Spring Semester Course
From Datasets to Places: Generative AI in Design Practices
Wentworth Institute of Technology
Course Description: With the advancements of large language model-based chatbots like OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which can now see, hear, and speak, we are entering a phase of radical design possibilities and multimodal human-machine interactions. This course will introduce the rapidly advancing field of generative artificial intelligence applied to creative design practices. Through a series of hands-on technical workshops, we will prototype responsive interfaces and context-specific designs using the latest open-source machine-learning models, tools, and datasets. We will unpack the theoretical framework through lectures, readings, and discussions on AI ethics,authorship, and agency. The first part of the class will focus on introductory AI tool-building exercises combining physical computing (using sensors and microcontrollers), immersive mixed realities (across augmented and virtual realities through Unity), and generative models (through OpenAI, Stable Diffusion, Grasshopper, etc.).
The main course project will consist of an AI-aided design or interface that embraces the increasing continuity between physical and digital experiences. Projects can span from the scale of the body through sensors and hacked perception to the urban scale through datasets and augmented environments. The course poses several questions. How can we maintain agency as designers while integrating these technologies? What feedback loops should we embed in these systems and future user interfaces? And how will these offer a new lens to engage with the city? Our toolkit will consist of a range of hybrid modalities, from gestures and spoken language to images, physical prototypes, and immersive mixed realities. The course will host a series of guest speakers with industry experts.
By the end of this course, students will be able to:
• develop a programming mindset and understand the fundamentals of AI;
• learn to navigate across different platforms and deploy machine learning models;
• engage with an emerging AI-aided creative design processes through a human-centric perspective;
• analyze and describe the values, benefits and limitations of these emerging technologies;
• prototype physical computing tools and interfaces.
Instructed by: George Guida