A cautionary tale about the impact of AI on human design teams

Guanglu Zhang, Ayush Raina, Jonathan Cagan, Christopher McComb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) offer opportunities for integrating AI into human design teams. Although various AIs have been developed to aid engineering design, the impact of AI usage on human design teams has received scant research attention. This research assesses the impact of a deep learning AI on distributed human design teams through a human subject study that includes an abrupt problem change. The results demonstrate that, for this study, the AI boosts the initial performance of low-performing teams before the problem change but always hurts the performance of high-performing teams. The potential reasons behind these results are discussed and several suggestions and warnings for utilizing AI in engineering design are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100990
JournalDesign Studies
StatePublished - Jan 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Architecture
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Engineering
  • General Social Sciences
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Artificial Intelligence


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