Augmented Age

May 4th, 2017

Advancement in technology is leading our world to a new era called the Augmented Age. Humans will be augmented by computational systems to help us think. Robotic systems will us connect to our environment through digital nervous systems. Maurice Conti, a designer, futurist and innovator said that over the course of the next 20 years more change in how we work will occur then in the last 2,000 years. To better understand how this is possible, let’s get a better understanding of how we will be able to get to this point.

Currently, we use cognitive augmentation with passive tools, such as operating an aircraft or playing a video game. These passive tools need directions from designers to perform specific tasks. Designers are taking it a step further and making generative designs. Generative design tools use a computer algorithm to come up with new designs based on human goals and constraints and then search for every possible design using those criteria. This allows the machines to go through huge data sets to capture what a human is looking for to create a final design.

Autodesk is an example of a company that uses generative augmentation. The company is an applied research lab in San Francisco that focuses on human robot collaboration. Humans and robots augment each other in the design phase—thus highlighting each other’s strengths. Human factors are used for perception, decision making, and awareness, the robot factors are used for precision and repetitiveness. The company has been able to achieve designs that they wouldn’t have been able to without working side by side with computers and robots. This has set a precedent of what can be achieved when using generative augmentation.

The drawback in generative augmentation is that computers and robots don’t have the capacity o learn. To overcome this limitation, designers are taking it a step further with research in intuitive augmentation. This technology is being created so computers will have a nervous system and be able to learn and create without directions from humans. The learning and creativity will be augmented cognitively, physically, and perceptibly to create a more efficient world. A partnership between technology, nature, and humanity would hopefully allow us to tackle issues we haven’t been able to tackle as humans alone, such as global warming. This will lead us to a more connected, efficient and economical world.

 

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