Can AI replace UI designers?
Can AI replace UI designers?

AI is everywhere these days.  According to Forbes, jobs that need AI or machine learning skills will increase by 71% in the next five years. It’s used in all kinds of businesses, from health care to entertainment. In fact, AI has been growing by 270% in the last four years, even before ChatGPT became a thing. While current AI use is far from the dreaded images of robots taking the world, many are left wondering how secure their careers are and what AI use means for us as a working society.

Tech employees are not safe from this worry, either. And even creative positions like user interface designers are worried AI UI design will be more profitable to companies than hiring actual employees. 

So, what does AI mean for the UI design field, and how will it affect the people who want to work in it? In this article, we’ll go through the top concerns about AI for UI design. Let’s get started!

Can AI replace UI designers?

1. The impact of AI on UI design

AI for UI design might seem like a new thing, but it has been around for a while. One of the first examples was Einstein Designer from Salesforce in 2020, which used neural networks to quickly create different versions of a design.

Despite AI’s developing capabilities in this industry, it is critical to understand that AI will not replace UI designers. Instead, it will complement their skills and enhance the design process. Ultimately, a human would filter through the variations and select the best design, significantly reducing the time required to generate and assess the same number of iterations on their own.

Since then, numerous different AI-driven design tools, such as Genius, Magician, and Galileo, have become commercially available. 

Most AI tools currently in use require a person to guide the AI by inputting parameters on what they want to view and then sorting through the output. The outcomes are faster, more diverse, and frequently exceed what the human mind can produce at such speeds. 

AI for UI design can do more than just create frameworks or designs for a web-based product. It can also assist UI designers in sorting through a large amount of initial data or research that they can use to inform their design process.

UI designers may also need to consider how AI is integrated into the product they are designing and therefore understand the current and best practices for designing AI products for users.

2. Can AI replace UI designers?

This question doesn’t warrant a strict “yes” or “no” answer, as the emergence and practice of AI UI design is quite complex. While AI has the potential to transform the user interface field as we know it,  many say that it will never be able to replace the human eye. 

To answer this question, consider how advanced artificial intelligence is today and what experts predict will occur in the future. These are three main categories of AI:

Artificial Narrow Intelligence: AI that has a narrow or weak range of capabilities. It can only complete the single task it was programmed to do. It simulates human behavior but can not match it. This is the only level of AI we have been able to successfully achieve today. 

Artificial General Intelligence: This level of AI is proposed to be on par with human intelligence. It can learn and use its knowledge to solve problems. For this level of AI to be possible, we would need to be able to program consciousness and full cognitive ability. 

Artificial Super Intelligence: The highest proposed level of AI, super intelligence, would mean that AI not only becomes self-aware but also surpasses human capability and function. This form of AI is often what sci-fi and dystopian novels or movies depict when robots have their own needs, emotions, and identities and can outperform any human. 

If we do achieve artificial superintelligence, designers and many other professions will almost certainly face stiff competition from AI systems. However, that level of AI is unlikely to be realized in our lifetimes, if at all.

AI UI design is currently not complete or functional enough to completely replace a UI designer. Human designers’ knowledge, such as user research, visual design, user behavior, and company preferences, is still required for creating efficient designs with or without AI UI tools. 

While AI can replace a UI designer for certain tasks, it cannot completely replace them because a human is still required to input data into the AI system and select what works and what does not. 

Although anyone could enter qualifiers into the AI and choose the best one, a UI designer brings extensive knowledge as well as a competitive edge to the process, making them the best fit for the job. 

3. Key takeways

The topic of artificial intelligence invading our workforces has permeated many industries. And the UI design field has not been spared from the possibility of AI systems replacing designers.

Many people are concerned that AI for UI design has made it easier for employers to get quality UI design work done without hiring a designer. However, there are many reasons why actual UI designers are needed and desired, and there is a better chance that AI UI design will improve UI designers’ work habits rather than replace them.

While future generations are open to further integrating technology into our societies, humans still possess unique abilities that AI has yet to achieve. Human UI designers are in high demand due to their empathy, complex decision-making, and ability to set and observe the context.

If you are a UX/UI Designer who loves to work and develop with AI tools, you should check out our job post!