The Reality of Artificial Intelligence: Less Sci-Fi, More Subtle

Emily Suzuki Emily Suzuki August 20, 2021

3 min read

Artificial intelligence (AI) is pushing new boundaries in multiple industries and is changing the way engineers design products. However, its current state is much more subtle than how its portrayed in sci-fi films.

artificial-intelligence-design process

Although the reality of artificial intelligence (AI) may not be as flashy as in typical sci-fi movies where androids roam the cityscape, advances in technology have made it just as exciting. Researchers and innovators continue to find new and compelling applications for current cloud-based AI technology. While our current reality may be lacking sentient holograms, it is important to remember where we are now and where we are going when it comes to AI. 

Today’s Artificial Intelligence

Recent improvements in information technology help us understand where we are at with AI. Cloud-based platforms have opened the floodgates regarding data transfer, storage, and computing power for strong AI to flourish across many new industries. One of the most critical AI applications lies in product design and fabrication.

Generative Design and Artificial Intelligence 

New additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing) methods allow for optimized shapes, complex lattices, and efficient fabrication. AI plays a role in additive manufacturing through a fairly new process called generative design. Designers or engineers can input design parameters such as materials, manufacturing methods, spatial and weight requirements, and cost constraints into their generative design software. Artificial intelligence then analyzes all possible design permutations and composes hundreds or even thousands of alternatives within a few seconds.

Engineers are no longer restrained to their imaginations thanks to generative design. Inversely, engineers now collaborate with artificial intelligence to fabricate quality products with less waste. However, it’s worth noting that generative design is not like other optimization platforms. Some optimization platforms have similar parameter inputs, whereas generative design creates multiple functional designs.

Other benefits of AI generative design software include:

The definition of AI often changes depending on the present company. Some people might think that AI is streets ahead of it, while others still believe it’s science fiction. To understand the current state of AI systems, one must look at a few of its subsets:


Other Real-World Artificial Intelligence Applications

Now it’s time to ground artificial intelligence in reality and look at how it’s used in everyday life. As previously mentioned, generative design is spearheading new efforts across numerous manufacturing industries. For example, Autodesk developed 3D-printed car parts for General Motors in 2018. However, AI solutions are not limited to industrial design and fabrication.

For instance, all user data trafficked on the internet is compiled and utilized to help companies engage with their customers through specialized advertisements. AI references customer browsing history and preferences to help promote brand loyalty and relevant products. Similarly, AI can track usage patterns of online transactions to prevent credit card fraud.

Another key example is AI used in self-driving cars and navigation apps. AI can operate a vehicle using LiDAR, cloud services, GPS, Convolutional Neural Network, and Graph Neural Network to detect obstacles, transfer and store data, and provide users with accurate directional information. Other examples include:

Generative Design with Fusion 360

Technology waits for no one, and research will continue to push AI development into the future. Luckily, Autodesk has incorporated generative design services right into Fusion 360. Fusion 360’s integrated generative design software package helps foster a newfound love of human-to-computer collaboration. Download Fusion 360 today.

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