Artificial Intelligence and the coming of the self-designing machine

Manufacturing is in the early states of a state of disruption brought on by technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and 3D printing.

AI has increasingly played a role in designing products in the form of generative design software.

AI-driven generative design software makes it possible for humans and AI to work together to rapidly consider every conceivable design option and to test them all before choosing one for production.

“In an AI-driven generative design paradigm, humans input design goals and material parameters,” explains Avi Reichental, the CEO and founder of XponentialWorks (a venture investment, corporate advisory, and product development company specializing in artificial intelligence, 3D printing, robotics, and digital transformation).

This includes designs that are stronger, lighter and use less material than would be used otherwise to save money, increase scalability and raise efficiency while enhancing form and function.”

These technologies can also be used to help enable things to execute changes to their own design even when they are far outside their creator’s facilities.

“The most exciting change is the embedding of sensors within manufactured items, to create a design system that is a self-improving circuit, where the sensors provide feedback to the design to cause it to respond and improve,” said Tod Northman, partner at Tucker Ellis, a law firm with a specialized practice in intellectual property and liability issues concerning autonomous vehicles and other artificially intelligent devices.

For example, if a robot were to break a leg or a vehicle to blow a tire or break an axle, a truly AI-driven thing could adjust its design to create a different form of mobility and continue on its way.

Or, soon customers may simply give the AI a general description of a design or a product’s function they want made.

In that way, an AI-future for manufacturing may not look so different: “AIs could develop their own brands and fan bases,” as Schrauwen puts it.

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