I predicted Figma AI would replace us (and here's what to do)

8 Jul 202408:09

TLDRIn this video, senior product designer Lily discusses the impact of AI on the design industry, particularly Figma's use of cloud data to train AI, potentially replacing human designers. She predicts a future where AI performs common tasks, urging designers to adapt by seeking complex projects, becoming specialized, and focusing on personal development to stay relevant and secure in their careers.


  • 🤖 AI is being integrated into design tools like Figma to automate and replace certain design tasks, which can be concerning for designers.
  • 🌐 Figma's cloud data, accumulated from user designs, is being used to train AI, potentially making the tool more autonomous and threatening to some design jobs.
  • 💡 Designer Lily predicted Figma's AI move and believes it's part of a broader industry trend where tech companies leverage user data to enhance AI capabilities.
  • 🚀 Adobe's interest in acquiring Figma was likely driven by the value of its cloud data, which contains a vast repository of design assets from across the tech industry.
  • 🛠 Other companies like Microsoft are also likely using their user data to train AI, indicating that AI's impact on jobs is not limited to the design industry.
  • 🔑 To future-proof their careers, designers should seek out complex and ambiguous projects that push their problem-solving skills and stay outside their comfort zones.
  • 🎨 Becoming an advanced and specialized designer, rather than a generalist, can offer protection against AI by focusing on high-quality, innovative work that AI cannot easily replicate.
  • 🛑 Advanced prototyping skills, such as those involving coding, are rare and valuable, positioning designers with these skills as less replaceable by AI.
  • 🏆 Specializing in areas like advanced visual design or product thinking can make a designer indispensable, as these roles require a deep understanding and expertise.
  • 🌟 Personal development, including public speaking and relationship management, is crucial as these human skills are irreplaceable by AI and add significant value.
  • 🛑 The key to thriving in the age of AI is to embrace the role of a problem solver, focusing on helping others and continuously improving one's ability to address challenges.

Q & A

  • What was Lily's prediction about Figma AI in her previous video?

    -Lily predicted that Figma would use AI to replace designers, leveraging its cloud data from all the designs, permutations, and variations uploaded by its users.

  • Why did Lily believe Figma's cloud data is valuable?

    -Lily believed Figma's cloud data is valuable because it contains the entire technology industry's worth of designs, including every kind of tech company, product, and design permutation, making it a rich resource for AI training.

  • What was Adobe's interest in Figma, according to Lily?

    -Adobe was interested in acquiring Figma for $20 billion, primarily for its cloud data, which contains a vast amount of design information that could be used to improve or replicate Figma's features.

  • Why did Lily think Adobe didn't simply copy Figma's features?

    -Adobe could have copied Figma's features due to their resources and capabilities, but they wanted to purchase Figma for its cloud data, which is a unique asset that couldn't be easily replicated.

  • What is Lily's view on the role of AI in the design industry?

    -Lily sees AI as a tool that can replace common tasks and even some designers, but she also believes that it will not be able to replace exceptional, innovative work or advanced problem-solving skills.

  • What are Lily's three strategies for designers to adapt to the AI era?

    -Lily's strategies include seeking out complex and ambiguous projects, becoming an advanced and specialized designer rather than a generalist, and focusing on personal development to enhance skills like public speaking, collaboration, and problem-solving.

  • Why should designers choose to work on complex and ambiguous projects?

    -Working on complex and ambiguous projects helps designers develop advanced problem-solving skills, which are essential for job security and career growth, especially in the face of AI advancements.

  • How can designers become advanced and specialized?

    -Designers can become advanced and specialized by mastering skills such as advanced prototyping that involves coding, becoming experts in visual design, or developing strong product thinking capabilities.

  • What does Lily suggest about personal development for designers?

    -Lily suggests that designers should focus on personal development by investing in skills like public speaking, collaboration, and the ability to take on challenges, as these are human qualities that AI cannot replace.

  • What is the main theme of Lily's message for designers in the video?

    -The main theme of Lily's message is to become problem solvers, as this mentality will always be in demand regardless of technological advancements like AI.

  • How does Lily plan to grow and develop as a senior product designer?

    -Lily plans to grow and develop by implementing the strategies she discussed, focusing on solving complex problems, becoming specialized in her skills, and continuously investing in her personal development.



🤖 AI's Impact on Designers and Figma's Strategy

In this paragraph, Senior Product Designer Lily discusses the implications of AI in the design industry, particularly focusing on Figma's use of cloud data to train AI. She predicted that Figma would leverage this data to replace human designers with AI, a prediction that has come to fruition. Lily highlights the vast amount of design data Figma has accumulated, which includes designs from a wide range of tech companies. She also touches on Adobe's interest in Figma, not for its features, but for the valuable design data it possesses. Lily emphasizes the importance of adapting to these changes and suggests that designers should seek out complex and ambiguous projects to grow and ensure their job security in the face of AI advancements.


🎨 Becoming Exceptional: Strategies for Designers in the AI Era

Lily offers three strategies for designers to evolve and adapt in the age of AI. The first strategy is to seek out complex and ambiguous projects to work on, as these are less likely to be replaced by AI and can enhance a designer's problem-solving skills. The second strategy is to specialize and become an advanced designer, focusing on areas where AI is less likely to excel, such as advanced prototyping that requires coding knowledge or becoming a visual design expert. The third strategy is to invest in personal development, emphasizing skills like public speaking, collaboration, and relationship management, which are human-centric and less susceptible to AI replacement. Lily concludes by encouraging designers to adopt a problem-solving mentality, as this will be key to their success regardless of AI's influence on the industry.



💡Figma AI

Figma AI refers to the artificial intelligence capabilities being integrated into the Figma design tool. The video discusses the potential for AI to replace human designers by learning from the vast amounts of design data uploaded to Figma's cloud. This is a central theme of the video, illustrating the fear and the reality of AI's impact on the design industry.

💡Cloud Data

Cloud Data in this context is the collection of design work, variations, and movements saved on Figma's servers whenever a user designs online. It is a critical resource for training AI, as it provides a wealth of examples and patterns from which the AI can learn. The video emphasizes the importance of this data in enabling Figma AI to potentially replace human designers.

💡AI Training

AI Training involves feeding data into an artificial intelligence system so that it can learn patterns and make predictions or decisions. In the script, the designer predicts that Figma will use the cloud data from user designs to train its AI, which is a process that could eventually lead to AI performing tasks traditionally done by human designers.

💡Adobe Acquisition

The term 'Adobe Acquisition' refers to Adobe's attempt to purchase Figma for $20 billion. The video suggests that Adobe's interest in Figma was driven by the value of Figma's cloud data, which contains a vast amount of design information from the technology industry. This acquisition attempt underscores the significance of data in the development of AI capabilities.

💡Ambiguous and Complex Projects

Ambiguous and Complex Projects are design tasks that are not straightforward and require a deep understanding and problem-solving skills. The video suggests that seeking out such projects can help designers grow and secure their future careers in the face of AI advancements, as these projects are less likely to be automated.

💡Advanced and Specialized Designer

An Advanced and Specialized Designer is someone who has exceptional skills in a particular area of design, such as advanced prototyping or visual design. The video argues that becoming such a designer can provide job security against AI, as AI is less capable of performing cutting-edge or innovative work that requires unique expertise.

💡Generalist Designer

A Generalist Designer is someone with a broad range of skills across different areas of design. The video contrasts this with being an advanced and specialized designer, suggesting that generalists may be more susceptible to AI replacement because AI can more easily replicate common design tasks.

💡Personal Development

Personal Development refers to the ongoing process of improving one's skills, knowledge, and abilities outside of formal education. The video advises designers to focus on personal development to build a diverse set of skills that can't be easily replaced by AI, such as public speaking and relationship management.

💡Problem Solver

A Problem Solver is an individual who is adept at identifying and addressing challenges. The video emphasizes the importance of adopting a problem-solving mentality, as this mindset is valuable regardless of the industry and is less likely to be threatened by AI advancements.

💡Legacy Projects

Legacy Projects are existing projects that have been developed over time and may not require the same level of innovation or complexity as new projects. The video mentions that some designers might choose to work on legacy projects for a slower pace or better work-life balance, but such projects might offer less protection against AI replacement.

💡Product Thinking

Product Thinking involves the ability to understand and shape the development of a product from a strategic perspective. The video suggests that designers can enhance their value by developing strong product thinking skills, which can make them indispensable in the product development process, even in the face of AI.


Lily, a senior product designer, predicted Figma AI's potential to replace designers using cloud data.

Figma's AI is trained on user designs uploaded to its cloud, creating a self-replacing user base.

Adobe's interest in Figma was primarily due to its valuable cloud data.

Figma's cloud contains a vast array of designs from various tech companies.

The rise of AI in design tools like Photoshop and Illustrator is not unique to Figma.

Microsoft's acquisition of GitHub could enable AI training on developer data.

Designers should seek complex and ambiguous projects to enhance their problem-solving skills.

Becoming an advanced, specialized designer can provide job security against AI.

Advanced prototyping skills involving coding are rare and AI-resistant.

Excelling in visual design or product thinking can make a designer irreplaceable by AI.

Focusing on personal development is crucial for adapting to AI advancements.

Public speaking and relationship management are human skills AI cannot replace.

Lily's three strategies for designers to evolve and adapt in the AI era.

The importance of continuous self-improvement and stepping out of comfort zones.

Being a problem solver is key to remaining valuable in the job market.

Lily's personal approach to growing as a designer in Silicon Valley amidst AI challenges.