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Oct 04, 2006



Re the design as the new management consultancy argument, I don't think you go far enough. I think design maybe the new religion, a new kind of moral thinking in fact.

Look at the evidence;

1. Good design makes people nicer to one another.
2. Good design reduces evil.
3. Beautiful stylish design gives you a moral compass, a way to navigate those difficult decisions.
4. Functional design reduces death.
5. Correct font usage attracts the opposite sex.

Nathan Miller

Good work AGD. You're definitely right, computers are merely tools to be used and anyone that would rely upon them to produce something genuinely creative is lazy. Creativity has to do, on a simplistic level, with intermixing two seperate concepts to make a new one. So perhaps a computer could facilitate in the pairing of concepts but only a human being would be able to differentiate the plausible from the implausible. The mathematical equivalent which computers are of no use is the P VS NP problem: http://www.claymath.org/millennium/P_vs_NP/
Both are impossible without humans.

As for the previous comment however there is always the problem of deciding what is 'good design' or 'beautiful stylish design'? These are subjective ideas which pertain to your relative experiences with design and incorporate your own personal aesthetic. An aesthetic that may not be shared by others. But that's the beauty of life, people have different ideas about different things.

'Beautiful stylish design' can also be used to tell lies and make you purchase or fetishise crap you don't need. 'Good' design can be used for evil as well as good (ie. AK-47's and Nazis). I would also add the AK-47 to the functional design reduces death category. As for correct font usage, that hot front desk girl could have a penchant for Comic Sans. Would you stoop to that level?


From the 60s through the 80s movie narratives were replete with the trope of the "computer who gets too smart and takes over" or something. HAL, Westworld, WarGames, Terminator. This was because people didn't understand computers, for the most part. Now that many people use computers, that narrative has gone away, for the most part -- it doesn't speak to our fears anymore, people realize that computers are just tools. And this during a period in which I'm sure advancements in AI have been phenomenal. We're very confident of our ability to harness computational power precisely because we recognize that it isn't very similar to human cognition.


Hi there, you make some good points but fail to "demonstrate" that computers can't be creative. Understandably so, as such statements are impossible to demonstrate. Framed the opposite though, it becomes incrementally possible to show:

1) what one defines as creative
2) instances of 1) generated by computers
3) synthesis "by" in 2) is qualitatively different from "with", implying agency

Technology and creativity (the dual concept for which we still have no term) are getting far.

Keep an eye on this field in the next few years. You'd be surprised to see that "impossible" becomes "possible" (in a sctrict, formal sense) over the years.




wonderful post, up there with the design disease.

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