How can humans, machines and artificial intelligence become partners in the workplace?

AI is fundamentally changing the future of work and making. Autodesk Toronto is exploring the impact of AI through a series of events led by Autodesk experts.

How can humans, machines and artificial intelligence become partners in the workplace?

Recent developments in AI have painted unsettling pictures of potentially negative effects of both displacement and replacement of humans by machines. While technological development has always been part of a much larger continuum of change, much of this debate is attributed to recent breakthroughs in algorithms ability to emulate various cognitive capabilities. Particularly, the last two centuries are chock full of examples of when disruptive technologies fuelled uncertainty with some extreme cases even leading to civil strife.

Nonetheless, history has shown that we have always adapted, and so has our economy and workforce. There are certainly lessons to learn from our past, but we cannot simply treat history as a paradigm to avoid difficult questions and tasks that lay ahead of us. The future of work is about how we will navigate the new change while identifying opportunities for innovation and growth. According to the World Economic Forum, “We need jobs for the hundred millions of unemployed people around the world, and we need the skilled employees that businesses are struggling to find.”

Within this context, education and learning are critical topics we need to address to navigate our way into the future. So we ask, what are some of the new pathways in learning? And how could new world of learning help us embrace the complexities of constant disruption? What will higher education look like next year…or 10 years from now? Are our schools and universities ready to respond to the disruption that is already changing the jobs we do, and how and where we work?

To tackle these questions, Dr. Randy Swearer, VP Global Education Team at Autodesk, presented Autodesk’s point of view on the future of education and work to a crowd of 350+ attendees at Autodesk Toronto’s office at MaRS Discovery District. Randy was joined by Sean Stanleigh, Managing Editor from the Globe and Mail, who moderated an engaging discussion followed by an extensive set of questions posed by the audience.

Photo: Randy Swearer, VP Global Education Team, presenting at MaRS Discovery District; New Home of Autodesk in Toronto, Canada. May 2017.

Autodesk Toronto AI series is poised to establish Autodesk’s thought leadership within one of the fastest growing AI clusters in the world known as Vector Institute to be housed adjacent to Autodesk’s office at MaRS Discovery, Toronto. Vector Institute is the latest in Canada’s AI expansion propelled by $180 million investment from government and industries.

The first of AI series was held last February with a focus on design and manufacturing. Mike Haley, Sr. Director of Machine Intelligence at Autodesk Research, provided an overview of how new advancements in AI are ushering a new age of “hypercreativity”. You can view a recorded clip of Mike’s talk here.

Photo: Mike Haley, Sr. Director of Machine Intelligence at Autodesk, presenting at MaRS Discovery District; New Home of Autodesk in Toronto, Canada. Feb 2017.


If an AI doesn’t take your job, it will design your office

ARRANGING EMPLOYEES IN an office is like creating a 13-dimensional matrix that triangulates human wants, corporate needs, and the cold hard laws of physics: Joe needs to be near Jane but Jane needs natural light, and Jim is sensitive to smells and can’t be near the kitchen but also needs to work with the product ideation and customer happiness team—oh, and Jane hates fans. Enter Autodesk’s Project Discover. Not only does the software apply the principles of generative design to a workspace, using algorithms to determine all possible paths to your #officegoals, but it was also the architect (so to speak) behind the firm’s newly opened space in Toronto.

Read more…

Autodesk Welcomes the Vector Institute

Autodesk is thrilled to have the Vector Institute – an independent, non-profit research institution dedicated to the transformative field of artificial intelligence – moving in as a new neighbour at MaRS. The Vector Institute will build on Canada’s outstanding pool of globally recognized AI expertise by training, attracting and retaining more top researchers who want to lead the world in machine learning and deep learning research, while having the flexibility to work on commercial applications with companies or in their own startups.

Minister of Finance Bill Morneau, Ontario Minister of Research, Innovation and Science Reza Moridi, Mayor John Tory and Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of MaRS Discovery District, stopped by to see what Autodesk is doing with AI for design from machined parts like the motorcycle swingarm being held by Minister Moridi to the floor plan of the new Autodesk office being shown in the background on the television screen.

Gord Kurtenbach, Senior Director of Autodesk Research said, “We just announced the Autodesk AI Lab last month when Mike Haley, our Head of Machine Intelligence, spoke here at MaRS so this is really exciting news. It shows the value in being part of the strong and vibrant innovation community here at MaRS. Autodesk is an expert in design and visualization technologies. When we pair this with AI, there is huge potential for large advances.”

Ramtin Attar, the Head of Design and Social Impact at Autodesk added, “A lot of what is done with AI, in fintech, for example, is removed from people. At Autodesk, you can touch and interact with the things that AI has helped to create. Our office is a great example – it’s the first floor plan in the world designed with AI and people can come in and see how cool it is.”

A rendering of the new Autodesk Toronto office showing a number of floor plans designed with AI

Using AI and the IoT for Design

Brad Duguid, Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Growth, stopped by to see what Autodesk is doing in Toronto and how technologies like AI and the IoT can help to develop smart manufacturing capabilities in Toronto.

“Many of the things we design, make and use are dumb,” explained Ramtin Attar, Head of Design and Social Impact at Autodesk. “By helping people to design things with sensors, an airplane engine for example, they can capture data on a more regular and timely basis than relying on scheduled inspections.

Gordon Kurtenbach, Senior Director of Autodesk Research continued, “We’re doing the same things with buildings. Not only did we use AI to design the Autodesk Toronto office based on usage requirements, we have put a system in place to capture all the important data of what happens in our space. We can use that to tweak and refine what our space looks like over time.”

You can see what capturing and viewing live building data looks like with Project Dasher360.

The Future of Making Things: AI in Design and Manufacturing

Whether you are talking about the design of buildings, cars, movie characters or even entire cities, recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have opened up new possibilities and revolutionized the creative process. And it doesn’t stop there. As the manufacturing and construction industries become more and more digitized, AI can simplify and increase the efficiency of how things are made.

At this event, Mike Haley, who leads Autodesk’s Machine Intelligence research group, will explore a range of “design-to-construction” cases to look at how AI is being applied in real scenarios. He’ll showcase both how it makes processes more efficient and how it allows us to investigate previously unimaginable designs.

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