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Working from Home during the Great Hunkering

Thoughts from my little cubby hole in the basement.

We are nearing the end of the isolation period imposed on us by this worldwide pandemic. I have noticed something that is interesting to me as an architect that I thought I would share.

Not too long ago, I read a few articles about manufacturing and construction automation which discussed the changes that AI and machine learning will make as we move towards the future. And it gave me a sense of disappointment, I think because I believe that one of the great things in life is the sense of being a part of humanity. The human connection that has always been a part of this great adventure of life was portrayed in these articles about AI as something that is going to be fleeting for all of us.

And as we now have collectively experienced a great separation from the majority of our fellows, what is the one thing that appears to be yearned for the most? That same sense of humanity.

I am beginning to have my doubts that we will all embrace AI in the ways that are projected by the experts. Yes, there will be changes; and things will become more efficient as some parts of life become more automated. But I find it hard to believe that these fundamental changes will be able to compete with that innate need that people have to connect to each other.

It is compelling to me as an architect because that is one of the principles around which we design - the impressions and interactions of the people that use our buildings are perhaps the most important considerations of a building design. Of course, that has a lot to do with atmosphere and experiences and circulation, but it also has a lot to do with a sense of place, and what people are intended to do in that place.

Something tells me that we won't abandon either each other, or our "places", anytime soon.

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