When frog design fired Doreen Lorenzo for doing great work for a client but not charging enough, Mark Rolston decided to leave the firm and start his own company.

It was the “actual kick in the pants to do it right then,” Rolston recalled.

He worked at frog for 20 years since 1994 and wanted to “remake what I enjoyed about frog” and roll it out into the marketplace. argodesign encourages a “culture of open willingness to argue” and challenges each other’s work to get the best possible solution and products. argodesign focuses on creating products that interact with technology.

Lorenzo, assistant dean of the School of Design and Creative Technologies at the University of Texas at Austin College of Fine Arts, interviewed Rolston at BigIdeasATX, a monthly event series hosted by Silicon Hills News. Unnanu, evisio, and Swyft sponsored the event.

Rolston founded argodesign in 2014, and in 2018, he sold to a $22 billion IT company, DXC Technology, for an undisclosed sum. Rolston, who has a more than 30-year career in the design industry, has worked with some of Austin’s most innovative startups, including Apptronik on its Apollo robot for NASA and ICON on its massive 3-D printer for houses and other structures. argodesign also works with Dreamworks, Sam’s Club, and others. argodesign has offices in New York, Amsterdam and Munich.

During an hour-long talk at argodesign’s headquarters in downtown Austin, Lorenzo asked Rolston about topics such as AI, creativity, copyright, technology evolution, and AI’s future.

Here are five key takeaways from the talk:

  1. Shift in Technology and Product Development and AI in Software Development:
    Rolston talked about the evolution of the products being developed, from stereos and toasters to software and mobile apps. He discussed the challenges of creating AI tools for developers to make sense of AI at scale. He mentioned a shift toward dynamic, on-the-fly application creation, exemplified by the mention of Google’s Gemini.
  2. Velocity of Change and Creativity:
    Lorenzo and Rolston talked about the rapid pace of technological change and its impact on creativity. They explored ideas on the potential for AI to create dynamic, ephemeral applications based on user requests.
  3. Copyright Issues:
    Rolston said there is a need for potential regulation in the context of copyright, mainly as AI generates content inspired by existing works. He said there are challenges in existing copyright law, and there is a need for a rewrite to address AI-generated content.
  4. Creativity and Human-AI Collaboration:
    Rolston acknowledged the role of humans in creativity and the belief that creatives will find ways to protect their work in the digital space. He believed that AI could enhance the creative processes and contribute a new form of collaboration.
  5. Complexity of Emotion in AI and AI as a Tool for Empowerment: Rolston said detecting emotion in AI is a complex problem. Humans often attribute emotions to machines that are programmed to react like Furbys, according to Lorenzo. Rolston has a vision of designing AI systems that empower individuals to participate actively in conversations and the world around them.

Watch the entire talk in the YouTube video embedded below for more information.

Mark Rolston, Founder and Chief Creative of argodesign interviewed by Doreen Lorenzo

BigIdeasATX with Mark Rolston, Founder and Chief Creative of argodesign Doreen Lorenzo, Assistant Dean, School of Design and Creative Technologies at the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas at Austin, will interview Mark Rolston at the event.