No I have not gone off the rails and I'm not headed to a wooded cabin with a bunch of surplus military gear. That was last week and as I promised, as soon as I got my pop-tarts everything was ok.
This is more of a realization / waxing poetically about the conditions of the CAD world. One of the hardest things to know is the future. We spend a hole lot of time trying to predict and prepare and ultimately end up having to change those plans and preparations. I am at a point in the CAD world where I'm starting to go past a general grasp of the basics and branching out into specializations. My particular path will likely do with the work in the area i live (industrial) but I have caught a glimpse of something that peaked my interest. There is much talk about generative design and this topic is fascinating to me... Its also a bit intimidating. Its as though I'm a luddite who is fascinated with the machinery that will destroy my livelihood. Granted I'm not about to grab a pitch fork and head to the coding floor but the cutting edge is a healthy mix of scary and fascinating.
In my quest for deciding a specialization I got a good look at the breadth of design tools out there. Autodesk alone seems to have everything under the sun from Revit to Fusion it seems like complete deviations from vanilla Autocad. And this is just one design software company. There is focus on the lifecycle of the design and design automation and it is all really interesting but it almost seems like its chasing the QA ethos of systems like ISO or six sigma as opposed to working towards a new era in design. Granted the ability of computers to plow through tough problems using brute force will make much of the work of today disappear, but this does not seem like true progress in the arena of design, just more efficient design tools.
They all seem to be chasing the zeitgeist of tomorrow and I'm still struggling to understand the vision they are seeing or if they are seeing anything at all. I've consumed a lot of lofty press about what the design engines of tomorrow will be and honestly I'm not sure some of those individuals presenting even know.
Well I had a revelation. If i work towards change any of my efforts in shaping the design tools of tomorrow will fall under this umbrella. I have recognized what i believe to be the necessary concept that will change the design tool of tomorrow away from the more efficient into the realm of game changing. This is the one in the many. I have given the name of Synthesis Medium to this concept. I believe to see any real change we will need to adopt the idea that we are not building tools for design but building environments of where designs are manifest. It is the Synthesis Medium.
I think we could create the tools that will allow us to think in the language of the tools them selves. I have heard of people thinking in languages other than their own. It has happened to me and it usually does when the language its self presents a better representation of reality than my native tongue. I once formulated an idea about what makes things we as individuals value like music be a recognized and shared value among other people. I called this idea 'Core References'. Something universal and inherent to our nature that is unspoken yet still universally recognized and it is manifest in a design. We all recognize it yet its totally left unspoken. This is akin to Chomsky's universal grammar. I know that we can go beyond thinking in language and move to thinking in concepts. One of my favorite experiences is coding in abstract. Often when coding I can see the answer and cannot formulate it in words. I have to code it and then explain it. This can be done with design. For me this is what should unite all design software efforts. They should foster the conceptual language which will allow design synthesis seemingly from nothing more that elements of the program or medium.
Ok I know i just went way the hell out there and probably over complicated things and I also realize that I'll probably never make it past sophomoric jokes about genitalia when it comes to actually creating these tools but I had to share my grand vision.