In 2013, Michael Osborne and Carl Benedikt Frey ranked 702 occupations according to their probability of computerisation in the near future, from least probable (“recreational therapist”) to most probable (“telemarketers”). "Architectural and Engineering Managers” was ranked seventy-third, and “architects” eighty-second, while “architectural and civil drafters” ranked three-hundred and fifth. Clearly, technological advancements in fields such as machine learning and robotics are rapidly confronting us with issues of changing professional demand and qualifications. In this essay, Maurizio Ferraris turns the table on us: what if what we should be concerned with is not maintaining the human element in labor as production, but rather recognising human labor as consumption? Expanding on the arguments of his 2012 book, “Lasciar tracce: documentalità e architettura,” the author sees in automation an extraordinary opportunity in defining a renewed centrality of the human element, as the production of value associated with digital exchange is read through the three concepts of invention, mobilization and consumption.
Robots: The Latest Architecture and News
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Will Technology Replace Architects? Artist Sebastian Errazuriz Explains Why "Architects Will Need To Find New Jobs"
Errázuriz, also known for his critique/proposal of the reconstruction of the Notre-Dame church, says that it is very likely that the future of the profession as we know it might disappear. Thanks to technological advancements, only a small elite of architects who maintain architecture as an artistic practice might be the ones who will continue to practice the discipline as we know it.
The roundAround project, developed by researchers at MIT Senseable City Lab, in collaboration with the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, is basically a bridge made of autonomous boats called Roboats. The least traditional solution, roundAround, but the most versatile and modular answer, connects the waterway between Marineterrein and the City Center in Amsterdam, allowing the transportation of people and goods.
Digital technology has broken into the timber construction scene at ETH Zurich, where a research team is using programmed robots to construct load-bearing timber modules. These modules are being used to stabilize the top two levels of their DFAB HOUSE project, a three-story residential unit located in Dübendorf, which aims to bring a variety of digital construction methods together under one roof.
According to The Economist, 47% of the work done by humans will have been replaced by robots by 2037, even those traditionally associated with university education. While the World Economic Forum estimates that between 2015 and 2020, 7.1 million jobs will be lost around the world, as "artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology and other socio-economic factors replace the need for human employees."
It's not science fiction: the MIT Technology Review warns that the current debate over raising the minimum wage for fast food employees in the United States would accelerate their own automation. On the other hand, Silicon Valley personalities and millionaires like Elon Musk and Richard Branson warned that the impact of automation will force the creation of a universal basic income to compensate not only the massive unemployment that would generate these new technologies but also the hyper-concentration of the global wealth.
One advocate of this idea is the British economist Guy Standing who wrote at the Davos Forum that it "would be a sensible precaution against the possibility of mass displacement by robotization and artificial intelligence," but will automation affect architects? Will we really be replaced by robots?
The IAAC (Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia) has developed a series of advanced materials and systems for air conditioning and passive ventilation, allowing homes to reduce interior temperatures up to 5 degrees lower while saving the electricity consumption caused by the traditional air-conditioning. The systems are made from long-lifespan materials, which lower the costs of maintenance in the long-term and can be used as low-cost alternative building technologies.
The projects highlighted are the Breathing Skin, Hydroceramics, Hydromembrane, Morphluid and Soft Robotics - all developed by students of the IAAC's Digital Matter Intelligent Constructions (conducted by Areti Markopoulou). The passive air-conditioning of spaces is investigated using a combination of new materials that mimic organic processes, adaptive structures and Robotics that help regulate temperature and create sustainable micro climates.