Q: What do you call paper figures that sit on top of your desk?
A: Stationary art*
The Strategic Foresight team at Autodesk looks systematically at the future and facilitates active discussions to help Autodesk determine possible and preferable future directions. The team identifies and analyzes weak signals and forces of change to surface future opportunities and threats and to inform assumptions behind company and industry strategy. Our team works with Autodesk leaders to shape a preferable future that delivers value for our customers and our business.
As part of continuing their studies, two interns joined our team for the summer — Julienne DeVita and Steven Morse — see the other blog article for their bios.
One way to reach a preferable future is to describe it ahead of time and work towards it. Scenarios can serve that purpose. As part of spurring conversations around the company regarding innovation, Julienne and Steven created some scenarios on how products might be designed in the future. The thought behind this was rather than present a list of hard-cold facts, it is more compelling to share such information via stories.
Here is one of those scenarios.
Max had been toying with the idea of getting a new work-from-home set up for a while now. He had recently landed a new remote job as a software engineer for a healthcare nonprofit, and that signing bonus was calling his name. His back and neck were begging him for a custom ergonomic upgrade, and with this new job, Max felt he had earned himself a personalized desk. Max put on his headset and entered the VR marketplace. After browsing in the VR space for a few minutes, he settled on the furniture store he relied on when designing his bedframe and dresser last year.
After being greeted by virtual employees, Max was assigned a personal AI shopping assistant, Hylla. Hylla’s voice was familiar, he remembered the AI from his last visit, “Hello again Max, welcome back, how can I assist you today?” Max started answering Hylla’s standard questions as to what he was looking for. He transitioned back into his physical office to show Hylla exactly where the desk would be placed inside his home. Meanwhile, Hylla recorded dimensional data.
The next part of the process was his favorite. Max didn’t have many outlets where he could spend time thinking creatively, and this process made him feel like he was more than just the customer, he was the designer. Max took his time during the inspiration phase — he spent almost 30 minutes pulling inspirational pictures, including a bio-sensor lamp he already owned and some other color palettes and materials textures he was drawn to. When he was finished, Hylla compiled Max’s inspiration and computed a few bare line sketches of desk designs to build from.
After choosing a sketch, Max customized the structure of the design. He then opened the materials suggestions panel and began experimenting with various materials that were generated based off of his hand-picked inspirations. Hylla placed his design in the corner of his office as Max began testing different materials. Each material included information that informed Max of elements such as the durability, longevity, locality, and cost of the material. After a while, he reached his desired aesthetic: legs made of recycled metal, a stained bamboo wooden surface, and the remaining design elements were made of mycelium and a hemp bio-material that was grown about 20 minutes from his home.
Max told Hylla he was happy with his design and took off his headset. Now, all he had to do now was wait. Hylla, on the other hand, was breaking down the design into its component parts and prepping CAD files for the nearest network location smart factory. Hylla was also busy sourcing the required components from other factories in their network. The dynamic production line at the factory would then adjust for the new design, routing the custom shapes Max had created and incorporating his material choices. Before long, the desk was ready and shipped to Max.
So what are your thoughts? Does it seem plausible? Does this constitute design?
What if we provided a real-world example?
|A research team at Tsinghua University has proposed an AI system that generates paintings in custom aesthetics. In the system called AI Painting, the program generates an original image from context text, transfers that image into a specific artist genre, and illustrates the painting process. Projects like this demonstrate a new take on aesthetics associated with generative design.
Is it more convincing with the example? What if you just had the example and not the story?
Feel free to comment or provide feedback to [email protected].
At Autodesk, we help everyone imagine, design, and make a better world. We deliver customers intuitive, powerful, and accessible technology that provides automation and insight for their design and make processes, enabling them to achieve better outcomes for their products, their businesses, and the world. Storytelling as part of considering possible futures, navigating uncertainty, and leveraging change can help Autodesk and its customers achieve the best possible future.
Storytelling is alive in the lab.