Ethical Use Of AI (AI Replacing Designers)

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Welcome to this week’s edition of Architecture Insights.

Firstly, here is this week’s latest news in the AI world that impacts architects and designers.

News & Updates

1. ChatGPT quietly released a ‘read aloud’ feature. This feature will read back answers to your prompt. They are slowly doing this to select users one at a time and have not yet made an official announcement. Currently, there are 5 voice options.

2. Stability AI (the company behind stable diffusion) announces a 3D object generator. Experiment using images of single objects i.e. a building, tree, or vehicle.

3. Anthropic releases Claude 3, a model they claim to be trained on more data than ChatGPT. Check comparisons between ChatGPT, Claude 3, and Google Gemini.

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Ethical Concerns of AI in Architecture Practice

Bias and Fairness in Design & Data

As someone who uses AI, you are responsible for understanding the process it goes through to deliver results.

The capacity of AI to create design solutions is contingent on the data it has been trained on.

This data, a reflection of historical choices and preferences, could unintentionally contain biases that propagate inequality or exclusion within design results. 

For instance, if an AI system is trained predominantly on architectural styles from a particular region or era, it may favour those designs over others, limiting the diversity of its output.

In another scenario, if an AI proposes the most ecological and human-friendly design does it become ethically required that the architect or landscape architect propose this design forward, regardless of architectural appeal or personalization?

Over-reliance on this type of AI might prioritize efficiency over emotion, leading to technically perfect spaces that lack identity.

Human-Centric Design and Collaboration

One of the significant promises of AI in architecture is the democratization of design. Even those without formal architectural training can use AI-driven tools to take part in the design process. 

Anybody with a Midjourney account can learn how to generate high-quality renderings without any knowledge of architecture. 

With the barrier of entry so low and access almost instant to these tools, it will invariably force designers to re-look at themselves and determine what value they bring to the design process.  

More or Less Jobs for Architects?

Let’s take an example: should designers use AI-powered automated space-planning tools in the design process? 

In this scenario, the stakeholders – those who stand to be impacted in some way – might include clients, designers, organizations, the profession and the environment. AI-driven space-planning tools could accelerate design processes and allow designers and clients to explore a broader range of layout options. Their use could also enable designers to spend more time on design evaluation, resulting in higher-quality design outputs. 

The design firm might be able to reallocate saved time to upskill its employees in new competencies related to emerging technologies and digital literacy. 

However, the use of AI could also result in a redistribution of design labour and reduced employment. This ethical dilemma is common for most kinds of automation tools.

It is hard to tell exactly where this plethora of tools will take the professions of architecture and landscape architecture in the future and if job security will remain high but as they say; when one door closes another one opens.

Organizations like the Institute for Ethical AI & Machine Learning provide guidance and resources to implement ethical AI practices.

Platforms such as Hugging Face and Cohere provide opportunities for ethical AI development by offering accessible tools to create custom-trained models. This gives design firms with limited resources and knowledge of LLMs a real opportunity to fully customize their own AI assistants.

AI Image of the week

Thank you for reading this week’s issue, check past issues here. Share this newsletter with colleagues, friends, or anyone interested in the combined world of architecture and artificial intelligence.

Until next Friday,


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