Our team focuses on strategic foresight. Strategic foresight is a practice of looking systematically at the future, understanding fragmented indicators that suggest possible futures, and developing a point of view about how to respond. We use imagination to envision how our customers will work in a future world (typically about ten years out) and backcasting to move from the future world to the present. Technologies like generative design get their start when we ask questions like "What if the computer actually aided in the design process instead of being just a documentation tool?" As an alternative to backcasting, we can look at the state of the practice today and forecast how our customers' work will evolve over the next decade. It's not a stretch of the imagination to envision a project where there's one set of data, i.e., a single source of truth in the cloud, that all project stakeholders work from. So our team's focus is squarely on the future.
Darren Brooker is a story strategist at Autodesk. Storytelling is related to strategic foresight in that storytelling helps frame Autodesk's future direction. By co-developing strategic narratives, Darren and other members of our team help ensure that our employees are equipped to engage with our customers in a dialog that further develops a shared view of the future. The best way to reach a common understanding is to tell a story that both customers and employees can relate to. Stories provide the waypoints as our technology evolves. Many of you regularly see Darren's work as part of Autodesk University keynote presentations.
As part of pondering the future, Darren recently shared three articles about the future:
|Robo-Apocalypse? Not in Your Lifetime
Economic historian, Brad DeLong, argues that the difference between information and tacit knowledge will prevent robots from taking (at least some of) our jobs.
|THE USPS TESTS OUT SELF-DRIVING TRUCKS FOR HAULING MAIL
The United States Postal Service, with the help of startup TuSimple, will move mail over 1,000 miles between Phoenix and Dallas via autonomous 18-wheel trucks.
|DeepMind Can Now Beat Us at Multiplayer Games, Too
Chess and Go seem like child's play now that Artificial Intelligence is beating humans at multiplayer games like Capture the Flag, but will such skills translate to the physical world?
Our customers' future is destined to include robots, autonomous vehicles, and artificial intelligence. Our team considers how these will apply to designing and making. The future of work is also changing. We're also considering how our customers will adapt and thrive in such a future with help from the tools we provide. The Autodesk position is that these technologies will augment human abilities instead of replacing them. Do you agree?
Autodesk has always been an automation company. Today, more than ever, that means helping our customers automate their design and make processes. We help them embrace the future of making, where they can do more (e.g., efficiency, performance, quality), with less (e.g., energy, raw materials, timeframes, waste of human potential), and realize the opportunity for better (e.g., innovation, user experience, return on investment). Robots, autonomous vehicles, and artificial intelligence offer the opportunity for better.
The future itself is alive in the lab.