Leading AI and Tech Entrepreneurs gather in a few weeks to discuss innovation and investment, at the Middle East’s biggest technology event.
AI Everything aims to provide a nuanced understanding of the state of AI technology and it’s long-term potential, while spotlighting rising stars.
And overwrite.ai Founder and CEO Ayman Alashkar, will be speaking across 3 days of exciting panels with fellow visionaries from a range of industries.
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“Dubai is epitomised by its passion for growth and innovation.
The AI Everything event puts Dubai on the map, highlighting the region’s enormous talent pool and potential.“
Design pioneers and architectural AI visionaries have long thought about automating the creation of our environments. Now the technology is catching up to their ideas.
A radical shift into AI-assisted design is taking hold, with implications that could radically transform the feel and function of the places we inhabit.
Completely automated design is not quite there yet. This crop of generative, AI-assisted tools is rather new. But there are signs that we could be on the cusp of a revolution in how our buildings and cities are created.
Will these begin to take on a homogeneous shape, recognisable as AI-planned spaces? And is this the beginning of the ‘copy-and-pasted’ city – or do we already inhabit those, with the identical new-build properties that seem to crop up everywhere?
A(I) Helping Hand
Advocates argue that AI-based city design could remove burdensome manual labour, allowing architects, designers and planners to focus on creativity.
On the other hand, could AI accelerate more of the same – a ruthlessly efficient approach to stuffing more people into buildings and maximising rents. Whatever happens, AI assisted design appears set to radically change the future of architecture.
And nudging this AI-assisted world into reality are new tools backed by Silicon Valley, such as Delve, owned by Google subsidiary Sidewalk Labs, and SpaceMaker, which was recently acquired by computer-aided design giant Autodesk for $240m (£196m).
Future of Architecture
Unlike the painstakingly crafted line-by-line processes normally associated with architecture proposals, these tools allow the user to view and play with a huge range of variables – prioritising or adjusting nuances we may take for granted, like noise levels, temperature or window views – and then generating design options.
With the traditional approach, planning teams are limited by their time and their tools.
But by using AI-assisted tools, planners can explore hundreds, if not thousands of options, with their subtle differences illustrated on a 3D map so various stakeholders can view progress or collaborate as plans evolve.
SpaceMaker co-founder and CEO Håvard Haukeland says that AI assisted design can virtually eliminate what those in the industry colourfully term ‘Oh Sh*t Moments’: when a design has already been fixed, but the team had forgotten to carry out essential tasks like noise analysis, thereby potentially setting project deadlines back – sometimes quite literally to the drawing board.
Putting it into Context
But it’s not without its complexities or drawbacks. With all the variables, location-specific considerations, the context-dependent nature of floorplans for example, and the algorithmically impossible-to-pin-down overall ‘feeling’ of a place, it may be some time yet before machines are helping to bring about that renaissance
For now, it is the nuts-and-bolts stuff where the latest AI-generative tools excel. The design is not quite end-to-end – meaning, pushing a button won’t instantly generate you a building or district to your liking.
But even these optimisations have the potential to change the look and feel – and function – of spaces.
Being able to analyse, calculate and map predicted temperatures, for instance, could help developers avoid creating urban heat islands, and create cooler conditions for residents as buildings and cities evolve.
And as sustainability becomes a more pressing concern, it may be proven that our approaches to buildings and cities are woefully inadequate – and that AI-imagined geometric models surprise designers with the optimised shapes they take.
New and Improved?
In time, as technology marches forward, it’s an exciting thought for what new, aesthetic forms may crystallise.
So, determining the future with algorithms needs to be considered “very carefully”. But more design options and therefore more variety can hardly ever be a bad thing.
If you look at history, he adds, revolutions in architecture have occurred across thousands of years and in the end, there’s always something new, better, or smarter that builds on the past.
Crossing The Line?
Take for example Saudi Arabia’s radical plan to build a linear city, branded ‘THE LINE’. It rethinks everything we know about how people live, work and play. A 170 km-long vertical city, designed around people, rather than cars. It describes itself as “A revolution in urban living. A city that delivers new wonders for the world.”
“You want to encourage positive mutations and that’s what the rapid processing and multiple iterations of AI and machine learning make possible,” Haukeland adds. “But also, to ensure that the output is intelligent, and not simply a reflection of the limitations of the inputs.”
If AI can take the more mechanistic day-to-day activities of planners and designers, and “autocomplete” some of the laborious processes, there are great advantages to this.
But designers will have to tread carefully and remain conscious of algorithmic bias.
Flair over form for the foreseeable
Imdat As, architect and co-editor of The Routledge Companion to Artificial Intelligence in Architecture: wonders what designers would work on if AI were to produce 90% of the buildings.
“The top 10 designers – the Zaha Hadids, and so on – will always be there, with new ideas, new aesthetics. Those will be the designers who come up with a new design idea,” he says.
“And what if they trained in-house AI systems? Instead of, say, 10 buildings a year, they might build a million, all over the world. The power of AI for an architectural company could be amazing. The business structure could be: if you use my AI system, you pay royalties. It could change architectural practice models. I think there will be those types of changes.”
Imdat As, architect and co-editor of The Routledge Companion toArtificial Intelligence in Architecture
Stephen Barrett, partner at British architectural firm Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, believes that AI will be able to take the more mechanistic day-to-day activities of planners and designers, and “autocomplete” some of the laborious processes. There are “great advantages” to this, he says: it frees up time and space to work on the interesting stuff, to innovate and create.
“If you took a city like Paris and ran that as an existing data set, you’d have more Paris,” he comments, “which is not a bad thing. But would you ever have had a Pompidou Centre?”
One thing does, though, seem certain. Given the efficiency gains, AI-assisted design will play an increasingly important role in that future planning, developing, building.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of overwrite.ai and its owners.
Ever wished that you could read your client’s mind and be one step ahead of them?
Understanding the way your client thinks is your secret weapon to bringing home that sale.
We reveal the 4 most common personality types and the clues that could help you sell to them, better.
Getting inside their minds
Experts believe that individuals are wired to make purchasing decisions, based on their personality type. Which type is your client?
1. The Leader
This client type has come prepared; they did their research, and know exactly what they’re looking for. Super motivated, they have no time for small talk, wanting to cut to the chase. They’ll make decisions quick and generally don’t have the time to deal with sales people. Be on your toes, this personality type will be the one to walk into the home, take one look around, and sign the very same day. They’ll equally walk away in an instant if you pussy-foot around.
How do you sell to the Leader?
Tune in to these behaviours quickly, or risk losing them to a competitor. If they’re a Leader type, remember they need freedom to do just that, so let them lead the conversation, and to a degree, stay out of their way. Do not hand-hold (we’re not talking literally during viewings, although that’s equally not advisable!) and give them space to absorb the product, until they’re ready to ask questions.
2. The People Person
Common traits of this client type include them being talkative, easily excited and often extroverted. Their number one need is to connect with the sales agent. As the name suggest, they’re “people-people”, and value a personal touch, so stay close (and then close).
How do you sell to the People Person?
Tip 1: Do not be pushy! Drop the sales pitch, turn off “sales mode” and turn on “relationship mode”. These customers are people-oriented, so create an environment free of confrontation or pressure.
“They enjoy the journey, have time to talk, want to get value from your expertise in the sales process, and value your knowledge in helping them make a sensible investment or find their dream home. Reinforce their beliefs, be a great listener, be available, be “with them” and support them. If you master this type and serve them really well, they’re going to be a walking, talking, billboard for you. Put lots of business cards in their hands.”
3. The Free Spirit
The Free Spirit is fun-loving and likes to have a good time. They’re extremely independent and are risk-takers. They are open to ideas, won’t mind being thrown a curve ball, but will be turned off by slick, rehearsed sales routines. They like to be in control of how and when things get done, so you could be in for an exhilarating but rocky ride.
How do you sell to the Free Spirit?
Get excited and celebrate with them! They’re creative people so make the sales approach equally exciting and celebratory, not boring and stale. Offer something they haven’t yet considered yet; you never know with this personality type just what might trigger that decision to buy.
4. The Task Master
The Task Master will be your most challenging personality to deal with. They are punctual, meticulous, structured, and very detail-oriented. They are the total opposite of the Free Spirit. Dependability and reliability are their biggest needs in dealing with a sales agent.
How do you sell to this Task Master?
They are cautious and need reassurance, so going in full throttle won’t work. Don’t try to pressure-sell them; they’ll just shut down. They’re going to listen to every piece of information, so make sure it’s 100% on point.
And be prepared for them having to “think about it” even after numerous conversations. The technique here is to have great follow through, stick with the plan, and unlike the Free Spirit, do not throw them any curve balls. Be dependable, and do what you said you were going to do. Eventually, your credibility and trust will win them over before the final purchasing decision.
Know yourself, too
Knowing as much as you can about your client, as quickly as you can, will be a game changer. This is as close as you’ll get to being inside your customer’s brain and know what they’re thinking, so you know what your next move is.
Yet, even armed with all this knowledge, you must also know your own personality or sales style. This will enable you to adapt your natural behaviours and manage their expectations. You’ll need to shape the relationship along the way if you want to establish effective communication.
As you get more confident, you can begin to adjust yourself, and integrate your understanding of your own personality into the sales process.
But with any human interaction, no amount of self awareness or clever second-guessing of their verbal or visual cues, will be of use if the foundations aren’t set around honestly and integrity.
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