Design X Design Round Table 8

Throughout human history, technological revolutions of various kinds have fundamentally impacted human endeavour. Of late, from the Industrial Revolution (1760-1840), followed by the Transport Revolution (1870-1940) and the Digital Revolution (1948-1990), to the most recent, Information Media Revolution (1998-2007), the advancements rung in have opened new horizons and forged contemporary design. Their reducing periods, as much as their reducing periodicity,lead many to opine that we are already in the midst of another revolution: the Artificial Intelligence or AI Revolution.

Now faster than ever before, machines are consistently outperforming, outlasting and undercutting humans in a myriad roles and a multitude ways. Apprehensions of an adversarial relationship between intelligent machines and humans in the near future have raised philosophical and ethical questions for more than half a century now. However, today, AI research is seized with more tangible goals, directly beneficial to humanity. The focus is more on the potentials of enhanced machine-human collaborations and the unravelling of the workings of the human brain.

The breakneck speed of progress in AI, parallel leaps in machine capabilities and build, along with technological advancements in the fields of CAD, CAM, simulations, navigation, communications and media implies a future bursting with possibilities for design. But, along with the opportunities come concerns for the profession and its future role. Across academia, practice and industry, it appears fresh ground needs to be broken and perhaps a few wheels reinvented. It would appear that India, due to the immediacy of an interconnected world and our position in the global markets, would find itself at the crest of the technological wave sooner rather than later. Unlike previous technological revolutions, the AI revolution appears to be  poised to break relatively contemporaneously across the globe, leaving Indian design bereft of the advantage of having it play out elsewhere and then gradually transfer. This year's Design X Design Roundtable discusses  the Artificial Intelligence Revolution, its significance to  and the repercussions on Indian Design.