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Humans and AI Team Up—New Autodesk and Smithsonian Exhibit

Autodesk co-sponsors and co-creates Co-Lab interactive exhibit for upcoming FUTURES exhibition at Smithsonian in Washington DC.


After being dormant for nearly two decades, this fall the Smithsonian Arts + Industries Building (AIB) will temporarily be reopened with an exhibition all about the future. In celebration of the Smithsonian’s 175th anniversary, the AIB’s reopening “FUTURES” exhibition will display a vast array of ideas, artworks, technologies, and interactives that take a glimpse into humanity’s next chapter.


FUTURES will look at various types of futures that unite and inspire humanity as well as strategies that solve real-world problems now, in the future and even ideas from past generations.

A rendering of Autodesk’s Co-Lab display at the FUTURES Exhibition coming to the Smithsonian’s Arts + Industries Building (AIB) this fall.

The exhibit will look at the future of travel, the future of burials, the future robots, and the future of design. Autodesk has co-developed an exhibit that enables a first-of-its-kind collaborative design experience, marrying collaborative human (occupant) participation with artificial intelligence (AI). The installation is called “Co-Lab” and will invite visitors to co-create their own city of the future.

Autodesk’s generative design technology will be featured in the exhibit in two ways. Firstly, the technology which taps the power of AI was used to create the interactive display design itself. Secondly, it will be used by visitors as they collaborate together along with AI to design a city block.

Autodesk says the installation incorporates Autodesk’s latest generative design technology. Visitors collaborate with each other along with AI to design a sustainable urban block. Each visitor will take on a different persona (from the developer, mayor, ecologist, etc.) and be motivated by specific goals and situational input factors. For example, inputs like availability of green space, distance from public services, and low carbon transportation, are just a few. Autodesk’s generative design technology today in its own applications provides accessibility to non-programmer user interfaces like simple sliders. In Co-Lab visitors can alter input levels (eg: the amount of green space) on situational factors and thereby explore the visualization of trade-offs necessary to achieve certain outcomes.

To learn more about Autodesk at the AIB this fall click here.

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