What emerging technology will most impact the future of your work? We asked Autodesk University Exhibit Hall visitors which technology they are most excited about with regard to the future of their work? They voted. We heard them. Can you guess which one won?
They say that robots are coming to take our jobs. At Autodesk, we are hoping to help create new industries to mitigate the negative effects of the changing work environment. Just as people moved to factories when agricultural tools (e.g., tractors) reduced the need for farm workers, what will people do in the future? So, what does the future of work hold for us? They say robots are coming for us. At Autodesk, we believe that robots are coming for us. Instead of supplanting us, robots and humans will work side by side. Automation/augmentation technology will help us achieve what we want to achieve — not hinder us. We make software that helps work get done because Autodesk makes software for people who make things. If you're creating a high-performance car, a towering skyscraper, a smartphone, or a great film, your work can be aided by Autodesk applications and services. That's true now and will remain true in the future. We've got your back.
Autodesk wants to bring customers technology that helps them make more things, better things, with less. There are many technologies that can be brought to bear. So we asked: What technologies do you think will be most impactful to your work in the future?
In the same way that smartphones have augmented our abilities to recall or look up information, robotics offers the ability to augment our abilities to perform physical tasks.
Augment Reality (AR)/Virtual Reality (VR)
AR/VR offer the ability for everyone to experience designs in-person and in-context as compared to looking at blueprints or viewing 3D models.
Generative Design allows designers to specify the requirements that meet their customers' needs and have the computer generate multiple design options, score them against those requirements, and allow the designer to select one.
Internet of Things
Things that are smart and connected offer the potential to provide data (after they are made and are in use) that can be used to improve the design and make process.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)/Machine Learning (ML)
AI/ML offers the ability to augment the design experience by leveraging big data and applying that to design patterns that solve problems in the most effective ways.
We let AU attendees make their opinions known using a cup of 10 blue mini-balls. They voted for technologies by depositing a number of balls into cylinders that reflected their enthusiasm for each technology. We could all watch the cylinders fill up to get a sense of which technologies Autodesk customers considered most impactful to the future of work.
So how did it go?
The exhibit hall first opened after Andrew Anagnost's Opening Keynote where he shared Autodesk's optimistic view of the future of work. After a few hours, Generative Design had an early lead:
Tuesday night gets a crowd as dinner is served in the Exhibit Hall. On Wednesday morning before the hall opened, the results looked like this:
Generative Design maintained its lead.
Wednesday morning's AEC Technical Keynote included Kelsey Stein, a specialist in BIM-based Preconstruction services at Skanska, who shared her story of how Skanska used Virtual Reality to win projects. On Thursday morning, everyone could see the effect that her talk had in that AR/VR started to catch up to Generative Design:
On the last day, AU attendees had used all used all 12,000 of the mini-balls to cast their votes. The ball aquarium, that employees filled cups from, was empty. I posted the results and thanked everyone for voting:
Generative Design was able to hang on by a slim margin:
Is that what you guessed?
So the technologies that AU attendees are most excited about with regard to the future of their work (in order of popularity) are:
- Generative Design
- Augment Reality/Virtual Reality
- Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning
- Internet of Things
When the voting was all done, one attendee from the construction industry said:
"I can tell that most of your attendees are architects. They love it when Generative Design comes up with fancy designs. Then I have to build them. When will they realize that a right angle is a beautiful thing?"
Though the voting results help us determine where to put more or less effort, Autodesk is investing in bringing all of these technologies to help our customers. Fear not. Robotics will help build those "fancy designs." Actually, many of these technologies will converge. Generative design will improve based on AI/ML to create smart things that are experienced in AR/VR and then made by robots.
A Las Vegas-based work-study program was alive in the lab.