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Jun 01, 2023


Simon Weel

You can start a new topic for this article already. Generative Design will be renamed AI Design - cos we all do AI, right? Just like 25 years ago every software vendor put an "i" in front of their products to tell the people: we do internet! And now every company is putting AI somewhere in their software, err, 'solutions' name. Until AI doesn't prove to much useful at all.

Ralph Grabowski

Even worse, some CAD vendors are now claiming, "We've been doing AI all along, we just didn't call it that." Which is funny, it's not like AI is a new thing, say like NFTs.

Dairobi Paul

I don't know why I still have this memory. In the late 80's I was a CAD draftsperson using AutoCAD for Wang Australia (remember Wang?) in the department which designed and installed WangNet, a broadband network product which used regular Cable TV coax cable and components. I was in our downtown Sydney office lift discussing with another person the AI potential of lisp. That was over 30 years ago and, yet, AI is new.

Ralph Grabowski

LISP was the first programming language meant for working with AI, back in the late 1950s. XLisp was the free version. I remember trying to play around with it before I encountered AutoCAD in 1985.

When Autodesk added XLISP to AutoCAD 2.17f (originally called "Variables and Expressions"), we were a bit surprised, given LISP was meant for AI. But LISP (short for List Processing) was good for handling lists of items, and 2D/3D coordinates and DXF data were lists. It turned out, however, that LISP was clumsy that processing x,y,z data.

David Betz, the developer of XLISP, spent some time complaining that Autodesk had taken his XLISP compiler without formal recognition, and finally Autodesk acknowledged the attribution.

In the end, LISP was a good choice for tossing off a few lines of code inside AutoCAD, because variables did not need to be declared and it was a run-time compiler. For bigger programming projects, it was too slow and clumsy, so ADS (now ARx) was introduced to allow any outside programming language.

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