According to Autodesk, artificial intelligence is the key to sustainable development. The company is adopting technologies based around AI and machine learning to boost its design process, and ease the evolution of designs. But how does this work and bring sustainable development?
"As designs become increasingly computable, the ability and ease of making changes grows exponentially," said Tatjana Dzambazova, AI Strategy, Office of the CTO, Autodesk."At Autodesk, we harness the latest advances in AI and ML to anticipate the customer needs and transform the way design works. The result is the emergence of a powerful workflow for product and building design."
We have seen how Google's AlphaGo defeated real Go champions using artificial intelligence. Similarly, Google's AutoML supposedly wrote a machine learning code better than human developers. In much the same way, Autodesk wants to use AI to transform the way people design and make things today.
"What is leading in our next direction is the connectivity of products, connectivity of people to projects, and leveraging technologies like the generative design and the cloud to empower simulations," Joachim Jake Layes, Director of Sustainable Market Development, AutoDesk told Gadgets 360. "All this is the key to our sustainable development model as all the civil engineers, architects, and designers can use the available technology to leverage it to make better products."
Layes believes that the evolution of technology makes things cheaper and easier to access, and there is a need to make the latest technology available to bring sustainability and increase productivity for new developments.
AI powers major Autodesk solutions
This is happening at Autodesk in different ways. There is Project Dreamcatcher as a research platform for generative design, while its Within Medical softwae allows designers to build porous and rough surface lattices to aid bone integration of medical implants. Further, there is Autodesk Nastran that analyses linear and nonlinear stress, dynamics, and heat transfer characteristics of structures and mechanical components to develop new products. Fusion 360 is also available as a standalone tool by the company to connect an entire product development process into a single cloud-based platform that can be accessed on Mac as well as PCs.
Autodesk University 2017 Showcases 3D Printing Innovation in India
Elaborating the social benefits of AI for a computer-first company like Autodesk, Layes asserted: "AI is the opportunity where a combination of simulation computations happens over the cloud. This helps us get much greater ways of insights into the effects of few buildings in addition to optimising energy consumption as well as appropriate resource material allocation."
Machine learning integration
Alongside its AI practices, Autodesk is favouring machine learning to bring optimise energy consumption of the products designed through tools as well as optimise its existing tools. "We believe that the machine learning-based tools have the opportunity to optimise energy consumption and optimise their use," Layes told Gadgets 360.
Dzambazova, on the other hand, believes that the progress in machine learning will accelerate generative design as a whole by incorporating what designers want into their design process. "Machine learning will also give robots the ability to complete tasks without dependence on designers for explicit instructions," she added. "Further, it will use the input from its new digital nervous system, also known as the Internet of Things, to perceive and react intelligently to the real world."
The environment, as per Dzambazova, is already conducive for India to leapfrog into the digital economy driven by AI and machine learning. "In an emerging economy like India, when every business, every business, every sector is marching towards 4.0, AI, and ML will boost efficiency and productivity by fueling wider and more effective applications of innovations such as robotics, additive manufacturing (3D printing), and generative design," she affirmed.
Automation to help experts, but not lead to unemployment
The advancements using AI and machine learning are giving automation its real shape - which is the key focus of companies including Autodesk that are supporting the generative design process. But the concept of automation brings with it the fear of unemployment, as many fear AI will empower computers to do much of the work presently done by humans.
Layes believes the opposite will be true. "The way we see automation is an opportunity to help; it's not to replace humans with machines," he said. "It is in a sense to make the role of designers and architects easier and more insightful to finally help them make better choices in terms of materials and understand their future impact."
Disclosure: Autodesk sponsored the correspondent's flights for the event in Bengaluru.