I use gut instinct and math when I design things. I use tables when I need them, equations where I can. Good old traditional engineering -- standing on the shoulders of giants and moving with baby steps. However, so many programs take a CAD file and do magic upon them in such a way that I feel like a Fiat at a top fuel drag race.
We are awash in AI driven knowledge embedded programs that take basic layouts or full blown parametric models and give fascinating results. My jaw has dropped more than a few times and I am left with phrases like:
“But do you know what is really going on?”
“Do you really trust these results?”
“Are you sure it’s not just a pretty picture?”
And finally, “garbage in, garbage out.” The words of all middle aged know it alls.
However, there is a lot of meat on these analysis programs.
Engineering is no longer math – it is deep, textured insight into a design. In the mechanical world, it is understanding how loads, temperatures and flows affect things. It is knowing how something can be used and misused. Human insight is the spark we bring to analysis. Engineers and others in the design professions also bring creativity and beauty to design in a way that these smarty pants programs can only dream of.
Whenever the next dazzling revision of engineering (or rendering) software comes out, pick up your jaw and put your pencil to the napkin.