October 19, 2013
Brand Names And Computer Design

Check out these speculations on which jobs will survive robotics. Regards visual arts: I expect some artists will use secretly computers to help do artistic creation and then pass off their work as purely human product.

People who want to buy something by a name brand designer or big name artist will likely insist on buying from those who hide the extent of the help they get from computers. Therefore some people will use computers to do a substantial fraction of their work and then pretend it was done all by their lonesome selves. For example, a future clothing designer will make a few basic designs, enter them into a computer, and then let software do permutations. Then the designer will pick among those permutations. The software could have a huge database of past clothing designs going back hundreds of years and combine elements from those designs with the newest ideas from the human designer.

But those who care less about brand names will be more willing to buy stuff that had little or no human involvement in design creation. Price sensitive shoppers especially won't care about whether a human was in the loop on design work.

Update: I think the human clothing designer can be replaced entirely. Granted, the designer could have the role of selecting between various styles that the computer generates. But why use a designer to do that? Why not just use clicks made by the masses? Show dresses and have people vote on which ones they prefer. One could even use clicks from subsets of people you hire. For example, use college students or women who buy expensive dresses. Assorted ways could be tried to do crowd sourcing feedback on design decisions before dresses get made.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2013 October 19 12:28 PM 

AB said at October 19, 2013 1:01 PM:

"Check out these speculations on which jobs will survive robotics. Regards visual arts: I expect some artists will use secretly computers to help do artistic creation and then pass off their work as purely human product."

They won't need to pass it off as purely human product. We already have plenty of art that requires little artistic or technical ability and talent to create and could have been made by a baby or even an animal messing around. It's regarded as art because people have been convinced or manipulated into believing it's art. That is, marketing and manipulation of people's thoughts have become more important. This will probably intensify and manipulating people's thoughts will become even more important.

Tim Hogan said at October 20, 2013 8:09 AM:

Permutation design has been done for thousands of years. Its called "cut and paste". Mankind is so derivative as is life in general.

Noah Hornberger said at October 20, 2013 7:41 PM:

Yeah I think this is basically how the product industry works. It's not about the designer slaving away. It's about their style. Their swagger or stiffness of eye that people enjoy. Maybe they hire 50 people to create designs and put those into a computer and select the best of the best permutations. In the end, its the eye that selects that creates the brand. Art directors know this and it is what they get paid for. It's the inner vision. I'm sure they will try to get a computer to do that, but it won't work consistently enough to be profitable. A consumer of art or design does not usually select things based on how complicated they were to make, but based on how they will fit into ones life.

Parker Bohn said at October 22, 2013 8:52 AM:

This is an ongoing process and I don't think its a problem.

Whenever a new tool comes around, many people tend to view it as cheating.

For instance:
Photography can't be art -- its a machine that was just invented.
Photoshop or Painter is cheating -- you have to use real paint or its not art.
Drum machines are cheating -- you have to have a live drummer or its not art.

Personally, I disagree with these kinds of statements and over time broad opinion moves to accept these kinds of tools. I mean, ultimately art is a communication from one human to another and tools are just a means to do this.

As far as clothing designers go, I'm sure they mostly already copy and modify historical designs. But then a reproduction or tweak of someone else's art is still a work of art (though perhaps it shouldn't be credited to the reproductionist).

Randall Parker said at October 22, 2013 8:35 PM:

Parker Bohn,

I think we end up with really smart automated systems for designing clothes that people interact with to come up with custom designs for themselves. I expect women especially will share designs with each other and modify each other's designs.

Then the clothes get made by robots and shipped to you. Of course they'll get shipped via robotic trains, robotic airplanes, robotic delivery trucks.

BernardZ said at October 23, 2013 5:24 AM:

Chess computers can beat any human player now, yet sellers of computer programs still need to compete with each other.

Not Anonymous said at October 26, 2013 7:05 AM:

Go watch 'The September Issue'.

We are already at the point where it's arbitrary, so the assumption is that fashion design to a 'mask' a-la the mask used for plastic surgery, by computer, with specific 'cultural cues' added by elites to add communication to fashion choices will be the extent of the human contribution, and at this point, it really is.

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