Season 5: Innovating for impact

Amir Noori

AI + humans: Why we need to empower humans in the AI age?

It was July 2022. I was fascinated by the power of Midjourney, a new AI tool that had recently emerged. I could finally unleash my creativity and imagine whatever I wanted, and the AI would create an abstract image based on my description. It blew my mind!  

“Everything we used to do in the Architecture office, could change soon.” I was thinking back then.  

I remember giving a brief presentation about AI in the office and sparking a discussion about how we could use AI in the workplace, and everyone was excited.  

Fast forward a few months, I had quit the office, set up my own company, and was doing design projects for my own clients using AI.

Everything felt like a dream. I had recently graduated from university with a master’s degree in architecture, and I was working on my own projects and earning significantly more money than I would in any architecture firm, all because I had accepted the change that I knew would be the future of my profession.  

I finally had the opportunity to own my design and express my creativity, and AI made it possible. 

Fast forward to now, and I am the co-founder of AI Hub, a company that has empowered over 400 designers worldwide and worked with creative businesses to not only win more projects worth millions of dollars, but also make their work more enjoyable and creative by leveraging AI. 

After working with hundreds of creative people all over the world, I realised how important artificial intelligence could be in shaping people’s careers. People can now overcome any technical constraints and come up with the most radical ideas and designs to change the world.

But what happens if everyone uses AI? Will there ever be anything new created? The short answer is: no.

According to a Stanford University study, continuously feeding an AI with AI generated content can reduce the quality of its output. That is why we require new real data, or fresh human data, to be fed into these systems. 

In other words, we can only deliver real impact through co-creation and collaboration with AI and human intelligence, and AI alone is incapable of accomplishing anything significant. 

This synthesis between humans and the machines is a reminder of the indispensability of human intuition and imagination. In AI Hub we’ve seen firsthand how AI can serve as a powerful assistant, but the initial spark of creativity must always come from a human mind. 

The growth of AI in creative fields like architecture and design is not just about efficiency or novelty. It’s about expanding the human potential for creativity. With AI taking on the more tedious or computationally intensive tasks, humans are free to engage more deeply with the creative aspects of their work. This can lead to assigning more brainpower to solving the global challenges of our time.  

The future of AI in the creative industry, as I see it, is one of partnership. AI can analyse vast amounts of data, recognize patterns, and provide suggestions based on historical trends and design principles. But it is the human who interprets these suggestions, adds a personal touch, and infuses the work with emotional and cultural relevance. 

Personally, I believe that working with AI in any business can lead to success based on 3 main principles.

1. Remove the friction

The first principle emphasises the importance of identifying and eliminating friction in your business processes. This involves pinpointing those tasks that are mundane, repetitive, and don’t contribute to the joy or fulfilment in your work.

For example, in architecture, this could include tasks such as reviewing a package of drawings against planning regulations or ensuring compliance with building codes.

By employing AI to automate these tasks, you not only streamline your workflow but also free up time and mental energy for more creative and rewarding aspects of your work.

AI’s ability to handle data-intensive and time-consuming tasks with precision can significantly enhance efficiency and job satisfaction.

2. Empower the team

The second principle emphasises the need to embed solutions that empower and elevate the capabilities of the company’s team. This involves integrating AI tools that complement the skills and expertise of your employees, enabling them to achieve more than they could on their own.

The goal is to make AI a force multiplier for your team’s talent and creativity, rather than a substitute for human effort. 

3. Create a human centric culture

The third principle stresses the importance of cultivating a human-centric culture within the business, even as you integrate more AI tools and technologies. This principle is about ensuring that while AI might be transforming processes and capabilities, the core focus remains on the people—both employees and customers.

In a human centric culture, technology is seen as a means to enhance human interaction, creativity, and decision-making, rather than replacing or overshadowing them. It’s about leveraging AI to improve the quality of work life for employees and the experience for customers, without losing the personal touch that makes each interaction unique and meaningful. 

Finally, I believe we are living in one of the most exciting times in history, but we must not lose sight of our responsibility to create a better future for our children. As much as we want to progress in terms of developing cutting-edge technologies, we must remember that technology alone will not benefit a world populated by billions of people. Perhaps it is time to ask ourselves, “Technology is the answer, but what is the question?”