Make AI Work For You to Future-Proof Your Career

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By Izhar Medalsy, Chief Technology Officer, Nexa3D

Despite having all of humanity’s knowledge at its fingertips, fears that AI will make many jobs redundant are mostly unfounded. Its lack of inherent creativity can ensure your career, particularly in areas like engineering, is future-proofed.

AI has been around behind the scenes for a long time. It has recently become mainstream because large text-based language models, such as Chat GPT, have brought with them a new set of capabilities to allow us to directly engage and interact with AI. This is an unprecedented opportunity to enhance your employment capabilities and value by focusing on your creativity and ideas and allowing AI to do the time-consuming, knowledge-based, and repetitive tasks.

The new large language models are trained with the entire set of knowledge currently available to humanity through the Internet. We can engage with these in an unmediated way and get reasonable results. We also have tools that allow us to develop on top of this to create a whole new host of capabilities to make the process even more relevant and specific to ourselves. Far from replacing your job, using these tools can help you increase productivity and give you more time to develop creative and innovative ideas.

AI as a tool

First and foremost, AI is a productivity tool. It can help with mundane, repetitive jobs, so you can offload the tasks that used to take time but didn’t add much value to you as an individual. However, it can also be a clever companion that has infinite access to all humanity’s knowledge and is always available for answering your question.

Thankfully, humans still have the advantage of being able to initiate ideas. AI, so far, is not coming up with its own requests or needs. This means you can research your chosen area, and AI will wait for a trigger, which ideally comes from you. This gives you the time and space to be more creative.

This is how AI can help future-proof your career. It forces all of us to go back to first principles. It gives us a higher degree of freedom to explore new areas that were previously blocked because of a lack of fundamental skills that we can now simply offload to a tool. We can have a much larger range of creative thinking and be less bothered by how to make it happen.

AI tools have commoditized the ability to move us from one point to another without knowing all the intricate technical details, such as setting the right tolerances for an engineered part or understanding how to position loads and interaction points. Because of AI, everyone will have access to the same knowledge, so it is essential to be a creative thinker.

To future-proof your career, you need to understand AI and how to use it correctly. You don’t need to know how the code is written, but by understanding how it works, you can learn how to communicate with it effectively. This way, you have a superpower that you can unleash with a few sentences, commands, or examples.

I am a trained pilot, and when I flew planes years ago, it was stick and throttle; we had almost no electronics. Now, if you’re in distress, technology can step in and make a safe landing a virtual certainty. You can press a button, and the plane will find the nearest airfield and the correct landing pattern and land itself. It will probably also call 911 for you. If you know what you are doing, it might be tempting to take over and do it yourself, but the best mentality is to trust the technology because it can process the sheer mass of information required much faster and more accurately than you can. This is what AI is good at. When thinking about how to future-proof your career in engineering, your challenge is to overcome the mindset of distrust of AI.

AI in Design

When it comes to design, Nexa3D has already committed to embracing AI to increase the quality of its 3D printer innovation, manufacture, and applications. We are helping our engineers take advantage of all the benefits AI can offer to their work and careers.

One major area of change and development driven by AI is generative design. The most significant change in generative design compared to traditional design is the ability to reducing the use of materials and maximizing the strength of the parts you are making by allowing the design software to optimize a part based on the design constraints you enter the system. In other words, as an engineer you are focused on defining the right system rather than designing it. Based on you definition of attachment points and loads the software will develop an optimized design for both weight and strength. As long as you are willing to live with parts that look a bit different from what you are used to, your only role in the process is to define what is needed and what the boundaries are and let the machine give you a set of different solutions.

For example, our software team uses advanced LLM-based AI tools to review and write application code. Previously, we would spend time writing code, but now these tools allow us to get more work done and increase quality because they constantly review what we are doing in the background.

Our focus is to serve our customers, so if we don’t incorporate AI tools into our products, they will become a bit dated because you need to be able to interact intimately with your design software. You need to give text-based commands to do the actions that drive creativity and innovation forward.

Nexa3D is striving to deliver the balance between productivity and creativity. We are leveraging the collective knowledge of many thousands of prints to come up with new structures or more efficient ways of reducing material while getting faster prints and faster time from design to a part in hand. This gives us a huge competitive edge.

Balancing the benefits of AI

The biggest fear concerning AI, which I don’t think will arise, is that it will deplete our ingenuity and creativity. AI has a lot of capabilities, but ingenuity is not one of them. AI is the collective work of humanity compiled in a very sophisticated fashion. If we are all drinking from this same well, then, without our own ingenuity and creativity, we are going to deplete it, and at some point, everything is going to look the same.

Humans are still essential. I view the rise of AI as another evolution in our progress as a species. We need to embrace it while understanding where it can hurt and damage us so we can ensure the safety handles are there.

Whether for a rapidly developing business like NEXA3D or your personal career in engineering, AI is a vital tool in the future of engineering and technology in general. Understanding its capabilities and limitation will most definitely help you grow and develop your career in the best possible way.

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