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41% of architects now using AI – 36% see it as a threat

29 Feb Research by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) reveals that 41% of UK architects are already using artificial intelligence to some extent.

AI image created with Midjourney [Credit: Jaina Valji, Copy & Space]
AI image created with Midjourney [Credit: Jaina Valji, Copy & Space]

The RIBA AI report*, out today, includes the findings of a survey asking architects how they are using and plan to use artificial intelligence (AI).

The headline is that 41% have used it at least on the occasional project and 43% of those found that it made the design process more efficient.

More than half (54%) of architects expect their practice to use AI over the next two years and 57% expect it to improve efficiency in the design process.

However, this ambition this doesn't yet seem to be matched by investment, as 69% say their practice has not invested in AI research and development, and only 41% expect their practice to invest.

The advent of AI has many worried: 58% of UK architects think that AI increases the risk of their work being imitated. Opinions are split on what this represents, with 36% seeing it as a threat to the profession, 34% not seeing it as a three and 30% neutral.聽

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Architects who responded to the survey said:

  • 鈥淎I will become an inevitable part of our increasing need to become more efficient, whilst also simultaneously helping us to deal with ever greater complexities of design and construction.鈥澛
  • 鈥淲e use AI to provide code for the automation of various aspects of project and document management, but still to a very limited degree.鈥
  • 鈥淲e use virtual environments and digital twins to achieve a radical reduction in the carbon, energy, water, and waste footprints of costly physical construction.鈥
  • 鈥淎I can offer the opportunity for architects to work with more efficiency and remove some of the more tedious work. If harnessed it can result in better work culture, fees and salaries.鈥
  • 鈥淗arness it, learn it, shape it and use it. It's coming and be on the wave rather than behind it. It's just another tool to use to generate better architecture. It doesn't take away the vision of the designer but assists it.鈥
  • 鈥淎I cannot produce that blue sky moment the architect can.鈥
  • 鈥淐urrent GenAI models have been trained on unlicensed copyrighted data. People who use them might be liable for copyright infringement.鈥
  • 鈥淚 generally don't think AI can replace our professional integrity nor creativity, but I believe AI can help us to advance our design much 'quicker' rather than 'better'. I believe we are still the driver and what comes out of AI can only be as good as what has been put in it.鈥
  • 鈥淭here are no real regulations in place and the ethical risks are very significant, from intellectual property, design creativity, employment and potential risks on the built environment too (if things go wrong).鈥

RIBA president Muyiwa Oki said:聽 鈥淎I is the most disruptive tool of our time, and we cannot overstate its role in shaping the future of architecture 鈥 from the character of our cities to the quality of our built environment. Our findings show architects are curious and open-minded about AI, and some of us are true pioneers.聽

鈥淏y fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and a culture of responsible innovation, we can harness the power of AI to create a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable built environment. There鈥檚 no turning back.

鈥淩IBA鈥檚 new expert advisory group on AI is building on the findings of this report to look at the broader ethical, professional, and competitive implications of the widespread integration of AI.鈥

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