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Elevating the Human Condition Through Design in 2024 and Beyond

David Jakes

People use the design process to create things of value that serve human beings and, generally, to focus on improving the human condition. 

Some things are designed better than others, and some things that have been designed are failures, but in every case, the design has had some type of impact.

This is true of technology, from the first microcomputer to the internet, cell phones, and social media platforms.  One can argue that these innovations have benefited our lives, and you could also argue that there have been some less-than-optimal impacts.

A new entry into the technological landscape that we exist in is artificial intelligence.  Like other technologies, AI is likely to offer unique capabilities that enhance productivity and foster creativity, but its use may also lead to significant and unfavorable impacts. 

The design of AI systems can embody biases, leading to outcomes that inadvertently reinforce existing inequalities or misunderstand user needs. Moreover, the widespread adoption of AI raises concerns about privacy, security, and the displacement of jobs, highlighting the need for thoughtful design principles that prioritize ethical considerations and human welfare.

An open question revolves around the intersection of design and artificial intelligence and how the two will interface.  It is unlikely that this question will be resolved soon. Still, it is interesting to consider how AI can advance and support the design process and elevate the ability of designers to create things of value.  An interesting component in all of this is how designers can shape the use of AI and how this will influence the application and utilization of AI.

It seems logical to assume that qualities that can be ascribed as uniquely human will become even more important as the relationship between design and AI advances. Qualities such as curiosity, empathy, creativity, compassion, intuition, and judgment are not the domain of AI, at least for now.  How these qualities contribute to the human-AI interaction will considerably impact how AI is used, how it develops, and how it can be used to elevate the human condition.  

Looking forward, designers have a unique opportunity to shape the role of AI's impact on design and, as a result, our lives. Moreover, as AI technologies evolve, the design community must engage in an ongoing dialogue with technologists, ethicists, policymakers, and the public to ensure that AI is developed and deployed in ways that respect human dignity and promote social good.

The relationship between design and artificial intelligence is at a critical juncture. As we navigate this new territory, it's essential to approach the future with a sense of responsibility, creativity, and optimism. By fostering a thoughtful interplay between human-centric design principles and AI's transformative potential, we can unlock new possibilities for innovation that truly serve humanity. In doing so, we honor the essence of design: to create a better world for all.

References:

Heaven, W. D. (2023, April 7). CHATGPT is going to change education, not destroy it. MIT Technology Review. 

Miller, M. (2023, June 8). CHATGPT, Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence in Education. Ditch That Textbook. https://ditchthattextbook.com/ai/#t-1671292150912 

OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT: Conversational AI Language Model. Retrieved from https://chat.openai.com/

Roose, K. (2023, January 12). Don’t ban ChatGPT in schools. teach with it. The New York Times. 

David Jakes

David Jakes’ career as an educational designer has been influenced by the variety of roles and positions that he has held over 35 years. As a classroom science teacher, David developed a deep understanding of teaching and learning that has served as a foundation for his entire professional life. As a school administrator, David provided leadership on a wide variety of school opportunities and issues, including the application of educational technology to the school experience. During his time as an educator, David developed an interest in design and learning spaces and joined The Third Teacher+ Design Studio of CannonDesign, an international design firm. David served as a digital learning strategist and had an opportunity to work across the United States on a variety of K-12 and higher education design projects, all in the service of designing contemporary spaces for teaching and learning. Today, David serves as the founder and lead designer for David Jakes Designs LLC, a design studio dedicated to reshaping education through the creation of inspiring learning environments.