Figma Disables A.I. Design Tool After It Copied Apple’s Weather App

Emanuel Maiberg, 404 Media:

The design tool Figma has disabled a newly launched AI-powered app design tool after a user showed that it was clearly copying Apple’s weather app. 

Figma disabled the feature, named Make Design, after CEO and cofounder of Not Boring Software Andy Allen tweeted images showing that asking it to make a “weather app” produced several variations of apps that looked almost identical to Apple’s default weather app.

Dylan Field, Figma’s CEO, blamed this result on rushing to launch it at the company’s Config conference last week, and using a set of third-party models the company’s design components (see update below). Still, it is amazing how fast a company will move when it could reasonably be accused of intellectual property infringement.

It is consistent to view this clear duplication of existing works through the same lens of morality as when A.I. tools duplicate articles and specific artists. I have not seen a good explanation for why any of these should be viewed differently from the others. There are compelling reasons for why it is okay to copy the works of others, just as there are similarly great arguments for why it is not.

The duplication of Apple’s weather app by Figma’s new gizmo is laughable, but nobody is going to lose their livelihood because a big corporation’s A.I. feature ripped off the work of a giant corporation. It is outrageous, though, to see the unique style of individual artists and the careful reporting of publications being ripped off at scale for financial gain.

Update: An internal review found design components commissioned by Figma, not the A.I. layer itself, was to blame.