Future PLM AI-machines: a dream for top V.C. firms?

Future PLM AI-machines: a dream for top V.C. firms?


One of trending online articles on my list was the article Tomorrow’s Advance Man from The New Yorker featuring future plans of Mark Andreessen to win the world. Take your head out of everyday routine of engineering and manufacturing and try to open your eyes for the future. It was a good reading for a long Memorial Day weekend in U.S. You probably heard one of the most Andreessen’s phrases – software is eating the world:

In “Why Software Is Eating the World,” a widely invoked 2011 op-ed in theWall Street Journal, Andreessen put the most optimistic spin on Silicon Valley’s tendencies. The article proclaimed that tech companies are consuming vast swaths of the economy, from books and movies to financial services to agriculture to national defense—which Andreessen saw as the healthful scavenging of a carrion way of life. On Twitter, he pursued the theme: “Posit a world in which all material needs are provided free, by robots and material synthesizers. . . . Imagine six, or 10, billion people doing nothing but arts and sciences, culture and exploring and learning. What a world that would be,” particularly as “technological progress is precisely what makes a strong, rigorous social safety net affordable.”

Do you feel like deep enough in V.C. world after reading the article? I have to admit it was long reading. The top V.C. firms want you to show them you can invent the future. I’ve been trying to find a shorter recipe…

Another (shorter) article from the last week can give you more practical perspective on what top V.C. firms are predicting as top tech trends for the next five years. Read the following Forbes’ article – Five Top Venture Capitalists Name The Top 10 Tech Trends Of The Next 5 Years.

My favorite prediction was about on demand ambient computing. Here is the passage:

On-demand ambient computing: Pishevar calls this “invisible computing,” driven by artificial intelligence. Example: You can move a car in China right now via Uber. But he thinks this kind of activity will be automated by AI-powered machines, not proactively done by people. All his fellow panelists wave green paddles, as well as most of the audience, so he must be wrong. Seriously, though, this one seems to break rule No. 1.

You may ask – how does it apply to PLM and manufacturing? Here is the thing… PLM is in many sense “hand made”. Even cloud PLM software today is leaving too much space to setup processes, make implementations, help people to use software. Imagine the world where the communication between PLM software and user will become obsolete. If I can move Uber car in China, I can imagine a world where I can move a manufacturing facilities to 3D print, run supply, make scheduling, plan production based on a product information. I’m not suggesting to remove designers and engineers from the design process process. But automate the rest? Possible?  To eliminate many manual planning and processing work could be probably a good idea. AI-powered PLM machines will help you to decide about part selection and options for contract manufacturers in a similar way Waze GPS is making recommendation for your navigation route.

What is my conclusion? Imagine the software that will eliminate a pain of product lifecycle management and make it invisible. In the past, product data management was considered as inevitable things engineers need to spend their time. New cloud PDM systems combined with cloud CAD systems (Autodesk Fusion360 and Onshape) are eliminating check-in/out and makes engineers’ like much easier. I’d like to see a future where lot of hand-made PLM process management thing will become automated by AI-like machines. I don’t think it is a very distant dream… Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Image courtesy of ddpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net



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