To help introduce AItopia, our new editorial series exploring the short-term and future implications of artificial intelligence (AI) for design and architecture, we asked readers to come up with visual branding using generative AI programs such as Midjourney.
We received nearly 100 entries to the competition from architects, designers and students around the world.
Entrants were asked to produce a simple, striking image that touched on the question of whether advances in machine learning mean the world is heading for a utopian future, or a dystopian one.
As part of the judging process, Dezeen's editorial team selected a shortlist of 10 of the best submissions that demonstrated a variety of different approaches to the brief.
Our judges, Dezeen editorial director Max Fraser, Pentagram partner Natasha Jen and the world's first AI designer, Tilly Talbot, then selected a winner – who was awarded £1,000 and whose artwork will feature through the AItopia series.
Below are the 10 entries that made the shortlist:
Selina Yau, British architect and designer, created using Midjourney (winner)
Selina Yau's captivating, haunting and surreal vision of how AI will change the world came out as the judges' favourite.
They agreed that its tonally ambiguous depiction of two hooded figures in a landscape that balances the natural world, the built environment and strange, unfamiliar objects accurately captured the competition brief.
"There is a tendency to veer towards a sci-fi futuristic aesthetic with a topic like AI but for me, the winning artwork by Selina Yau delivers a more intriguing vision of our future that could easily straddle the fine line between utopia and dystopia," said Fraser.
Florian Gast, German architect, created using Midjourney
Basel-based German architect Florian Gast created an artwork that depicts office workers sorting avocados as a comment on generative AI's potential to render service professionals obsolete.
The judges praised Gast's humorous and innovative approach to the brief, as well as the striking visual effect of the piece.
Daniel Riopel, Canadian R&D technician, created using Midjourney
This entry portrays a glass-bound planet Earth embedded into the core of a motherboard but also apparently expanding through its dome – signifying the delicate and closely intertwined relationship between humanity and technology.
It was created by Daniel Riopel, a production research and development technician working on prefabricated homes in Ottowa.
Nathan Branch, British architectural assistant, created using Midjourney
Oxford Architects part one architectural assistant Nathan Branch produced a dystopian vision of a future that has become overrun by giant data cores housing AI servers as a result of humanity's incessant pursuit of technological progress.
Branch was the only entrant who produced his supporting statement through AI chatbot ChatGPT.
Sally Hogarth, British designer, created using DALL-E
Reminiscent of Michelangelo's painting The Creation of Adam, it depicts a robot hand and a human hand tenderly exchanging a shrunken planet Earth.
Mario Santaniello and Athina Athiana, Venezuelan urban designer and Greek architect, created using Midjourney
Drawing on the drawings of 18th-century Italian artists Giovanni Battista Piranesi and Canaletto, this piece visualises the gravity-defying structures of a digital city in the metaverse.
It was produced as a comment on the wide-ranging potential of AI in architecture and design by Venezuelan urban designer Mario Santaniello and Greek architect Athina Athiana.
Gabriela Piasta Tworek, Polish architect, created using Midjourney
This dreamy illustration prompted by San Francisco-based Polish architect Gabriela Piasta Tworek imagines a future city shaped by vast neural networks – the computing systems that power AI.
It was praised by the judges for deftly balancing a sense of optimism and unease with its aesthetic and thought-provoking concept.
Carlos Murilo Oliveira, Brazilian architect, Stable Diffusion
Self-employed Brazilian architect Carlos Murilo Oliveira chose to portray a cluster of hands, some robot and some human, with this abstract piece. His was the only entry on the shortlist created using Stable Diffusion.
It is intended to represent humans and machines joining forces in the creation process, but also comments on the limitations of AI – which struggles to produce the right number of fingers in its images of hands.
Clifford Harris, British designer, created using Midjourney
Clifford Harris is design studio manager at Poetry in Wood, a London charity that offers training in art, design and woodwork for adults with learning disabilities.
His expressive, neon-drenched design imagines a future city after the emergence of super-intelligent AI – sometimes referred to a god-like AI – hostile and desolate to human beings but beautiful in its own right.
Victoria Simpson, British architect, created using Midjourney
The judges admired the unique style of this piece, a proposal for how public space may operate in an AI-dominated future where shared human experiences are the priority and technology has enabled the construction of fantastical structures.
It was created by Victoria Simpson, a partner at London studio DLG Architects.
This article is part of Dezeen's AItopia series, which explores the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on design, architecture and humanity, both now and in the future.