As a member of the next generation, are you worried about the future? Are you worried about the robots and increasing levels of automation that affect your life and your livelihood? Given the headlines these days, it's understandable. However, I am more optimistic than ever about the future – with 10 billion people on Earth, most of them living in cities (many of which have not yet been built) and more than half enjoying life lifestyles. middle class, with all the energy needs, resource needs and global pressures that accompany it.
Meeting these needs seems like a huge challenge, and it is, but it is also an opportunity to conceive a life. While this sounds daunting, I think it's possible, and here's why: Today, you have unprecedented access to the tools and technologies needed to make better decisions about everything you design and do . Although ambitious, it is possible to bring billions into the middle class, to have abundant energy for everyone and create a better quality of life for all. It will not be easy. Manifesting this future will require to be extremely intentional to conceive billion not just a billion. Designing a better world for all will probably shape a better future for all.
So what does this better world look like? With 10 billion people to house, the world will need more products, infrastructure and buildings. In fact, an additional 1,000 buildings a day must be built today and every day in the future just to house this population. And the only way to follow the inevitable need to have more things for more people is to leverage technology not only as a design tool but also as a partner of design and co-creator. Automation opens your ability to design this future.
When many people think of automation, they jump to the idea of robots transforming manufacturing operations and taking away jobs. This happens, but automation is not just about robots. Think about how automation has transformed design and manufacturing, from design and 2D CAD to 3D modeling and now to generative design.
Automation is the use of simulation to validate or optimize a design without the need for a physical prototype. It's about building a BIM (Building Information Model) to foster collaboration between architects, engineers, and construction teams so that they can make real-time decisions in traditional work silos. Today's automation involves using abundant computing power and the cloud to generate thousands of design options with a generative design.
In fact, some forward-thinking companies and organizations are already putting technology and automation to the service of solving big problems. Take Build Change, an organization that builds homes and schools resistant to earthquakes and typhoons in developing countries and trains local governments and businesses to make them safer and able to withstand future disasters. Build Change uses drones and photogrammetry to map remote villages and assess the damage caused by earthquakes so that affected communities can rebuild in the most efficient and resilient way possible.
On the manufacturing side, a European consortium of industrial and academic partners is studying ways to teach robots industrial polishing tasks through a project called SYMPLEXITY. Thanks to algorithmic programming and machine learning, the idea is that robots can execute complex processes that are currently highly manual and time consuming. This is just one of the ways that enhanced automation will take over manufacturing tasks, thus freeing up valuable time for humans to focus on greater design and engineering challenges. .
It is understandable that this influx of automation often accompanies a growing uncertainty and discomfort about the future – and how that might be affect your work. Automation has changed and will continue to change the way everyone works; This has been the case for decades. But it's also changing and expanding what people are capable of doing. It offers the power to solve design challenges faster, easier and with elegance. Automation technologies amplify and increase human capabilities to do better things, to design a better global future.
It is not more technology. It is about people – people like you who have the right state of mind and good vision. Now that you have the power to optimize everything that is done, what do you want to create? What values will you bring to your work? What design intent will humans offer when working with machines? What will the citizens of today leave for the billions of people who will soon be populating this planet?
If people work together to do this properly, the future will not be limited to buildings that consume less energy; it will be buildings that generate their own energy. It will not be just cities with less air pollution or water pollution; it will be safe, inclusive and inclusive cities with neighborhoods that unite communities rather than divide them.
Designing and building more things with less negative impact is an inevitable reality given the limited resources of this planet. It's an opportunity to improve things that excite me – a future with abundant and renewable clean energy; a future with circular fabrication and construction where materials are used and reused and the concept of "waste" goes away; a future with resilient communities.
This is feasible. Technology is available, and humans no longer have to understand it alone: automation is the partner of humanity, increasing human capacity and the ability to do better things.
As the next generations to direct the workforce, you can build on the work that has been done and go further. You have already made it clear that you care about the future, that you care about the origin of your products and that you care that the company you work for reflects your values. You are not afraid to take risks and make big bets. And now you have the technology to amplify and increase your energy, your talent, your skills and your passion to design a better future.