Walking through the gallery with Mathews, CTO and vice-president of the reality capture group at Autodesk, one senses that it's abundantly clear that this future is just, per William Gibson, awaiting its even distribution. "If complexity is free," Mathews asks, "where does complexity come from? That's what design is all about." In other words, if everything that can be rendered in bits can begenerated, a world awash in "physibles" -- as these voxels (the volumetric pixels that make up the smallest visible elements in a 3D design) of material are known -- what is the role of design, the process of deciding how those bits should be arranged?
"This is a new design paradigm," Tibbits says. "It's just not designing and making things. It's designing things that change over time, and so how we incorporate that programmability and changeability into design tools is a really big question."
"More and more design is turning away from what you've already designed up here," Kowalski says, gesturing to his head, "and changing into a conversation with the computer. Nobody drafts any more -- everyone creates a higher-level model that expresses design intent. All that stuff we thought of as blueprints are inconsequential outputs of the overall process."