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Lauren Vasey on AI and disrupting construction (listen)

We tend to think of design as a rather human-centred process: someone comes up with an idea, and then they go about conceptualising that idea and – potentially – bringing it to life.

But what if machines were at the forefront of the design process? Sure, this has been done with artificial intelligence (AI) in quite a few fields (IBM’s Watson comes to mind – check out our experience eating food “designed” by Watson here), but it remains a bit of a novelty.

That could change soon, argues Lauren Vasey. A research associate and doctoral candidate at the Institute for Computational Design at the University of Stuttgart in Germany, Vasey has taught several workshops in computation and robotic fabrication, and has done research in computational techniques for customisable fabrication processes at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College FABLab in the US, as well as the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH-Zurich) in the areas of architecture and digital fabrication. Translation: she knows quite a bit about how much AI, machine learning and more are poised to transform industries – particularly construction, and even construction right here in Aotearoa.

Vasey is visiting New Zealand for the Paradigm Shift Series. An architectural event showcasing new technology from event partners, Vasey is the keynote speaker. The event will travel throughout the country, first taking place at 5pm at Shed 6 on Queens Wharf in Wellington on Monday, May 28. It’ll then move to Nelson on Tuesday, May 29, Christchurch on May 30, Dunedin on May 31, and wrap-up in Queenstown on Friday, June 1.

Vasey recently took the time to chat about just how much – and how soon – AI, machine learning and more could completely transform the construction industry, as well as how we approach designing things (spoiler: it’s much sooner than many people might think, according to Vasey). Have a listen below to what she had to say.

Check out this podcast with IBM’s Adam Cutler on the human side of AI:

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