41% of architects now using AI, indicates RIBA report

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The 2024 Artificial Intelligence Report by RIBA (the Royal Institute of British Architects) has been published. It presents insights gathered from a survey of over 500 RIBA members. This comprehensive report explores the implications of AI on architectural practice and the profession, accompanied by expert articles addressing key concerns raised by AI integration.

The report, published on 29 February 2024, reveals that 41% of architects in the UK are already using AI for at least some projects, and among them, 43% believe that it has made the design process more efficient. Additionally to the question of how they are using AI, the report also includes asking architects how they plan to use it, and in the next two years, 54% of architects plan their practice to use AI, and 57% think it will increase efficiency. However, this approach does not seem to be matched by investment yet, as 69% say their practice has not invested in AI research, and only 41% expect their practice to invest.

© Tim Fu

With increasing hype about AI, which has huge potential for sustainable urbanization, and 70% of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050, 57% of architects plan to use AI for environmental analysis in the next two years. And %49 highlight the importance of digital tools, including AI, to meet complex buildings, which include climate adaptations and smart building technology. However, there are also some challenges and mixed-thought about using AI. With changing opinions, %58 of architects think AI can increase the risk of unique work imitations. Some of them worry that it can take over their jobs. %36 of architects see AI as a threat, %34 do not see it as a threat, and %30 remain neutral.

“We are currently in an era marked by rapid technological advancement.” says RIBA president Muyiwa Oki, “Today, artificial intelligence (AI) emerges as the most disruptive tool of our time, and its role in shaping the future of architecture cannot be overstated.” and continued; “Our findings show architects are curious and open-minded about AI, and some of us are true pioneers,”

“By 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’s no turning back.”

Muyiwa Oki, RIBA President 2023 – 2025
© Tim Fu

RIBA has released some comments from architects in response to the survey. The comments show divergent opinions on topics ranging from efficiency to collaboration and common concerns from ethics to copyright infringement:

“AI 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.” 

“AI cannot produce that blue sky moment the architect can.” 

“I 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.” 

“There 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).” 

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