For now, it seems that AI (Artificial Intelligence) is more of an aid to design processes and product invention for manufactured products. There may be some gray areas, however.
AI the Inventor?
This fine article from the University of New South Wales in Australia asks the question “Can machines invent things?” For the most part, the examples show how AI can speed the process of invention, but can’t generate products that are original concepts. AI has been used as an aid to design radio antennae, antibiotics, and even toothbrushes.
AI currently needs some direction from humans. AI can then use its vast databases and processing speeds to generate ideas. For example, AI could be asked the best way to bend an antenna that will lead to the best electromagnetic properties.
Augmented (not Artificial) Intelligence
Some view the idea of speeding up the process of design and invention as augmented intelligence, not artificial intelligence. Perhaps we should not equate artificial intelligence as an artificial human. Rather, an augmented intelligence that is simply faster than the human brain once given some direction.
Perhaps AI can be used to help product designers incorporate Design for Manufacturing (DFM) principles. These principles consider the ease of manufacturing in product designs with the goal of making a better product at a lower cost. Areas like the choice of raw materials, dimensional tolerances, and geometry are considered.
Maybe 10 years from now, AI is actually inventing original concepts and products, but for now, it seems to be an aid to the invention process.
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This writing was faithfully researched and written by a human being.