Will ChatGPT replace human creativity? A designer’s perspective

Generative AI like ChatGPT will impact creative work from product design to UX to marketing. Learn how it can help you overcome common obstacles to progress.

Eli Wood

Since ChatGPT’s public launch last November, there have been countless conversations about its impact across industries and what could lie ahead. Evolving at lightning speed, this technology has the potential to fundamentally shift the relationship between AI and human creativity.

Why should you care about ChatGPT and generative AI like it?

Creativity is on the table! Every industry – from UX, product, and service to business design and marketing – will be impacted by this tool. So don't get too settled. We’ve entered an era of design that moves at lightning speed.

There are many reasons to talk about ChatGPT, and a major one is that it is among the fastest growing technology platforms. After its launch, ChatGPT reached over a million users in less than five days. With Microsoft investing $10 billion into OpenAI, ChatGPT’s parent company, you will likely see this AI (and others like it) around for the long haul.

This magnitude of growth is unheard of and has been widely unexpected. Even experts are blown away by how quickly things are changing, which underscores the need for business leaders to stay aware and keep innovating to avoid losing relevance in the market.

It’s important to let this sink in: Over just a few months, this technology saw and continues to see meteoric growth unlike anything else. If you’ve been tempted to wave it off, think again.

A bite-sized explanation of ChatGPT

ChatGPT is a generative language model and AI chatbot developed by a company called OpenAI. It has been trained and designed to hold human-like dialogue with the user and is smart enough to explain information as complex as quantum computing. It can generate creative ideas, actively participate in brainstorming, produce creative work, and even write code.

While artificial intelligence and automation have existed for decades, the pivotal innovation today is that AI can carry on seemingly natural conversation with responses that are not predetermined. Instead, it generates responses in real time based on predictive modeling, resulting in organic dialogue with users.

Broadly, generative AI refers to a class of algorithms that can create new content based on input data. These algorithms use machine learning to understand patterns and characteristics of the data they are trained on. Then they use that knowledge to generate new, similar content. People unfamiliar with generative AI often believe that artificial intelligence steals and takes – that it simply collages information together. But the reality is that this technology can intake information and generate an entirely unique response each time from extremely noisy, and often messy, datasets.

ChatGPT is not a silver bullet or a panacea – but it is a powerful tool.

As with any powerful tool, there are limitations. It makes mistakes, can tell you inaccurate information, and still requires a human editor to apply a critical and consultative eye. Its content moderation needs improvement and can sometimes present biased or harmful information. And although you’re likely to see a version that is equipped to stay updated on live news, ChatGPT was trained on data from 2021 and earlier.

What makes ChatGPT and similar AI models so significant is their ability to generate creative ideas and carry on seemingly natural conversations. Generative AI can augment human creativity and problem-solving with machine learning and data analysis. So what does this mean for design innovation, and how will it impact your ability to solve creative problems?

AI will not replace you. But it can help you work through human barriers to creativity.

A meaningful opportunity offered by ChatGPT and similar AI is the ability to quickly generate and test new ideas. With vast knowledge and the ability to process information quickly, these models can generate numerous possible solutions to a problem and allow you to evaluate their feasibility and potential outcomes at scale. This significantly speeds up the ideation and iteration process and is likely to produce more innovative solutions in the long term.

In terms of design innovation, these models will streamline the design process and enhance productivity by automating tasks such as generating sketches, mockups, and prototypes, freeing up designers to focus on the creative and strategic aspects of design. They can also bring fresh perspectives to a problem by identifying new approaches, challenging your assumptions, and offering insights that designers might not have considered otherwise.

Using tools like this in the creative process not only helps you ideate, but it also helps you overcome common human obstacles to progress. AI never faces the emotional challenges a human does – if a designer is distracted, anxious, or struggling to buy into a project, generative AI is a pathway that allows for always-on creativity, given the right inputs and the right data to design from.

Will AI entirely replace creative work?

No. There are still improvements to be made to the technology, and humans must apply our own input, creativity, and decision-making while relying on this tool. That said, there is a vast opportunity to take advantage of the capabilities generative AI offers. Its relationship to you should be a co-evolution, and when it is used, it should serve as a copilot that can augment creative work.

As business leaders, consultants, strategists, and humans, it's our shared responsibility to think broadly about the impacts of new technology. You can widen the lens by examining how it will help you move forward. If AI plays a role in your core business processes, how can you harness it to improve your work and enhance your overall customer experience?

Want to ignite shared progress, learn more about ChatGPT, and work for a better future? We’d love to help you. Let’s talk.