top of page

INDUSTRY INSIGHTS

  • Writer's pictureRandy Deutsch

WHY I AM AN OPTIMIST

Updated: Jan 28

Optimism doesn’t mean that you are blind to the reality of the situation. It means that you remain motivated to seek a solution to whatever problems arise. — The Dalai Lama



I would be lying if I said it was easy remaining an optimist – staying positive throughout the day – especially with the near-constant barrage of negative news.

 

But also with the rise of technologies that threaten the role of the architect – and news about AI’s potential impact on the profession.

 

I tend to be naturally positive. It’s just baked into my DNA.

 

Still, despite all the negative press, I find I have to make a concerted and deliberate effort daily to remain positive.

 

I do this for two reasons.



One, to bring a building into the world requires optimism from not only the architect but everyone involved.

 

As an architect, you are asked to work in the world and also with the world.

 

To know that you have been entrusted with this responsibility is a privilege – one you don’t take lightly.

 

Building users and neighbors entrust you with doing the right thing not only for the paying client but for all concerned.

 

When a client entrusts you with their project, you are given license to help deliver something new into the world.

 

Something that you hope will have a positive impact on others. Otherwise, why would you bother?

 

Your client is optimistic that they will be able to afford the project, that it will be built on time, that what they said they wanted is close to what they need, and that it will continue to accommodate their needs for the foreseeable future – all qualities requiring optimism.

 

To be part of a team that brings a building into the world requires optimism.



Secondly, there is enough anxiety today in both our students and practitioners that we don’t need to be adding to it with negative articles, videos, and related media that exist to capture attention, likes and eyeballs.

 

As I have said elsewhere, posts with dire ‘death of the architect’ headlines often qualify – if not entirely walk back – their negative declarations midway through once they know they have your attention.

 

And interestingly, ‘death of the architect’ pronouncements are seldom made by practicing architects themselves.



“To me, I can’t imagine a more exciting, profitable future than bringing AI and what distinguishes us as human beings together.”

 

Those were my closing words to a recent This is DesignIntelligence podcast episode on the importance of being AI Ready.

 

The fear of course in making such statements is being perceived by listeners and peers as being pollyannaish – making light of concerns and realities, and the potential impacts they could have on our well-being and livelihood.

 

But I am not advocating for closing one’s eyes to what we face, all that is ahead of us.



Creative thinking requires that one be discontent with the state of the world and a belief that one can improve it through their thinking, engagement and intervention.

 

Critical thinking requires some healthy skepticism but there is no place for cynicism if one is to bring something that benefits others into the world.

 

Collaborative thinking requires that we believe something better and greater can come out of putting our minds together to come up with solutions to our most pressing problems.

 

And this goes for collaborating with technologies like AI.


For this to happen, one needs to be and remain optimistic – for oneself and for those who rely on one’s vision.

 

That, more than anything else, is why I am an optimist.

 

To have a positive impact and work every day to make things better.

 

Apologies if that comes across as pollyannaish.

bottom of page