘dynamic desk’ by Ulises
‘A design is a plan or specification for the construction of an object or system or for the implementation of an activity or process, and/or the result of that plan or specification in the form of a protoype, product or process.’

Let’s dig a bit deeper, shall we? What is an industrial design?

artist: Rolo / source: Instagram

Industrial design is a process of design applied to physical products that are to be manufactured by mass production. It is the creative act of determining and defining a product’s form and features, which takes place in advance of the manufacture or production of the product.’

Has anyone seen anything AI generated that would fit in both of those notions above? Well… it may be too early to call for this process to find a way to mass market, but one of the greatest advantages of generative AI in industrial design is its automation ability, not the standalone design power. The algorithms can be used to generate numerous concept options and design variations, thus greatly improving the speed of designers’ workflow and letting them focus on other parts of the process. What else? Creating stunning visuals, all sorts of environmental setups for their projects in virtual reality, getting the designs customized and analysed in terms of performance, or their outcome are yet another examples how AI can improve designers future life. As a tool, not as them. Of course, this is just the beginning, but the future looks incredibly bright for creatives. As eye-catching as the AI generated concepts and artworks may seem they are still what they are, concepts. Thus, a way to become a design is incredibly long, and for now needs their own human caretaker. The revolution is somewhere ahead, yet the human factor is definitely indispensable.

If you are interested in the way architects are utilizing generative AI in their conceptual work we could definitely recommend Shail Patel as a great example, apart from the two artist mentioned above. Just take a look.