Madrid Design Festival: Beyond Design

Category: future, artificial intelligence, technology, design


In the early 19th century, a new technology emerged in the world of painting and turned the processes of representing reality upside down. Until then, painters had had a monopoly on the graphic transmission of different events, but this new technology, photography, came to question and transform the model.

Many painters may have felt threatened by their status quo, but beyond that, they evolved, liberating painting into new territories.

And at the beginning of the 21st century, a new technology is spreading that breaks with the foundations of creative processes: Artificial Intelligence. So what role will humans play in a hypothetical future context in which a large percentage of creativity is delegated to the immediacy and efficiency of machines?

"Technology gives us the opportunity to see what really makes us different". Alberto Barreiro, Director of Transformation at The Cocktail.

This was the main question addressed at the round table organised by The Cocktail at the Madrid Design Festival, the international design event that has been held annually in the capital for the last six years. A session that included the participation of Alberto Barreiro, Transformation Director of The Cocktail, Atahualpa Badillo, Director of Strategic Design and Prospective at The Cocktail, Elisa Cuesta, artist, designer and cultural worker, Francesco María Furno, co-founder of Relajaelcoco, Esther Rizo, design and research, and Juan Alonso, creative and humanist technologist.

All of them talked about several topics that arouse curiosity and generate a deep debate on how Artificial Intelligence is increasingly impacting the world.

Some examples of use that were discussed were the applications of AI with an educational and experimental approach, art labs where it is treated as another form of imagination, and in the field of data analysis, among others. On the other hand, they analysed the power of Artificial Intelligence as another tool that can contribute to the creative process and its versatility when it comes to testing ideas and concepts in an agile way, returning useful information that can be shaped.

They also reviewed the different biases it contains due to its learning process, anchoring in the past and the sources of information from which it extracts data.

"Chat GPT has no knowledge of facts from 2022 or those we have had from 2023, because maintaining these systems is very expensive. They are like the mosquito trapped in amber frozen in time", Juan Alonso, creative technologist and humanist.

Another topic discussed was the relationship that people can have with these tools. There can be several types of tools, which are starting to be built at the moment when the level of interaction has increased in scale. These tools are capable of modelling language to acquire a certain tone and personality to interact with users.

"Artificial Intelligence can lead us to situations where we can learn from ourselves, and that is very valuable." Elisa Cuesta, artist, designer, and cultural worker.

Will we be able to find the perfect balance between Artificial Intelligence and human creativity? This question will continue to hang in the air and invite us to reflect on how both worlds should be conjugated to extract their best abilities. 

If you missed it, you can watch it here.