74 Replies Latest reply on Oct 27, 2017 11:27 AM by Tom Gagnon

    Replaced by an AI?

    Tom Gagnon

      Is design automation-proof? (Open discussion instead of question, as I don't expect to arrive at only one answer to the question)

       

      Design requires creativity, adaptation, mental flexibility, and sometimes persistence. Standards may apply, but that alone will not complete most designs, nor the entire workflow of a productive business. At least I like to think so. I'm so smart, and irreplaceable, and that inflates my ego. That is, I have my own preconceptions and blinders towards potential future changes. It doesn't mean I'm totally right.

       

      I'm not talking of imminent change within years, but rather decades of continued innovation, if not more broadly within a lifetime. Capabilities of AI will increase. I read about new advancements or projections, large or small, at least every other week in IT news sites. Today's isolated anecdote: http://www.zdnet.com/article/dont-worry-robots-and-ai-wont-take-your-job-well-at-least-not-all-of-it/ which has a fairly neutral conclusion. Sample quote without context: "some part of every job, whether it's in mining, design, or finance, can be automated." Neutral that is, compared to the more common hyperbolic extremes of fearmongering or futurism: either we're all doomed to immense social upheaval and revolt by most of our livelihoods being replaced by AI, or we're heading towards a dreamy future where everyone will be more productive, creative, and actualized because menial tasks are done for them (without any real acknowledgement of impact on contemporary laborers in the transition). The biased extremes are more 'newsworthy' or maybe just more effective clickbait depending on the audience-reinforcing outlet it's presented on. Reality will surely lie somewhere in the grey area between the extremes, including the likelihood that different economic classes will experience and view it differently based on perceived gains and losses. Seriously, all corporations view it as increase of profits by reducing workforce, without concern or responsibility for displaced human workers, and I don't foresee that changing.

       

      Even the most advanced API's can automate some tasks, but not the whole act of design, at least as far as I understand it. An API surely is not an AI. It won't converse with a client to determine design intent, process that intent, and collaborate through review towards a complete manufacturing process.

       

      Cynically, as long as bugs are common, I feel confident that an AI would fail as often. Then again, maybe an AI would be able to identify the issue faster and patch its operations instead of needing a workaround as we often do. Anything could happen, especially the unexpected.

       

      Selfishly, I developed my design skills in part because I feel it is relatively future-proof and irreplaceable. I could be wrong. Here in the forums, we have users of all ages. Do young users fear this, or even see change within the time span of collegiate experience? Do older users expect any of this to happen within their professional lifetime (before retirement)? I welcome any thoughts on the matter.

        • Re: Replaced by an AI?
          Dave Bear

          Hi Tom,

          Very much a thought provoking discussion! AI as I see it leads to the end of everything, but that's just my opinion and yes, it'll take some time. Todays youth are already dumber and not smarter because of it, unemployment is already increasing because of it, loss of personal communication and understanding within commercial and private dealings has gone by the wayside because of it, basic numeracy and literacy skills are dying because of it, BUT still we embrace it. I, myself, prefer the personal touch and satisfaction in things.

           

          Design is a tricky one however, could one ever just say to Siri, "model me a 3D Stealth Bomber Spaceship and have it done by 1pm"?

          I have trouble getting my head around AI programming AI for example. Surely sooner or later this has got to lead to some sort of paradoxical disaster. Only time will tell..............

           

          Dave.

            • Re: Replaced by an AI?
              J. Mather

              Dave Bear wrote:

              .. Todays youth are already dumber and not smarter because of it, .............

               

              Dave.

              What is the source of your information?

              What evidence do you have that any generation is/was smarter than any other generation?

                • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                  Dave Bear

                  The source of information would be and could be any comparative education standard results you can find for numeracy and literacy spanning the last ten years! The same can be said for geography, science and manual arts but to a slightly lower degree. This could be for the majority of nations minus a few.

                    • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                      Glenn Schroeder

                      I don't believe today's youth are less intelligent, but I will agree that they haven't been well educated.  Specifically many of them haven't been taught to think and figure things out for themselves (although that isn't restricted to any generation).

                        • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                          Dave Bear

                          Common sense is something that is definitely in short supply amongst our youth............

                            • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                              John Stoltzfus

                              Dave Bear   The problem with "Common" sense is that it has a life span of the current generation and since everyone is different there are various versions of that common sense and the common sense you're referring to is your/our generation, as we die off the common sense of the time will prevail. 

                               

                              end of instruction.... hehehe

                               

                              Glenn Schroeder - Example is - Could you....  Siri..............

                                • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                  Eric Blankinship

                                  Scientific studies have also shown that young people (regardless of generation) are more prone to reckless and rash behavior as the part of the brain is not yet fully developed that helps people to be more cautious.

                                   

                                  This of course can be a good and bad thing.  You will see a lot of young people take bigger risks than more seasoned individuals and a lot of the big start up companies of late have been by younger individuals.  But of course for every young person that takes a risk and finds the next big thing there is a hundred or so that crash and burn.

                                   

                                  So from the viewpoint of the current generation, yes the youth of today do lack common sense...but so did we when we were that age.  They'll gain it (hopefully)

                                  • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                    Rick Becker

                                    There is a serious lack of basic knowledge of the world, history, patience, common sense, God amongst the Millennials.

                                    How can I explain my thoughts...

                                     

                                    Technology has replaced the need for knowledge in so many ways. When I learned to drive part of the knowledge set I received included how to adjust the points and condenser, how to change a tire, what the butterfly valve in the carburetor does and how to use that to your advantage, how to plan ahead because there is no such thing as a cell phone yet and so much more. None of that is even needed anymore. If something happens call for help. Someone else will take care of your troubles for a reasonable price.

                                     

                                    How did we get here? What occurred to make the world as it is? History is no longer taught or sought out by Millennials. "Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it." There is a lot of repeating.

                                     

                                    Participation trophies (need I say more).

                                     

                                    Patience. There is almost no patience. It's not just privileged youth expecting too much, it's also Having to do something at all times. Standing in line at a store? Whip out your phone and text someone. Red light? Check Instagrame.

                                     

                                    God, church, right & wrong, morals are lacking. And it's not just parents not going to church , it's an active anti-religion that is permeating our youth. The very definition of right and wrong has been perverted in society today.

                                     

                                    To me, there seems to be a disconnection with the world at the same time everyone is communicating via the internet. People knowing how to deal with people is a lesson not generally learned until millennials third decade.

                                     

                                    That's enough for now. Carry On.

                                      • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                        Austin Broeker

                                        I agree. I'm part of the Millennial generation and I'm usually embarrassed to admit that to people because of some of the things you mentioned. I've lost count of the number of times I've been out to lunch with people where I'm the only one at the table not staring at their phone. Who knows, maybe I just have a boring life and don't have anything worth checking on constantly...

                                         

                                        I grew up in a small town and was raised with old-fashioned values, and I would really like to pass that on to my kids someday. Now that my first kid will be here in a couple months, I'm starting to have a crisis of conscience. I still want to pass on the old-fashioned values, but I also realize the direction the world is heading in, and it's very technology-centric - I fear that if he's not familiar with technology by the time he's 3, he'll already be behind the other kids since it seems like most of them are introduced to it at day 1. I'd much rather buy him a baseball glove than a kid's tablet, but I'm afraid I'll be putting him at a disadvantage by shying away from technology. I don't want him to be one of those people that can't put their phone down for 5 seconds, but I don't want to doom him to a life of unemployment either.

                                         

                                        I still don't like participation trophies though; I don't see how that was ever a good idea.

                                          • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                            Glenn Schroeder

                                            Hello Austin,

                                             

                                            Buy him (or her) the baseball glove and the tablet.  It's not either/or.  Not exposing your children to modern technology would cripple their ability to survive and thrive in modern society.  But balance that with activity that doesn't involve staring at a screen.  Most of all, spend time with them so they pick up those values you're so rightly proud of.

                                             

                                            And I agree that it's rude to sit at a table with people and be on your phone instead of carrying on a conversation.  I'd rather be alone with a book than with them.

                                             

                                            Glenn

                                            • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                              Rick Becker

                                              Austin Broeker wrote:

                                               

                                              I don't want him to be one of those people that can't put their phone down for 5 seconds, but I don't want to doom him to a life of unemployment either.

                                              Austin, You have everything and nothing to do with your sons affinity for either baseball or Instagram.

                                              I have a 13 year old son. His mother was stay at home mom for his first 12 years (she started a full time job for the first time in 14 years on 1/2/17). I was his Cub Scout Den Leader (along with 16 other Scouts) for 5 years and an ASM currently in his Boy Scout Troop and join him at Summer Camp every year. I was his baseball coach for all 7 years he played. Most importantly, we attend Church almost every week as a family since he was born.

                                               

                                              After all that, I cannot get him interested in Ham Radio, NFL Football, NASCAR or a few other interests I have. I have tried as hard as I can. His interests come from within and his peer group as much as from his parents. I am coming to believe that it's OK. He is a fine, trustworthy, intelligent young man.

                                               

                                              Do your best. Stay involved. Like Glenn said get him both the baseball and the tablet. You will be OK too.

                                            • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                              Zac Evans

                                              From reading the previous posts on this thread I realize I may be in the minority when I say that I personally agree with a quote by one of the greatest minds and most thought provoking genius's, "Never memorize something you can look up" --Albert Einstein. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying there is no need to be knowledgeable. There is a vast difference between knowledge and being able to spit out facts at a moments notice. The way I see it is this, and how I believe Einstein meant this, is that why spend the time memorizing facts when a better skill is learning how to find the information we need when it's needed. And this comes from someone who back in grade school was required to memorize the periodic table of elements as an example. We were always told we need to memorize our multiplication tables because we won't always have a calculator with us. I hate to break it to you education system, but yes, I do always have a calculator, and i'm not just talking about just the one's on my phone or computer, but there's one at everyone's desk, and at home I can just say a magic word to wake up an all knowing machine and speak a regular sentence to get an answer to any question instantaneously. But I digress...

                                               

                                              The ability and the skill to be able to look up information that's needed isn't something that's covered enough in schools. This is the future. We have endless knowledge at our fingertips and with enough skill to wade through the information we don't need and be able to find the information we're looking for, is enough skill to succeed at any profession out there.

                                               

                                              I can't tell you how often we have engineering students here that do not know how to look up information on, for example, an air cylinder mounting hole pattern they want to use on million dollar machines! Do they think that's something engineers just know? They can't grasp the concept that being smart doesn't mean you have all this data floating around inside your brain, it the ability to use what knowledge you have to figure it out.

                                               

                                              To tie this into the topic of AI, a great movie about AI (great concept, not really story-line) is Ex Machina (Ex Machina (2015) - IMDb ). It's been theorized that the first AI's will come from internet search engines. And if you've ever asked a question wrong in google realized it went ahead and searched for what you actually wanted instead, you're already seeing the beginning of this.

                                               

                                              AI will not have all it's knowledge available to it because it took the time to learn it (e.g. memorizing the periodic table) but instead, will have a perfect ability to find the information it needs, when it needs it. Which is why the key to AI is that it's self learning. For us to be able to keep up with a futuristic AI, we ourselves need to have the ability to find the information we need when we need it.

                                               

                                              Feel free to disagree.

                                                • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                  Rick Becker

                                                  Zac Evans wrote:

                                                   

                                                  And if you've ever asked a question wrong in google realized it went ahead and searched for what you actually wanted instead, you're already seeing the beginning of this.

                                                   

                                                  AI will not have all it's knowledge available to it because it took the time to learn it (e.g. memorizing the periodic table) but instead, will have a perfect ability to find the information it needs, when it needs it. Which is why the key to AI is that it's self learning.

                                                  I would love to have Einstein's perspective on the modern day Google search. Ask a question, get 12,568,256 relevant pages. Click on the first five (after the paid ads) and get 4 different answers.

                                                   

                                                  Fake News is headline grabbing these days. How will an AI differentiate the chaff from the wheat?

                                                   

                                                  This may be our saving grace some day when the AI overlords seize control. Flood the info nets with false/fake information and watch the centrifuges overheat.

                                                    • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                      Zac Evans

                                                      Rick Becker wrote:

                                                       

                                                      Fake News is headline grabbing these days. How will an AI differentiate the chaff from the wheat?

                                                       

                                                      This may be our saving grace some day when the AI overlords seize control. Flood the info nets with false/fake information and watch the centrifuges overheat.

                                                      I guess it would need a system to analyse all news reports from around the globe, compare contrast, and be able to determine false stories. It would also have all the information about each of the authors, their previous stories, and previous accuracy... Not to mention how it could always check the raw data about everything and come to it's own conclusion, that's the intelligence part right?

                                                        • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                          Rick Becker

                                                          The question to ask may be...

                                                          Who and how does society hold responsible when AI screws up and people get hurt or have a loss?

                                                            • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                              Dave Bear

                                                              Eventually (the humans) will place the blame back on the people that created the AI initially. AI will be too intelligent to blame AI surely?

                                                               

                                                              Dave.

                                                                • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                                  Rick Becker

                                                                  But who? The people who initially program the AI will be teams of people. It does take a great many hands to forge such an undertaking.

                                                                   

                                                                  Look at the autonomous vehicles. There has been a death with an autonomous Tesla involved. It just received a ruling that the Tesla was not at fault.

                                                                  How long will it take for a death to occur, that is ruled the cars fault, when there are millions of driverless cars on the road?

                                                                  Who will be held responsible? Throw the car in jail?

                                                                  Questions, questions, questions. I'm sure smarter people than me will devise a remedy. I do fear what that remedy could be.

                                                                    • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                                      Dave Bear

                                                                      Let the AI Lawyers, Barristers and Supreme Magistrates fight it out in the future Rick. In the end, we are on a course now that is not going to stop. Since you mention the "Tesla" example, here is an example of trying to be at the forefront of something and in the rush to make it happen, they overlooked the failsafes. Well, that's my view at least.

                                                                       

                                                                      As kids, we use to marvel at cartoons where the characters had pocket devices that would track the baddies, or let you contact other people, have video chats, today these are known as our mobile phones (cell phones). But also in the same cartoons, robots and computers took over their masters, created wars, and our super hero's had to stop them. Yes, this was childhood vision, but how much has come true, and how fast?

                                                                       

                                                                      So whilst it may indeed sound a little extreme, your designing job may be safe, perhaps it's the uprising you should be worried about!

                                                                       

                                                                      Nah, won't happen in our lifetime...................... will it?

                                                                       

                                                                      Dave

                                                              • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                                Austin Broeker

                                                                Rick Becker wrote:

                                                                 

                                                                This may be our saving grace some day when the AI overlords seize control. Flood the info nets with false/fake information and watch the centrifuges overheat.

                                                                I guess it's good to always have a backup plan.

                                                        • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                          Glenn Schroeder

                                                          Dave Bear wrote:

                                                           

                                                          Common sense is something that is definitely in short supply amongst our youth............

                                                           

                                                          That's also not restricted to our youth.

                                                          • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                            Rick McDonald

                                                            Dave,

                                                            I agree and disagree with your statement in the sense that I think it's how you look at things.

                                                            I would say that "common sense" has been replaced by "confused sense" in our youth (and may adults).

                                                            Instead of kids being taught by their parents that hitting someone on the head with a hammer can kill someone - parents are more distracted by work and activities (due to technology and finances) and spend less time with the kids. TV and videos have become so widespread and easy to attain that kids are learning from watching the videos of stupid kids (and adults) doing stupid things that the kids think they can do it without consequences or injury.

                                                            As far as the previous post you made, I think the literacy issue has also change it's form.

                                                            We used to be taught math - now we punch number in a calculator - without the calculator young people would be lost (and most of us older guys have also forgotten how). We used to be taught how to write correctly - now writing is being taken out of schools because everybody uses smart phones or computers - they don't need to know how to correctly draw a letter.  BUT - just watch those kids send a text message on their smart phone as commonly as breathing When I was a kid, a computer was Science fiction, TV was Black and White (if you had one) Grab a kid from the 50's and put them in front of a computer and they can't even turn it on - yet kids now it's second nature.

                                                            Literacy has morphed so I think it really hard impossible to accurately measure.

                                                            One thing that I feel is definite - for the most part - parents leave technology to teach their kids instead of the parents teaching them so the parents are also out of touch with their kids and teaching them right from wrong.

                                                            • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                              Jim Steinmeyer

                                                              I had to go home to find this.

                                                              common_sense.jpg

                                                        • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                          John Stoltzfus

                                                          Take away the electronics and the youth and a lot of us today would be handicapped.  Even for me, computers made me forget, the bend calculations, hole cords, and a lot of other stuff that I used to know by heart and applied everyday in fabrication, that was over 30 years ago, so yeah we may need AI to keep us zombies in motion.

                                                            • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                              Tom Gagnon

                                                              One common theme that I see repeated among stories about innovation, technology, acceptance, and cultural change is a reference to Plato, who thought that writing was the bane of individual mental capacity and retention.

                                                              “If men learn this, it will implant forgetfulness in their souls; they will cease to exercise memory because they rely on that which is written, calling things to remembrance no longer from within themselves, but by means of external marks. What you have discovered is a recipe not for memory, but for reminder. And it is no true wisdom that you offer your disciples, but only its semblance, for by telling them of many things without teaching them you will make them seem to know much, while for the most part they know nothing, and as men filled, not with wisdom, but with the conceit of wisdom, they will be a burden to their fellows.”

                                                              ― Plato, Phaedrus

                                                               

                                                              Methinks Dave Bear observes younger, "men filled ... with the conceit of wisdom" as he mentioned Common Sense. I firmly believe that critical thinking ought to be mandatory in basic education, but then advertisers and marketers (and politicians, media, artists, corporations, authorities, etc. w/e) would actually have to convince us their product is worthwhile instead of just making us feel like we need that new thing.

                                                               

                                                              I consider a contemporary parallel in the fact that when I was young, I had memorized dozens of phone numbers because I didn't have an electronic contact list to place phone calls from. Now that my phone remembers these things for me, I only remember my own work and personal numbers, and try to remember wife's number only because it's not far different from my own. Optimists claim that there's opportunity to pay to more important things, but then the importance of things which people pay attention to instead can be entirely subjective.

                                                        • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                          Gian Flavio Violi

                                                          It's funny that my first thought after reading this was of 'Baxter' from Rethink Robotics, which was the corporate image of the SW traning manuals last year.

                                                           

                                                          He aparently can learn to do certain task after you complete them right in from of him. Maybe someday an evolution of it can actually learn how to design using SolidWorks after watching us do it.

                                                           

                                                          My take on this is simple: the more skill your job requires then you are on the safer, as will take longer to replace you with a robot. However, I don't think its imposible to automate some (maybe even a big chunck) of the design process. But even if we get there, I think there's always gonna be a need for a person to oversee the work done by robots and not completely in the robotics/programming part of it.

                                                           

                                                          Regards,

                                                          GF

                                                          • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                            Dave Bear

                                                            Just wait for a robot to be the first one to call in sick, or call a union strike. That's when the trouble really starts!

                                                            • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                              John Stoltzfus

                                                              If "AI" can be taught to think outside the box then it would be detrimental to human designers.  Being open minded is ok, but not so open minded that our brains fall out, in other words we still need to be practical etc....

                                                               

                                                              On the agriculture side of life AI has a different meaning and I'm sure hoping that it won't get replaced in our area.........

                                                              • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                                Dave Bear

                                                                Could "AI" possibly understand what a "glitch" was?

                                                                 

                                                                Dave.

                                                                  • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                                    Tom Gagnon

                                                                    Not at first, but Machine Learning systems ought to catch on to details of failure and troubleshooting, faster than we would because we typically perceive less breadth of information about what is happening in the computer. We are limited primarily to what can be displayed on a monitor, and maybe more if you count error beep noises, whereas an AI could self-diagnose. Currently, we are better at perceiving patterns than AI's (hence the common CAPTCHA tests currently to prove you're not a bot), but that will change.

                                                                     

                                                                    Overall, I'm thinking pretty far outside of the box, as I am not imagining an AI using Solidworks, therefore not limited to a SWx Glitch as we would be familiar with. I am imagining an AI designing with the systems that will replace Solidworks. The design software that does not need us is synonymous and inclusive with the AI that uses it. Nothing is indispensable or sacred from a technological viewpoint - unless we collectively decide it to be so beforehand, as in Asimov's Robotic Laws.

                                                                     

                                                                    Sataya Nadella's recent remarks show some hope to the people, where he emphasizes AI's should be made to help us do our work, not replace us. It does tasks, not your whole job. I can imagine that as a realistic middle ground, until society grows beyond its current expectations.

                                                                  • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                                    Rick Becker

                                                                    Watching the news programs with stories of...

                                                                    • Autonomous vehicles
                                                                    • IBM's Watson flavor of AI and how far it has come
                                                                    • Computer AI Doctor's already being better than Human doctors
                                                                    • AI No-Limit Hold'em poker player that can already beat any human
                                                                    • Advances in Military Drone Capabilities
                                                                    • Military Drone Swarms that talk to each other in order to accomplish a goal
                                                                    • Many more I can't think of now

                                                                     

                                                                    It reasonable to conclude that there are groups putting all these (and more) technologies together, especially for the military, that we won't hear about for some time.

                                                                    All of this lead me to conclude that SkyNet is coming, sooner rather than later.

                                                                     

                                                                    I personally see, in a very short period of time, the design of most objects going AI.

                                                                    Most objects designed won't need anything so special that a human is required.

                                                                    Humans add artistic flairs not necessary for form, fit and function.

                                                                    • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                                      Tom Gagnon

                                                                      Everyone thinks they're irreplaceable until they are not. That's the spreading wave of shock and alarm, across disciplines.

                                                                      • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                                        Austin Broeker

                                                                        I hate to say it, but I don't think there's much that an AI won't be able to do at some point in the future. I don't think it will be replacing human designers any time soon (I expect to be long gone by the time AI becomes more efficient at designing than humans, and I'm in the younger crowd of people on here) but as long as people keep striving to make smarter and faster technology, I believe it will happen at some point. I think 'when' it happens will depend on what industry you're talking about - designers in an industry that relies heavily on creativity would take much longer to replace than designers in an industry that focuses primarily on function (like me ). Take SW Simulation for instance - you can take a part that you designed, set a few parameters and inputs, and Simulation can tell you what will happen based on material properties. Would it really be too far-fetched to set the same parameters and have an AI design a more efficient part strictly by analyzing the properties of physics and engineering and shaping material that adheres to these properties in a way that would be best suited for the situation? I realize that this scenario still requires human interaction to specifically set the parameters/design intention, but I feel like it wouldn't be that difficult for AI to take over that aspect as well. Who knows, maybe this type of thing already exists and I'm just not aware of it.

                                                                         

                                                                        One of the reasons I'm so pessimistic (or optimistic, depending on your point of view) is I remember watching something about teaching a computer to design. I don't remember what show it was, but there were a couple guys that created a program to design the most efficient body structure for crossing a certain distance the fastest. It was basically a 2D "evolution" simulator. I'm probably paraphrasing, but I believe the only conditions they gave it were the types of material the program could use in its design (rigid - bones, contracting - muscles, flexible - joints), constant gravitational pull, and the goal it needed to accomplish. Beyond that, the program had complete freedom in what the design looked like and how it functioned. The program worked by starting from scratch and running something like 100 trials of completely random designs, then taking the 10 designs that traveled the farthest in the correct direction and scrapping the rest. It would then take those 10 designs and expand on them for another 100 trials, and so on and so forth. Once the designs started crossing the finish line consistently, it would take the few that did it in the least amount of time and continue to expand on those. After thousands of iterations, it ends up creating a design similar to the way 4-legged animals operate, if I remember correctly. A computer program was able to create an efficient design completely from scratch using technology that's available today, with nothing more than a few guidelines set by humans. So even if AI couldn't create a design with direct intent, I feel like there's not much that would be off-limits using this trial-and-error approach.

                                                                         

                                                                        I think creativity is the aspect that would be hardest to replace with AI, because how would you program that? With that said, creativity could probably even be emulated someday. I feel like the only thing keeping AI from surpassing humans in every aspect is if humanity refrains from developing AI to the point of the technological singularity. Once we reach that point, there may be no stopping it (hello, Skynet). In the nearer future, I may just have to switch to a job that requires more of an artist's touch to avoid being replaced, or just learn to work on robots. They'll still need humans to repair them, right?

                                                                         

                                                                        TL;DR

                                                                        I think that even designers could be replaced someday. It may take longer than replacing the cashier at the fast-food joint down the street, but it will probably happen as long as people continue to develop and improve technology.

                                                                         

                                                                        ...but that's just my 2 cents

                                                                         

                                                                        P.S. For those that might be curious, I think the TV show I was referring to was "Through the Wormhole", but I'm not positive which episode. If I had to guess, I'd say season 4, episode 7 - "Are Robots The Future Of Human Evolution?"

                                                                         

                                                                        EDIT: I looked it up and that episode does talk about a computer program doing basically what I described above, but it's pretty different from what I was thinking. I remember seeing the program I mentioned above somewhere though because I remember them talking about the process in more detail, but it must have been somewhere else and I'm at a loss as to where that might have been.

                                                                         

                                                                        Good discussion thread though, I'm curious to see more people's thoughts on this.

                                                                        • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                                          Chris Clouser

                                                                          It's worse than that Tom, you're actually going to be replaced by a 3D printer and an on-line app:

                                                                           

                                                                          http://machinedesign.com/editorial-comment/will-3d-printing-revolution-kill-engineering-jobs

                                                                           

                                                                          (That is if you believe the imbecile that wrote this.)

                                                                          • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                                            Roland Schwarz

                                                                            First they need to develop Artificial Management, which will direct Artificial Marketing, who will bamboozle Artificial Clients with Artificial Bulshizzle until enough Artificial Confusion has been developed to hand off to Artificial Engineering.

                                                                            • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                                              Jaja Jojo

                                                                              Hmm in that case! Lets wait this

                                                                              Image result for baymax

                                                                              • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                                                Jeff Mowry

                                                                                Daniel Pink discusses this question at length in his book, A Whole New Mind:

                                                                                A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future: Daniel H. Pink: 9781594481710: Amazon.com: Books

                                                                                A Whole New Mind - Wikipedia

                                                                                 

                                                                                Specifically, what sorts of occupations are at high risk for replacement by automation (and cheaper labor elsewhere) and which types are more resistant to it?  He really digs into the creative side of things, hence his examination of right brained occupations.

                                                                                 

                                                                                I tend to agree, generally, with his conclusions.  This is what causes me to cringe at the emphasis on STEM tracks in schools---they're almost entirely left-brained, with much of the related fields at high risk of a high degree of automation (left-brained).  Science is divorced from philosophy---and taught in this manner---so we do not teach why a particular path might be ethically better to take, reducing decisions to mere efficiency, leaving aside whole fields of rational thought.

                                                                                  • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                                                    Peter De Vlieger

                                                                                    I hae to disagree.I don't think design will be AI proof. I do expect it to take a while and not to happen  *fingers crossed* before I retire but at some point it will.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    To think that one is irreplaceable is not only vain but even silly. We're all replaceable on all levels and at some point what we do can and there for will be replaced by machines/programs.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    There for the question isn't 'if' but 'when. And what's even more interesting of a question is 'Then what?'.

                                                                                    Because if designers nor drafters are no longer needed, nor the ones that actual make stuff then what's left? We can't all be management or marketing. Besides, who are you going to target in marketing if all that's left are those who's jobs are to dangerous and/or not cost effect to replace them with machines and those few that are upper management? This means a world of the upper crust on one hand and on the other  the billions of drones who's life are deemed less valuable then a robot. Skynet would come as a relief.

                                                                                    Unless you believe that the majority of the filthy rich will actual give a damn about the common people.

                                                                                     

                                                                                    True AI will have creativity without it one can't speak of true AI but solely about problem solving AI. To me Pink's 6 essential senses; Design,Story,Symphony, Empathy, Play and Meaning, sound like marketing gobbledygook. It sounds nice that there's supposedly some part of us that can't be replicated by a machine/program but play around with this Computoser - unique, computer-generated music or think about the fact that many a renowned art critic has been fooled by 'masterpieces' made by a donkey or a  monkey and then reflect about the worth of creativity and design,

                                                                                     

                                                                                     

                                                                                    Yep, fingers crossed that I nor any of you have to see those times of true AI arrive.

                                                                                      • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                                                        Jeff Mowry

                                                                                        You've got some great points, Peter.  Brain.fm is another great example of algorithm-based music generation, specifically done with several purposes in mind---and it seems to work well, too.  And already, optimization software is recommending certain, more efficient (and organic-looking) forms of geometry to refine strength-to-weight ratios in parts.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        But like most things in life, my point here isn't so much whether something can be done at all, but whether it can be done feasibly/affordably.  We can theoretically get around in flying cars.  We don't do so because it's not yet feasible.

                                                                                         

                                                                                        To be fair, Pink isn't arguing so much for immunity as for resistance.  And the scope of his book isn't limited to automation/AI, but to a cluster of several factors, written in a time when off-shoring and elimination of "jobs" by computer code was happening in a hot economy.  So his purpose was to identify resistance to those trends at the time the book was written (2006).  Sure, he's selling his book with the six senses you mentioned---but you might find what he says about those things insightful (as I did).

                                                                                         

                                                                                        Barring certain economic catastrophes, I'd anticipate the marching forward of technology to make tech/AI increasingly life-like, as well as increasingly feasible.  But that path faces quite a lot of resistance.  Even Google is shutting down several of their "moonshot" projects, for lack of immediate feasibility:

                                                                                        http://www.cbsnews.com/news/google-alphabet-moonshot-projects-are-crashing-to-earth/

                                                                                         

                                                                                        I'm not saying the AI encroachment won't happen, I'm saying I'm not a firm believer that more dramatic takeover of Skynet is lurking right around the corner.  The current path is quite fragile, in my opinion.  What happens if WWIII breaks out, currency/trade wars intensify, or some other forms of political chaos put a dent in regularly-scheduled economic activity?  What would it really take to shut down such "moonshot" projects in companies other than wealthy Google?

                                                                                         

                                                                                        In the meantime, I'll continue to work on my resistance to the threat of becoming obsolete.

                                                                                          • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                                                            Peter De Vlieger

                                                                                            True Jeff,

                                                                                             

                                                                                            I hear you and understand your point of thought.

                                                                                            (By the way, thanks for the Brain.fm)

                                                                                             

                                                                                            On the one hand you have this http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/ibm-watson-proper-diagnosis-doctors-stumped-article-1.2741857 which shows more encroachment in something we would think, or would prefer, needs an actual person not a program. On the other hand is the fact that the machine in question is not yet something that will be mass produced anytime soon.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            And indeed, it's not because something can be done that it will be done. Certainly not as long as it's not deemed economically viable.

                                                                                            A Skynet situation would come about in a round about manner, just like 'Big Brother' has. Not that someone planned it but that we rolled into it by our own needs, wants and greed. The amount of info about anyone of us that is retrievable on Google, MS, etc is staggering and most of use share it willingly and without giving it a second thought. If I buy a ticket to the States then a bunch of 3 letter acronym agencies in the US will be able to pull more info about me then my friends, my parents or my wife knows about me.

                                                                                            And on top of it I would be required to give my fingerprints to get a Visa, something my own country doesn't even have nor requested even when I served as a 1st Sgt. towards the end of the Cold war period.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            Throw in that a fair chunk of the masses think in sound bytes and have the attention span of the proverbial gnat and can't be bothered to actual separate the wheat from the chaff and you'll understand my bleak view that at some point the scales will be tipped and our profession will become obsolete because some will make a profit on doing so and a significant majority won't see it coming nor that they have been helping to undermine their own future.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            I don't think Skynet it's lurking just around the corner except if WW III happens. Is so then either we'll end up as Einstein commented about the types of weapons we'll be using for WW IV or if the 3rd one happens but kept strictly conventional than chances are, as at any other time in the past, the technological progress will happen at a vastly accelerated pace. Either way, human designers won't be in high demand.

                                                                                             

                                                                                            Now having strayed way out from the original question let me bring it back to the ball park. The way that any of us can help delay becoming obsolete is by making sure that we keep on top of our game. No matter what field, no matter what specialization or mastery we might have it's about staying current. Keep learning, keep pushing the envelope and keep getting out of comfort zones. As well as making sure one has a broad enough scope so that one doesn't end up being the best farrier in a world without horses.

                                                                                              • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                                                                Jeff Mowry

                                                                                                Thanks, Peter, for the reply.  I've only recently started using brain.fm myself, but have found it to be useful in helping focus (especially with headphones on, blocking out other distracting noises).

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                You know, the doctor/diagnosis thing doesn't surprise me much, but I hadn't seen that article yet---thanks.  Not to minimize your point---but I've met maybe two doctors who seemed to have the capacity to think in my life, so I'm a bit jaded.  Many of the others I've met are more like out-of-date catalogs---which is worse than having no human catalogs at all, since their stored mental info is often erroneous/ineffective.  Not to belabor this, but much of what I regularly look up and read in white papers concerning medical stuff, doctors don't seem to know exists.  Perhaps it's the nature of the job?  But designers often have similar time constraints, and ignorance of new tech isn't expected of them.  Perhaps the medical field is a bit too vast?  Not sure.

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                I share your cynicism with big brother---especially here in the states.  Ridiculous.  A couple of years ago, I had a flight that stopped at LAX before jumping the Pacific to land in Hong Kong.  What an astounding revelation that was.  LAX had goons with sub-machine-guns and high capacity shotguns bossing people around as if they were prisoners.  (Why?)  Hong Kong was completely different, and since I went through security in Hong Kong for the trip back, it was an instant reminder of how travel used to be in the states.  No disrobing.  No discourteous goons.  Inquiries of the truly unusual cargo I hauled onto the plane were professional and polite, and yet I was allowed to bring back things that would likely not have been allowed if flying out of the states.  Certainly nothing of any true risk, but in the states, true risk has nothing to do with security anymore (unfortunately).  Otherwise, they wouldn't stack bottle after confiscated bottle from passengers that contain nothing but dyhydrogen monoxide and throw them all into the same bin in the security area where passengers are most concentrated.  Anyway, I've had enough of all that nonsense---though I don't necessarily share your view that this nonsense is being assembled apart from a design and purpose---I believe it is.

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                Locally, I do lots of computer building/repair for people.  One of the things I try to get through to them is that privacy is inversely proportional to convenience these days.  Smart phones, apps, smart TVs, webcams, Android, etc. are all capable of surveillance.  Get rid of some of the convenience they offer, regain some of the privacy you lose in using them.  I've seen some very astounding things in the malware/privacy realm, and it's stuff most people don't believe even exists.

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                The way that any of us can help delay becoming obsolete is by making sure that we keep on top of our game. No matter what field, no matter what specialization or mastery we might have it's about staying current. Keep learning, keep pushing the envelope and keep getting out of comfort zones. As well as making sure one has a broad enough scope so that one doesn't end up being the best farrier in a world without horses.

                                                                                                 

                                                                                                Well said!  Diversification of skills is one way to become more resilient to being obsoleted.  Directed diversification is even better.  I enjoy figuring out new ways to make myself useful, locally.  From fixing computers to brewing excellent beer to my usual main concern of industrial design, there's always something useful and good to learn that also builds our resilience against Skynet.  Might as well have fun doing so along the way.

                                                                                        • Re: Replaced by an AI?
                                                                                          Rick Becker

                                                                                          Facial recognition will replace passports in Australia
                                                                                          International airport arrivals could "literally just walk out like at a domestic airport."

                                                                                          https://www.engadget.com/2017/01/23/facial-recognition-will-replace-passports-in-australia/