Recently I was privileged to visit Milan's Design Week 2018 - and was reasonably astonished at the level of IOT and AI based automation expressing design.
Now we all know intellectually that design is the value proposition of the future - as we inexorably march forward to self assembling additive manufacturing locally built nirvana it is ultimately design that conveys value.
But to actually see an AI controlled robot descend from the ceiling and organize the IOT tagged raw materials that a human driver dropped off on a pallet - and then move them closer to the assembly line across acres of storage area to minimize travel time when they are called for - and then to see those parts be turned into a Pininfarina designed Snaidero kitchen with minimal human intervention - really drove home the point viscerally.
As if that wasn't enough, another factory featured enormous slabs of glass being cut down, milled, layered and matched into elements that could become external shells of office towers (solar panels?) or interior partitions or floors or doors with endless varieties of customization and decoration - all AI / IOT driven with minimal waste - a reminder that its not just additive manufacturing that benefits from AI and design.
And this factory was, no surprise, glass walled and sky lighted, with sweeping views of the Italian countryside - the need for artificial lighting limited to one hour a day around the winter solstice and not needed the balance of the year.
All in all the old country is bringing forward the value of design.