AI Revolution in Design: Challenges and Opportunities

We invited Casey Hudetz, Design Manager at DocuSign, to understand “The Evolving Role of Design in the Age of AI”.


Casey Hudetz

Who did we interview?

Casey Hudetz is a designer, speaker, teacher, and award-winning filmmaker living in Chicago. Since receiving his master's degree in Human-Computer Interaction he has been designing digital products and services with a focus on emerging technologies (such as AI, AR, and Voice). Over the last decade, he has given talks around the world about artificial intelligence, speculative design, art history, and more.

He currently leads the AI and design team for DocuSign. In his spare time, you can find him biking around the city with his wife and two sons.

Let us quickly get to our expert's point of view.

  • Ques 1 : How do you see the role of designers evolving as AI technologies continue to advance, and what skills will be most valuable in the future?

    Ans : Every day brings a new discussion about how AI will transform the work experience for many, and it's fair to assume that designers won't be an exception. As a result, we'll need to adapt and evolve, both in significant and subtle ways, to stay in step with these changes.

    Recently, I've been examining my past decade of design work through the lens of AI's capabilities and reflecting on how these new tools could have done my work. I imagine AI streamlining tasks like generating endless survey questions or transcribing whiteboard sessions from a single photo. It's now possible to extract insights from large data sets directly through AI, similar to consulting a data scientist - ultimately helping the designer design better products. Even storyboarding user scenarios is simplified, as AI-generated images replace the need for illustrators. These efficiencies, though seemingly minor, add up to significant time savings, which allow me to devote more energy to strategic thinking and high-level design concepts.

    I believe that designers in the near future will find the most success by working symbiotically with AI, harnessing its speed to enhance creative and strategic capabilities. This skill will come from regular experimentation and imagination. The sooner a designer is up to speed on what AI can do, the sooner they can amplify their impact.

    In the long run, (and I cringe typing it because it’s so fuzzy) it’s the development of soft skills that will set designers on the most productive path. Asking the right questions. Facilitating effective collaboration. Communicating your points clearly and to the right people. Those types of skills are learnable, timeless, and valuable in any profession. If we can focus on refining the soft skills, we can work with AI to fill in the rest.

  • Ques 2 : In your opinion, what are the most significant challenges and opportunities in the field of design and AI today?

    Ans : One of the biggest challenges is being able to use AI in our work with the appropriate privacy and safety controls intact. I can think of hundreds of AI uses for designers, but if they work at a company where these tools are banned or severely limited, then they will need to stick to their usual way of working.

    It’s completely understandable for companies to either limit or outright ban the use of these tools until certain protections are in place. But the longer companies wait to grant these tools to their teams - let it be design, marketing, engineering, or otherwise - the longer it will take for them to unlock the compounding benefits of AI assistance.

    Now, I believe this is a very temporary blocker. As Microsoft Co-Pilot and Google Duet and every other program that knowledge workers depend upon are infused with GenAI capabilities, work life will be transformed for all of us.

  • Ques 3 : Can you provide an overview of your career journey and how you became a leader in both design and AI?

    Ans : Like many designers I know, the path here was anything but direct. I spent the first ten years of my career finding ways to see the world through whatever job I could find. I led adventure travel in Central America, oversaw a communications team aboard a ship that circumnavigated the globe, won a film contest that sent me to a few different continents, and many other roles that helped pacify my ravenous travel bug. Between these international jaunts, I taught, sold produce at farmer’s markets, and worked as an associate director of a student travel company.

    I hit a point where I knew I needed to get on some sort of track: a career and not just a series of jobs. I got my degree in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) due to my interest in psychology, design, and tech. From there I jumped into agency life and was drawn to emerging technology projects. This led me to design voice skills, AR experiences, and more. Simultaneously I was giving talks around the world on different topics ranging from design to AI to art history. Eventually, I landed at DocuSign and happened to have the interests and skills necessary to work on the AI and design team right as the AI arms race kicked off last fall.

  • Ques 4 : What advice would you give to emerging leaders or individuals aspiring to lead in the design and AI field?

    Ans : Other than getting comfortable working with GenAI tools as I mentioned before, I think it’s crucial to focus on developing communication skills. Even if your research or design work is top-notch, it won't have the impact it deserves unless you can share it effectively. It might feel a bit awkward at first, but getting good at crafting a clear thesis or point of view, and then confidently presenting it – whether it's in a speech, a presentation, or a Slack message – will pay huge dividends. In my career, my biggest breaks and opportunities came from presenting my thoughts in and outside of the workplace. I think that skill, more than many others, will help you level up.

  • Ques 5 : Can you recommend any books, courses, or resources for individuals interested in learning more about the intersection of design and AI?

    Ans : "AI and UX: Why Artificial Intelligence Needs User Experience" is a great foundational book.

    • "Superhuman by Zain Kahn" is a great newsletter to stay on top of AI news.

    • "Ethan Mollick" and "Allie K. Miller" are leaders in the AI space that I like.

Aman Benipal

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