By Jake Henrich
What’s in your future? Anyone would be interested in the answer to this question. At Autodesk University—a software user conference that attracts designers, architects, and engineers—over 10,000 attendees spent a few days mulling over the question this year in Las Vegas.
If you’ve never heard of Autodesk, they’re a really cool company that develops software for the architecture, engineering, construction, manufacturing, media, and entertainment industries, which continually advance at a rapid pace. One of this year’s hot topics was automation and the future of making things. These industries fear automation will take over—leaving many people jobless.
To address this fear, Autodesk’s CEO, Andrew Anagnost, gave the Autodesk University participants a little history lesson on how technology and automation have actually provided more jobs. He said, “Before computer-aided software, there were 300,000 U.S. drafting professionals. Today, due to automation, there are 10 million using design software.” I highly recommend watching his entire keynote.
Although Anagnost wasn’t able to reveal the future of automation with certainty, he did share the following view on how to prepare for it:
Succeeding in the era of automation comes down to three things: adaptability, resilience, and community. Adaptability is all about evolving your skills and learning new ones. Resilience is about finding the will and resolve to bounce back when technology starts to disrupt your business. And community is the idea that all of us working together can do a lot more than any of us working on our own.
A few examples of embracing the future in this fashion are MX3D and The Hydrous. MX3D has automated robots in Amsterdam printing a bridge. The Hydrous—which is heavily supported by an international community of volunteers including scientists, divers, designers, filmmakers, and concerned citizens—is creating 3D models of coral from various parts of the world and using them for research and education.
Both organizations use Lenovo workstations, and that’s where Warehouse Twenty One comes in. This year at Autodesk University, we created an amazing booth experience for Lenovo where attendees enjoyed the worlds of MX3D and The Hydrous through virtual reality and hands-on demos. Although we don’t know what the future holds, we can take some comfort in knowing our ability to adapt to it with resilience is strong when we put our minds together.