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AI tool to generate app designs pulled after it copies Apple’s work

Generative AI seems like the wonder tool that will change the creative process, but as we’ve witnessed, these early stages of the technology have lots of bumps on its road. The latest company to ram into an unforeseen AI speed bump is Figma, a design company for software developers. Figma thought their new Make Design tool that uses AI to create mockups was going to be a hit, but the company has pulled it for reasons that are, well, embarrassing.

As pointed out on X, Make Design creates mockups that look exactly like Apple apps. In one example, a weather app submitted to Make Design resulted in a mockup that looks so much like Apple’s Weather app that it’s hard to tell the difference.

It’s one thing to create a design that’s inspired by others, but in this case, it’s a downright rip-off. Figma’s excuse? It’s not their fault since they don’t use their own AI models. In an X thread, Figma CEO Dylan Field said that Make Design “uses off-the-shelf LLMs, combined with design systems we commissioned to be used by these models.” When Figma CTO Kris Rasmussen was asked by The Verge if Make Design was trained directly on Apple’s app designs, Rasmussen “couldn’t say for sure.”

“I have asked our team to temporarily disable the Make Design feature until we are confident we can stand behind its output,” Field posted on X.

Generative AI will eventually be a wonder tool, but this Figma incident is just another reminder that these tools can’t be used without a watchful eye. As Daring Fireball’s John Gruber puts it, “Generative AI is really good and truly useful when you say ‘Here’s a thing, help me tweak it or change it.’ But when you say ‘Make a new thing for me’ you’re effectively just getting a rip-off a lot–or perhaps most–of the time.”

That watchful eye needs to be applied to Apple Intelligence, too. While Apple is taking a cautious approach, users need to be vigilant that the tools are doing what they are supposed to without compromise.