Manufacturing guy-at-large.

Only the last 10%

Added on by Spencer Wright.

From a conversation on engineering between Arup's Dan Hill and Tristam Carfrae:

In response to fears that this kind of 'algorithmic architecture' will marginalise engineers and architects, Carfrae states that this kind of approach is only really "optimising the last 10% of a problem." The software has to be described and tuned with a particular strategy or problem in mind, and that comes from the designer, not the software. 

The point here is one that I've argued many times in the past: Today's optimization approaches (and any in the adjacent possible future) do not, in fact, put computers in the driver's seat of engineering or design. Instead, they use computers to automate rote tasks that an engineer is interested in exploring.

I believe this distinction is critical, as it affects both the direction of CAD companies' efforts and the enthusiasm of a new generation of engineers. It's my desire to see the CAD industry prioritize efforts that'll have big, positive impacts on the world, and it's my goal to keep smart, driven people from becoming disillusioned with engineering. As a result, I'd encourage marketers, journalists and onlookers to seriously consider what they believe about optimization, and to be wary of anyone who tries to sell them an AI enabled Brooklyn Bridge.

For more background on optimization and the future of CAD software, see Displaced in space or time, The problem with 3D design optimization today, Computer aided design, and Exploration and explanation.