In this article Christian Ehl, who most recently set up the OpenBIM platform, bim+, within the Nemetschek Group, paints a fascinating vision of a future world in which robots are commonplace in society and bring their unlimited computing power to the building industry as well. He posits that “BuildingBots,” small software and later hardware robots, will play a major role in creating the buildings of the future, from planning and construction to operations and management. The change will be gradual but definite: in 2016, the first bots will evolve and make sure that all building data is available with 100% accuracy; in 2020, we will see the first self-optimizing buildings; and in 2025, the first self-building buildings will evolve. Software and robots are already reshaping the world completely, and they will do so for the construction industry as well.
This is one Grim view of the Future! It implies that huge arrays of cheap computers can do a better job of managing the Earth than millions of years of evolution. I doubt it. But, of course, we will continue to try until GIGO overwhelms us. An interesting feature of the rendering of Ehl’s vision of the future – not a single tree or bird is visible. I guess nobody mentioned them to the computers.
There will be more need for construction and there will be more people available to work in construction, too. The ratio should not significantly change compared to what had occurred in the past. This would allow us to supply construction and provide meaningful employment at the same time. Providing equitable housing and places for business to these people has none of the complexity of the cited projects. Therefore, it seems that it would make much more sense to think about concepts empowering people in the regions where most of the population growth will occur to benefit from the opportunities of increased construction demands, instead of excluding them from economic opportunity by replacing them in advance with robots that only add to the consumption of resources and energy.
“It implies that huge arrays of cheap computers can do a better job of managing the Earth than millions of years of evolution.”
Huge arrays of cheap computers *are* the result of millions of years of evolution.