In part one of this series examining the impact of robotics in the modernization of the workplace (read here), I spoke about what the future of medicine might start to look like in 20 to 30 years. In his forthcoming book Beyond the Professions, legal futurist and professor Richard Susskind expounds upon the notion that in the future certain areas of expertise will be distilled into smaller elements. “We’ll see what I call the decomposition, the breaking down of professional work into its component parts,” says Susskind (theguardian.com).
While those in medicine may have more to fear from the future of robotics, architecture will go to the cloud—cloud computing that is.
“Yes, you can automate,” says Pete Baxter, vice president of software firm Autodesk, “but, what does a design look like that’s fully automated and fully rationalized by a computer program? Probably not the most exciting piece of architecture you have ever seen,” (theguardian.com).
There is, however, an increase in the production of robotics in the field of design. For instance, the Association For Robots in Architecture supports “applied research, soft- and hardware development, and ‘robot pedagogics.’ ” The group claims that they are interested in how soon robots will revolutionize architecture.
The fact of the matter is that architects do not have much to worry about in the form of a robotic takeover. With the growing popularity of cloud computing, architecture will become a more collaborative effort. We will see a democratization of the profession where even a design student will be able to access powerful software stored in the cloud—the same software that giant design firms will be using.
And, while there may be some sort of automation or robotic help, ultimately a human will have to have the final approval on any kind of design. So, fear not design professionals, your jobs are not in danger of a Skynet-like takeover. In fact, in the future things may just get a little easier for you.