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The Great AI Debate

AI has been a hot topic for a while now. It seems to be touching just about every area of life in ways probably many of us don't even realize on a daily basis. How many of us use face ID to open our phone? It's artificial intelligence that enables that functionality. We use search engines regularly to quickly find answers and products we need; those search engines rely on the algorithms of artificial intelligence to deliver the answers and products we need. Digital voice assistants like Google Home, Alexa, Siri are all driven by AI. If you have a Nest, it learns your homes heating/cooling habits through AI. If you shop on Amazon, it learns your shopping habits and gives you shopping suggestions through AI. Netflix give you viewing suggestions by learning your viewing habits through AI. Until I started researching for this article, I had no idea how many areas of my life AI was working in.

Recently artificial intelligence has been making a splash in a very big way into the world of architecture and interior design. It seems, as new things tend to be, it is either really loved or really hated. The pictures I've been seeing posted on Instagram of homes and hotels are absolutely stunning and when I scroll down through the comments below them, they are so divided, from people loving them and being inspired to people saying they are going to unfollow the people posting them, that they are so over AI, and that the pictures are so fake. I'm astounded that people have such a visceral reaction to something that to me is clearly an emerging art form that can be used as a tool in our industry to help inspire and create something beautiful and unique of their own.

AI Assisted Design: @ArlingtonAvenueDesign

One thing I do have to note though is, I do believe that these artists that are posting AI or reposting other people's AI photos should make note that the photos are AI assisted and not photos of real homes or buildings. I do think that it's important that people know that they aren't real and should be used as art or for inspiration. There are a few reasons for this, one is that some of these pictures can be pretty farfetched using not easy to use materials in not easy to use places, or even scale wise things can be out of whack. I designed a kitchen on AI and the scale of the barstools definitely didn't fit the size of the island they were placed at. There are also frequent issues with object distortion or measurements that wouldn't quite work out.

AI Assisted Design: @ArlingtonAvenueDesign

Being able to create a house, hotel, restaurant, bedroom, living room, kitchen, or bathroom with AI and have it actually come out well and the way you intend is an art form. It's not easy. The people that really have it figured out and can get consistently beautiful results are artists. Even though I regularly use AI, I can't say I have an easy time of it all the time, I definitely do not get the results I intend to get consistently. I really have to work at getting good results, and I'm nowhere nearly as skilled as someone like Ben Myhre whose work is true art and has over half a million followers on Instagram. I see his work reposted almost daily because it's absolutely stunning, it's inspiring and allows people to dream.

Many people are arguing that AI is stealing other people's artwork. That's not how AI works though. Just like artists are trained in school by studying other artists artwork, or architects and designers are trained by studying other artists and designers. AI is trained to learn certain styles, patterns, colors, etc, by having those former artist, designers, and architects works input into their algorithms but that doesn't mean that what they put out will ever be exactly that person's original work it will only be inspired by it if you tell it to be inspired by that style. Exactly like if a person's architectural style is inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, or you could input different building or design elements and it doesn't necessarily have to be inspired by anyone at all.

All of this being said, I remember, vaguely, when the internet came out and there were people who literally thought it was the end of the world. I'm not exactly sure how they thought the internet was going to cause the world to come to an end, but they did. I think we can all argue now, for the most part, having the internet has been for the greater good. It has made all of our lives much, much easier. Are there people out there who use it for bad, for sure. Is the internet going anywhere anytime soon, no chance. I'm going to say the same for AI, there might be some down sides to it, but the good definitely outweighs the bad especially when it comes to design. Whenever something can bring a little more inspiration to life and allow people to dream a little more, I say bring it on.

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