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Designer claims that 90 per cent of architects will lose their jobs to AI

By Ashley Norris

Architects are urged to train as software developers instead

Designer claims that 90 per cent of architects will lose their jobs to AI

A New York-based designer has claimed that the growing use of artificial intelligence in architectural design means more than 90 per cent of architects will lose their jobs.

In a series of Instagram posts, Sebastian Errazuriz said that architects would be better off retraining as software developers.

He predicted that clients would soon be able to tell an app what kind of building they want, describe the budget, location, size and other preferences and get a range of options in seconds.

They would be able to “move the distribution around, see it in augmented reality, check how furniture will fit inside and approve the one that fits within budget.” The app would then recommend a local contractor to build the project.

Machine learning will soon allow software applications to synthesise vast amounts of architectural knowledge in seconds, he reiterated. Architects by contrast take years acquiring the skills and experience needed to design buildings, leaving them unable to compete.

Only a very few architects will survive, he predicted. “Architecture as an artistic practice is the only one that will survive and it will be developed by a tiny elite. We're talking five per cent, one per cent of architects max. The rest, they're done, they're doomed, they're gone. Finito. This is the end. Muerte.”

He advised architects to become software developers instead. “Go into tech,” he advised. “Understand that those same spatial capabilities can be used in more abstract ways to be able to co-ordinate giant systems and develop the systems of tomorrow, working with other types of engineers. Not the ones who will pour cement, but ones that will write code. Please make the switch now. Don't lose your job.”

Errazuriz has past form in upsetting the architectural establishment. Born in Chile and raised in London, the artist and designer courted controversy by proposing to turn the fire-damaged Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris into a rocket launchpad.

Other provocations by Errazuriz include his 2017 project that vandalised augmented-reality artworks by Jeff Koons, and a range of shoes designed for a dozen of his former lovers.

Studies that analyse how AI will impact employment are often contradictory. A 2018 study for the OECD found that 14 per cent of jobs across 32 countries are highly vulnerable, defined as having at least a 70 per cent chance of automation. A further 32 per cent were slightly less imperilled, with a probability between 50 per cent and 70 per cent.

Conversely analysis by accountancy giant PwC in 2018, found AI would boost economic growth, creating new roles as others fell away.

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