During the last decade, humanity has been afraid of technology taking over their jobs in the second wave of the industrial revolution. However, this one feels a bit scarier in comparison, as science fiction has led us to believe a robot revolt is closer every day. However, being afraid of artificial intelligence and machine learning in architecture is an outrageous fear that has been blown out of proportions. In reality, there are many benefits that will come from such technological advances.
Before talking about machine learning in architecture and the future of urban design, first, we need to discuss automation as a reality. Then, we will be able to understand the current state of the art and what the future of design looks like. Besides, we should talk about the process of trusting automated design as a new norm in the field.
Welcoming Automation in Urban Design
Automation is already an important part of our daily lives. Devices like Alexa and Google Home are automating tasks we used to do manually not too long ago. Other devices like printers, phones, microwaves, even cars have already joined the efforts of machine learning. We might not call them robots, but they are pretty much the same thing.
As a matter of fact, machine learning in architecture is not a new concept, really. The use of computer-aided design (or CAD) has been a common practice for designers for almost 50 years. Besides, other design software such as Revit relies already in automation and machine learning. These programs are taking care of the tasks we used to do manually, and we trust them. Thus, the future should not be a dreary sci-fi thought.
The Future of Machine Learning in Architecture
Many believe that artificial intelligence systems will come one day and take over our jobs; domination of the human race will come later. However, this is a statement that only makes for entertainment, not for actual technological development. As we mentioned before, automation in design makes our jobs and lives easier, not the other way around. The same will happen with the fields of engineering, architecture, and urban design.
Even when computers have weak areas when it comes to open-ended questions and creative solutions, there are other areas where they excel. Nonetheless, it is through machine learning and automation that they bear many benefits to humans. Experts are being able to build more powerful computers, which will help us with the more repetitive tasks, outperforming humans while they’re at it.
Trusting Automated Design
Automated design isn’t a new concept either, and it has been a part of architecture and urban design for quite a while. Many companies are already using software to generate, test, and optimize models before actually building them. This helps them save plenty of resources, including time and money.
Also, data-driven design and evaluation of models can and will go beyond functionality. Thanks to machine learning and artificial intelligence, computers will be able to answer deeper, more subjective and human questions. Such questions would include matters of beauty, aesthetics, even the psychological impact of buildings.
There is plenty of field to be explored when it comes to machine learning in architecture. However, one thing is certain: this technology will bring positive changes to the way we think about architecture and the way we interact with it too. Thus, it is not a matter of whether it will happen or not, the question is when.