Dezeen Magazine


"Architects may become a thing of the past" says ChatGPT

Powerful new chatbot ChatGPT has delivered a stark warning to architects about the existential threat that AI poses to the profession.

ChatGPT, which has generated huge attention since being launched by US company OpenAI two months ago, claimed that architects who ignore the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) "risk sleepwalking into oblivion".

It made the alarming comments in a text conversation with AI architecture expert Neil Leach, a professor at Florida International University.

"Architects may become a thing of the past"

In an opinion piece published on Dezeen today, Leach warned that architecture jobs are already being put at risk.

Leach asked ChatGPT for an "attention grabbing" answer to how AI could negatively impact the architecture profession in the future.

"In the near future, architects may become a thing of the past," the bot responded. "AI is quickly advancing to a point where it can generate the design of a building completely autonomously."

"With the potential to create designs faster and with more accuracy than ever before, AI has the potential to revolutionize the architecture industry, leaving traditional architects out of the equation," it continued.

"This could spell the end of the profession as we know it, raising questions of what the future holds for architects in a world of AI-generated buildings."

ChatGPT works using a generative pre-trained transformer (GPT) software program called GPT3, which rapidly scours the internet for information in order to provide human-like text answers to user prompts.

Reports have quickly spread across the internet of its capabilities, such as writing highly specialised essays, poems or code almost instantly.

An update on the GPT3 system, GPT4, is already under development, and Leach questioned whether ChatGPT will soon be able to fulfil some of the functions of a human architect.

"Could we not use ChatGPT, for example, for advice on which material to specify for a building? In fact, could not anyone else do so – including non-architects?" he wrote.

Some believe ChatGPT will become the future of internet search, leading it to earn the nickname "Google killer". Google parent company Alphabet, Microsoft and Meta are among the tech companies investing heavily in AI chatbots projects.

"It is imperative that architects pay attention"

ChatGPT emphasised the importance of architects getting to grips with AI and harnessing its potential application as a tool in order to avoid being "left behind and ultimately forgotten".

"Architects who choose to ignore AI will be left behind and ultimately forgotten as the industry evolves and advances," it told Leach.

"Therefore, it is imperative that architects pay attention to AI and its potential to revolutionize architecture, or they risk sleepwalking into oblivion."

AI has become a major talking point among architects and designers in the past two years, accelerated by the advent of text-to-image generation software like OpenAI's Dall-E 2 and Midjourney.

Many users have created images of imaginary buildings using these tools, such as a speculative proposal for next year's Serpentine Pavilion, while designers told Dezeen that AI will become a top trend in 2023.

The photo is by Jonathan Kemper.