Could a Website Ever Design Itself?

Kai-Fu Lee, founder of venture capital firm Sinovation Ventures believes AI will replace half of all jobs in the next decade. Lee told CNBC he believe…


Kai-Fu Lee, founder of venture capital firm Sinovation Ventures believes AI will replace half of all jobs in the next decade. Lee told CNBC he believes AI to be the wave of the future, calling it the “singular thing that will be larger than all of human tech revolutions added together, including electricity, (the) industrial revolution, internet, mobile internet – because AI is pervasive.”

Could a website ever design itself? Perhaps it should be more of a question of “when and how? than “could”.

There are always entrepreneurs looking to optimise the potential of AI and one interesting example comes from designer-engineer Jack Qiao. Previously, Qiao built a tool that helps pair fonts using machine learning. He then went on to launch Brandmark, which uses AI to create an original brand identity for a business. It works by the user entering keywords that the AI designer uses to create a look and feel that’s tailored to the user’s business.

By using machine learning, Brandmark can make a custom logo, style guide and website, all in less than a minute. It’s simple, fun and effective. This could be a great tool for small to medium companies or those who want a personal website fast, but for larger outfits it could be too simplistic.

Is AI something designers need to worry about?

Junior Consultant, Maximilian Schlutter at Cogs Berlin, says, “At the moment, AI can be taught tasks we assume humans can do fast. Activities such as driving a car, composing music, writing news articles etc. But on closer inspection, most examples of AI are not as complex as you might assume. What some call AI are just really good scripts. They are often good tools and plugins rather than actual AI solutions.

But, on the other hand, we have allowed these programs a matter of days to learn. What would happen if these machines were to learn algorithms over an entire lifetime?

AI has the potential and ability to replace designers’ hard skills in the near future. Tasks such as creating rough layouts, bootstrapping, performing user research and creating insights are all things well within the reach of AI.”

The key to the survival of traditional human designers lays with their ability to judge work. People have the skills to understand a client’s requirements, critically ask their intentions and perceive the intended purpose of the website. This ability will be the essential, defining advantage human designers have over AI.

A lot of the human designer’s creative decisions on a project are informed by psychological, behavioural and aesthetic knowledge. Something AI cannot do.

AI may not replace us, but it can assist and inspire us. AI can look at different designs, analyse which is best when a designer may not have the time to. For predictive analytics and data crunching, using AI make sense, but a designer will be better suited to making decisions with the client or brand in mind.

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