Leveraging collective intelligence and AI to benefit society


A solar-powered autonomous drone scans for forest fires. A surgeon first operates on a digital coronary heart earlier than she picks up a scalpel. A world group bands collectively to print private safety gear to battle a pandemic.

“The longer term is now,” says Frédéric Vacher, head of innovation at Dassault Systèmes. And all of that is attainable with cloud computing, synthetic intelligence (AI), and a digital 3D design store, or as Dassault calls it, the 3DEXPERIENCE innovation lab. This open innovation laboratory embraces the idea of the social enterprise and merges collective intelligence with a cross-collaborative method by constructing what Vacher calls “communities of individuals—passionate and prepared to work collectively to perform a standard goal.”

This podcast episode was produced by Insights, the customized content material arm of MIT Know-how Assessment. It was not produced by MIT Know-how Assessment’s editorial workers. 

“It’s not solely software program, it is not solely cloud, nevertheless it’s additionally a group of individuals’s expertise and providers out there for {the marketplace},” Vacher says. 

“Now, as a result of applied sciences are extra accessible, newcomers can even disrupt, and that is the place we need to focus with the lab.” 

And for Dassault Systèmes, there’s limitless real-world alternatives with the ability of collective intelligence, particularly if you end up bringing collectively business consultants, health-care professionals, makers, and scientists to deal with covid-19. Vacher explains, “We created an open group, ‘Open Covid-19,’ to welcome any volunteer makers, engineers, and designers to assist, as a result of we noticed at the moment that many individuals have been attempting to do issues however on their very own, of their lab, of their nation.” This wasted time and sources throughout a worldwide disaster. And, Vacher continues, the urgency of working collectively to share info grew to become apparent, “They have been all going through the identical points, and by working collectively, we thought it might be an fascinating method to speed up, to switch the know-how, and to keep away from any errors.”

Enterprise Lab is hosted by Laurel Ruma, director of Insights, the customized publishing division of MIT Know-how Assessment. The present is a manufacturing of MIT Know-how Assessment, with manufacturing assist from Collective Subsequent. 

This episode of Enterprise Lab is produced in affiliation with Dassault Systèmes. 

Present notes and hyperlinks 

“How Effective is a Facemask? Here’s a Simulation of Your Unfettered Sneeze,” by Josh Mings, SolidSmack, April 2, 2020 

“Open COVID-19 Community Lets Makers Contribute to Pandemic Relief,” by Clare Scott, The SIMULIA Weblog, Dassault, July 15, 2020

Dassault 3DEXPERIENCE platform

“Collective intelligence and collaboration around 3D printing: rising to the challenge of Covid-19,” by Frédéric Vacher, STAT, August 10, 2020

Full Transcript 

Laurel Ruma: From MIT Know-how Assessment, I’m Laurel Ruma. And that is Enterprise Lab, the present that helps enterprise leaders make sense of recent applied sciences popping out of the lab and into {the marketplace}. 

Our subject at the moment is accelerating disruptive improvements to learn society by constructing and operating large simulations. The world has huge issues, and it’s going to take all of us to assist remedy them. Two phrases for you: collective intelligence.  

My visitor is Frédéric Vacher, who’s the pinnacle of innovation at Dassault Systèmes. He’s a mechanical engineer who has had an extended profession at Dassault. First, main the partnership program, after which launching the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab. This episode of Enterprise Lab is produced in affiliation with Dassault Systèmes. Frédéric, welcome to Enterprise Lab. 

Frédéric Vacher: Good morning, Laurel. Good morning, everybody. 

Laurel: May you begin by first telling us a bit about Dassault Systèmes? I don’t need listeners to be confused with the aviation firm, as a result of we’re speaking a few 3D modeling and simulation enterprise that was based nearly 40 years in the past and has greater than 20,000 staff across the globe. 

FrédéricYeah, that’s true. We’re Dassault Systèmes, the 3D expertise firm. We have been digital since day one. Dassault Aviation is one among our shoppers—like all of the aerospace corporations—however our clients are additionally automobile, shipbuilding, shopper items, shopper packaged items corporations, and so forth. We’re a worldwide chief in offering digital options, from design simulation to manufacturing and we cowl 11 industries. Our function is to harmonize product, nature, and life. 

For the previous two years, we have helped our shoppers’ business roles to innovate by digitalizing and engineering their merchandise from very advanced merchandise to easier merchandise. For the previous 10 years, we have now invested very strongly in two instructions: the character of life and from issues, to life. 

Laurel: That may be a sophisticated type of course of to kind of think about. However with the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab, scientists and engineers can go in and construct these cloud-based simulations for 3D modeling, digital twins, and product in a means that’s actually collaborative, making the most of that human system. May you speak to us a bit extra about why Dassault felt it was essential to create this 3DEXPERIENCE Lab in a means that was so collaborative? 

FrédéricWe began the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab initiative 5 years in the past to speed up newcomers, very small actors, startups, makers, as we consider that innovation is in every single place. For 40 years, we innovated with the aerospace and protection business. [For example] we established a partnership with Boeing on the 777, as an illustration, the primary airplane that was totally digitized [made into a digital twin]. And not solely the product, however all of the processes and the factories. Now, as a result of applied sciences are extra accessible, newcomers can even disrupt, and that is the place we need to focus with the lab. This lab is focusing on open innovation with startup accelerators empowering communities on-line, communities of individuals, passionate and prepared to work collectively to accomplish a standard goal. 

Laurel: And since it’s an open lab, anybody can take part. However you’ve got created a particular program for startups. May you inform us extra about that program? 

FrédéricBecause the starting, we have now been figuring out and sourcing startups that present a powerful influence to society as a disruptive product or undertaking eager to make an actual influence. This program gives these startups entry to our software program {and professional} options that the business is utilizing in their day-to-day actions. But in addition funds to this cloud platform for communities to create entry to mentors. Mentors will assist them speed up of their improvement, offering know-how and data. 

Laurel: That type of entry for startups is relatively tough to get, proper? As a result of this type of software program is skilled grade, it’s costly. They might not be capable to afford it or perceive that they even have entry to it. However curiously, it is not simply the software program corporations and startups that would have entry to it is also the individuals who work at Dassault, right? 

FrédéricYeah, that’s right. Thanks to this 3DEXPERIENCE platform within the cloud, as you talked about, we have now 20,000 individuals worldwide in 140 international locations. These individuals are educated as they assist their enterprise in lots of industries when it comes to know-how and in science. And these individuals on a volunteering foundation, may be a part of a lab undertaking as coach, mentor, or startup. Thanks to these cloud platforms, they are not solely discussing and offering some perception or info or steerage, however they can actually co-design with these guys. Like a Google doc, many individuals can work on the identical doc whereas being in numerous places. This program allows us to carry out the identical means however on a digital mock-up. 

Laurel: Folks can type of actually visualize what you take note of. The 3DEXPERIENCE Lab does two issues. One, it creates a means for an enterprise to construct a whole product as a 3D imaginative and prescient, incorporating suggestions from the analysis lab, the manufacturing facility ground, and the client. So, all of the stakeholders can work in a single atmosphere. May you give us an instance of that and the way that works? 

FrédéricIn a single atmosphere within the cloud they’ll begin with utilizing some apps, possibly from CATIA or SolidWorks. They’ll do the engineering a part of the job on the identical knowledge mannequin they would use to carry out their very own simulations. Any sort of digital simulation that will assist these guys to announce the engineering and the design of their product. By that, they’ll optimize the design after which go to the manufacturing facet, delivering all of the processes wanted as much as programming the machines. However that’s, I might say, the usual method to function.  

Now for this platform, you’ve got entry additionally to providers for market. This is especially fascinating for early-stage startups as they battle to seek out the correct companion or the correct provider to fabricate one thing. Right here, at one click on of a button, they’ll supply parts from tens of millions of parts which might be out there by certified suppliers on-line. Simply drag and drop the element into the undertaking. 

They’ll entry to 1000’s of factories worldwide, whereby, they’ll be capable to produce their elements for these factories, managing all of the enterprise on-line between the 2 suppliers. After which, they might additionally have entry to engineering providers, the place if you need to do one thing, however you don’t have the abilities to do it, you then contract the job to a service bureau or certified companions that would ship the job. So, it’s not solely software program, it’s not solely cloud, nevertheless it’s additionally a group of individuals’s expertise and providers out there for the market. 

Laurel: And it truly is a platform, proper? To immediately supply providers and innovation from one firm to a different, in a means that is very visible and hands-on, so you can truly nearly demo the product before you purchase it since you are on this 3DEXPERIENCE atmosphere. How does that work? With an instance from an organization? Am I pondering of that within the right means? 

FrédéricYou’re right. The whole digital undertaking is finished on the platform earlier than the true product is produced. You need to develop a brand new automobile or a brand new desk or a brand new chair or new lamp, you design every part in 3D. You simulate to make it sturdy and you then do the engineering to ensure that the manufacturing could be advantageous primarily based in your manufacturing capacities or companions. And, you go one step additional on that, then you’ll be able to actually produce the advertising and marketing operations, produce the promoting, the prime quality photos you want on your flyers, even the expertise from the video to document the commercials. So, the digital property that are carried out already in the beginning of the undertaking, to engineer a brand new product, are now used not just for manufacturing, but additionally for communication, advertising and marketing, coaching, and so forth. That signifies that these individuals in your advertising and marketing division can do the job in parallel and carry out all their deliverables, even when the product, the bodily product, just isn’t there but. 

Laurel: How do corporations really feel about sharing a few of this mental property forward of time earlier than the product is even developed? It’s essential to must have very particular philosophies and outlooks to need to do that, proper? 

FrédéricYeah. The IP is essential for us and clearly for our shoppers. We ship to every shopper a devoted platform in order that they’re in a 100% safe community atmosphere. That is true for the large guys like Boeing, Airbus within the aerospace business or BMW, Tesla within the auto business. But it surely’s additionally true for smaller startups like we’re speaking about with this innovation lab. 

Laurel: The system actually does convey collectively an monumental quantity of sophisticated points, together with cybersecurity, in addition to processing energy, knowledge science, synthetic intelligence, but additionally that human intelligence. How does Dassault outline collective intelligence? Why is that so essential as a philosophy? 

FrédéricIt’s key. Behind any undertaking, behind any corporations, you’ve got individuals, proper? That is why on this platform, on the baseline providers, you’ve got all these providers to allow individuals to collaborate, not solely to handle their undertaking with sequences, with milestones, with process administration and so forth like all company would do, however now in a really agile means for communities. To attach individuals, to assist individuals, to work higher collectively to match expertise and desires. This can be a new method, clearly this method is new for professionals, however these providers have been introduced by social networks to the common public a few years in the past, however we utilized these providers to revolutionary processes onto engineering processes inside an organization. 

Laurel: You talked about expertise, and I believe an fascinating place to type of take a look at it for a bit, is how do individuals switch data? And is that this atmosphere conducive to coaching and serving to maybe one group train the opposite group learn how to carry out fundamental duties or perceive a product higher? Are you seeing that when corporations work with the platform, they truly convey in everybody, together with advertising and marketing? So, everybody can have a significantly better understanding of your entire product? 

FrédéricUndoubtedly. First, we share a frequent referential. So, there isn’t a loss in e-mail change, in knowledge change, and so forth. Everybody’s work round a digital twin of the undertaking is correct and up-to-date. Second, this platform allows you to capitalize data and know-how and it’s crucial, particularly when seniors are retiring, to switch the data to new generations. We’ve seen previously, particularly within the aerospace business, many fellows, who have left their firm have to return again to the corporate as a result of they are seen as crucial within the course of with their data. Such a platform now permits corporations to maintain the data inside and to switch the data from one era to a different. 

Laurel: So that concept of collective intelligence actually does unfold all through a whole enterprise. The lab does tackle numerous themes, together with healthcare. May you speak about a number of of these concepts? 

FrédéricYeah. With the lab, as I mentioned, we have now major standards to choose a undertaking: a powerful, optimistic influence to society and a disruptive undertaking that calls for collective intelligence. We’re very selective as we actually need to suppose huge. We need to speed up about 10 tasks a 12 months on a world standpoint. We closely use knowledge intelligence and our instruments to scan and to scroll by all information on the internet, new VCs, the founding a new startup, [all of this is done] to be able to perceive the weak alerts, the brand new developments, and find a way to establish these newer innovators. We use the identical platform to orchestrate this ideation course of. Having a small thought, nurturing and qualifying the thought, as much as validating this thought coming from the startups with the group—the lab group, which is ready to problem the undertaking to present their insights, their strategies, after which vote. 

On each quarter, a new batch of startups are presenting their tasks. They’re pitching utilizing the platform. Having as a document, all of these discussions on the undertaking from a number of, you recognize mentors’ expertise giving their opinion, the committee’s voting contains our CEO himself, with a few members of the boards validating the undertaking primarily based on all these discussions. So it’s a really versatile course of. A really fast course of, contemplating we have now an enormous firm. In lower than a number of months we are able to orchestrate a fully new undertaking.  

It’s a whole reverse method than constructing a PowerPoint doc to validate a undertaking. It is a very cool innovation with inclusive methodology the place each volunteer, each individual, who desires to contribute are welcome to. And clearly when validated, the startups get free entry to our software program, to these mentors which might be recruited. Like, you recognize, on courting apps, however we’re doing matching between mentors which have experience and expertise with wants requested by these startups or on tasks. 

Laurel: That’s fairly a profit for a startup for individuals be matched with mentors and different innovators of their specific area. However to have Dassault’s CEO so intimately concerned in these processes? That’s actually fairly astounding. 

FrédéricIt’s big. Even when the startup just isn’t chosen, we’re engaged on the undertaking, we’re difficult the undertaking with consultants. Our CEO himself is difficult the undertaking. It is already essential info for these guys and a big worth. To reply your query concerning the themes, we have now three major themes that drives our sourcing: life, metropolis infrastructure, and way of life well-being. As I mentioned, what we would like is to positively influence the society. We consider that the one progress is human. So these themes, as you understood, are pushed into a greater world. 

Laurel: What’s an instance of one among these startups which have come to you, what are they engaged on? 

FrédéricWe’ve an enormous number of tasks. We’ve superb tasks that, as an illustration, that are performing organ 3D printing with patient-specific geometry reconstruction to be able to create a digital twin of a affected person. That is to be able to have a simulator for the surgeons who would use it to coach earlier than the true surgical procedure within the working room. It was one of many first startups, BioModex, a French startup. We accelerated in the beginning of the lab. They began at two individuals and are now at 50 they usually began in Paris. They have now additionally settled in Boston to attach with the life science group. And it’s big in case you take a look at it, particularly for neurosurgery, in some advanced case, the surgeon can practice by yourself digital twin earlier than the true surgical procedure. So, it reduces threat with increased effectivity. 

One other instance is about mobility on drones. We’re serving to younger startups which might be engaged on a photo voltaic autonomous drone. You keep in mind, there may be a story about photo voltaic impulse with Bertrand Piccard, a pioneer who did a world tour with a airplane powered by the solar. The restrict of this undertaking was the pilot, since you can’t keep too lengthy, not consuming, not consuming. I believe a drone disrupts fully the idea. This photo voltaic autonomous drone is because of carry out and function missions, like forest fireplace detection. So, if a drone can keep on the radar of any fires early within the course of, it could assist controlling borders or coasts or pipeline monitoring. We are engaged on it for the previous three years. Final summer season, they did their first take a look at flight–12 hours powered by the solar doing 600 kilometers. So, the primary flight was successful and there may be lot of potential in this undertaking. It is known as a drone, nevertheless it’s extra like a airplane with two wings.  

The third one is a US-based firm SparkCharge. They’re creating moveable, ultra-fast charging models for electrical automobiles. Two weeks in the past, they have been on Shark Tank on ABC they usually received. They received funded by Mark Cuban. It’s an enormous success. 

Laurel: We must always take a minute to outline digital twin. A digital twin is a replica of a system that may be manipulated to experiment with completely different outcomes. Type of like making a photocopy to protect the unique, however to have the ability to write on or make adjustments to the copy. On this case, having a digital twin for a medical process helps the surgeon stroll by what she goes to do earlier than she does it on a stay affected person.  

And the second thought of a photo voltaic autonomous drone/airplane, actually, as a result of it’s not a small drone that we consider, it is a very giant one with photo voltaic panels on it. With the ability to autonomously fly for hours on finish to survey forest fires and even oil pipelines, any type of lengthy flight capability – that basically does sound like the longer term to me. Do you ever simply pinch your self and say, “I can’t consider these are a few of the superb tasks individuals are coming to us with?”

FrédéricYeah, the longer term is now. This 3D printed organ is in manufacturing and it’s already being used. The photo voltaic autonomous drone made its first flight, and we anticipate a number of flights subsequent 12 months. Issues are accelerating for the nice. 

Laurel: And talking of probably the most essential issues that we’re coping with right here in 2020 is the covid-19 pandemic. Dassault Systèmes had a direct response, as many corporations are working very carefully with attempting to work on options to the virus. So, what’s the Open Covid-19 undertaking and the way’s Dassault serving to? 

FrédéricAs I mentioned earlier, the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab has had two type of tasks: a really collective and collaborative undertaking round a startup or a whole group undertaking with particular wants. We did that as an illustration, to reconstruct Leonardo da Vinci’s machines in 3D. We created a web based group, shared the gathering—all these manuscripts that have been the draftings of Leonardo at the moment—to engineers. We’re utilizing our software program, or any 3D software program, to design and engineer these machines and it labored fairly nicely. It began eight years in the past, and it’s nonetheless going. Many machines have been reconstructed and now they’re forming a playground of many machines. A few of them labored and a few of them didn’t. At the moment, he invented so many issues, however clearly not every part was going to work. We did the identical for the covid-19 scenario. 

When the pandemic began, it was in China, and our colleagues have been reporting the problems to us. We noticed the pandemic coming into Europe from Italy first, after which in France. So, we determined to first work with our knowledge intelligence to grasp the wants by growing dashboards to scan what individuals have been saying. And really rapidly we recognized two major wants: ventilators and safety. They have been the focus of issues. 

So we created an open group, Open Covid-19, to welcome any volunteer makers, engineers and designers, to assist, as a result of we noticed at the moment that many individuals have been attempting to do issues, however on their very own, of their lab, of their nation. They have been all going through the identical points, and by working collectively, we thought it may be an fascinating method to speed up, to switch the know-how, to keep away from any errors carried out already. 

For this group, we accelerated greater than 150 tasks on the world standpoint. With round 25 ventilators in India, a startup known as Inali did a whole engineering simulation and prototyping of a brand new ventilator in eight days. As soon as once more due to the cloud and the mentoring.

For collaborative tasks with business, it was the case in Brazil and Mexico. To make these tasks you’ve got makers within the fab lab, attempting to do some frugal innovation with what they’ve. A few of these tasks have been licensed, as an illustration, from when we labored with the Fab Basis from MIT’s Middle for Bits and Atoms (CBA). They’re gathering, with this basis, all fab labs world wide to attach native manufacturing. It was primarily the case for defense, for PPE and for face shields, in order that they might 3D print these face shields. And we have been ready to do some knowledge and GPS localization of these fab labs in hospitals. I believe urgency dictates to attach them regionally so that you could join to a native manufacturing. A fab lab may develop on design and fabricate PPE for the healthcare staff shut by. 

Laurel: And a kind of tasks that clearly received quite a lot of curiosity, is the best way that sneeze particles are unfold. And with covid-19, everybody could be very focused on understanding how aerosol particles transfer by the air. 

FrédéricYeah, that’s true. We developed a sneeze simulation mannequin from the entrance of a individual to mannequin digital particles to see the scientific simulation of the human sneeze to judge how pathogens, such as covid, would unfold. And we did this simulation mannequin with MIT’s CBA with Neil Gershenfeld to first announce the design of the PPE, private protecting gear, the face defend design. And to see from two digital individuals in entrance of them, one- or two-meters distance the place one is sneezing. What’s influence on how these particles would unfold from one individual to the opposite, to optimize the design? We in a short time understood, as an illustration, that these face shields want a prime cowl since the particles are dropping down and infecting the different individual. 

Laurel: So how do you see synthetic intelligence augmenting human intelligence? 

FrédéricAI, for many individuals, AI is deep studying. It’s machine studying laptop imaginative and prescient, or knowledge science–all people is doing it. For us, synthetic intelligence additionally results in generative designs, as an illustration. The algorithm creates a form that meets your design intent, your constraints. So, the designer is not sketching the form he desires, he’s offering the constraints. The necessities on the algorithm is proposing a design form that meets these intents. It reverses fully the best way the designers carry out the perform due to the substitute intelligence. 

We spoke about human, augmented human by leveraging the digital twin. Your digital me, in a means, of your physique, of your organs. We’ve this collaborative undertaking known as Dwelling Coronary heart pushed by our American colleagues to revolutionize, the cardiovascular science by life like simulations. This analysis undertaking delivered a coronary heart mannequin to discover novel digital therapies. And from this mannequin, we accelerated a brand new startup, a Belgium firm known as FEops that now can supply the primary and the one affected person particular simulation mannequin for structural coronary heart intervention with AI, which is able to predict the perfect TAVI [those valve implants] that the surgeon would wish for matching accurately his affected person’s anatomy. 

Laurel: So, the simulation actually does come out of the cloud, and out of the pc to actual life. And, in a fast means that helps individuals on a day-to-day foundation, which is actually incredible. It isn’t one thing that simply lingers round for approval. You may make adjustments, see the impact, after which transfer on to see what else you are able to do to enhance conditions.  

The face defend undertaking can also be a kind of that is so crucial. Bringing within the makers, as you mentioned, so many people wished to become involved, and nonetheless are from world wide, and serving to out in their very own means. So, this concept of bringing in beginner makers, in addition to startups, in addition to these professionals, in addition to enterprises, all working collectively to actually fight a worldwide pandemic is absolutely fairly one thing else. This exhibits me that Dassault actually does have an innovator’s mindset in terms of science, in terms of serving to humanity. How else are you seeing the successes of the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab kind of ripple all through the Dassault? 

FrédéricAt Dassault Systèmes sure, we’re all innovators in a means. That’s why, after I established this 3D lab initiative 5 years in the past, I made a decision not to create a brand new group with the boss that might carry out innovation. I used to be prepared to have an inclusive administration system. We determined to enable any of our 20,000 staff to take as much as 10% of their time to volunteer on innovation accelerated by the lab. And convey their laborious expertise and their know-how data.  

And once more, that is attainable due to this platform. So we invented, in a means, a brand new administration group with communities, fully throughout silos, throughout divisions, in order that anybody may be a part of a undertaking for few hours, a number of days or a number of weeks to be able to work on it. It was actually a brand new governance for open innovation, with new administration methodologies that impacted not solely the individual, or the workers, but additionally our personal platform on options. We work carefully with our R&D to boost a few or to develop new purposes, to maintain new methodologies on course of. 

Laurel: And do different corporations come to Dassault to ask, “how did you do that?” You’re a big company, with world workplaces, and also you’ve been round for a very long time. You most likely have very particular methods of pondering. How did you handle in 5 years to turn into this revolutionary firm, they have to need to be taught from you? 

FrédéricThat’s true. I do not know in the event that they need to be taught from us, however at least get inspiration from us. What we do is we are all the time coaching forward of our time. Pondering of new methods of working on the lab. We experimented with new utilization, due to the cloud. We succeeded as a result of now it actually works with 20,000 individuals in operation with deliverables and KPIs. Our level is absolutely to encourage them and to point out them what is feasible and what we are able to do to rework ourselves. It is also digital transformation for Dassault Systèmes with these staff to ensure that them to suppose the way it may additionally influence them, how they’ll additionally remodel their administration system and their corporations. 

Laurel: That’s wonderful. What an ideal method to finish at the moment’s interview. Thanks a lot for becoming a member of us. 

Frédéric: Thanks, Laurel. 

Laurel: That was Frédéric Vacher, the Head of Innovation at Dassault Systèmes, who I spoke with from Cambridge, Massachusetts, the house of MIT and MIT Know-how Assessment overlooking the Charles River. 

That’s it for this episode of Enterprise Lab. I’m your host, Laurel Ruma. I’m the director of Insights, the customized publishing division of MIT Know-how Assessment. We have been based in 1899 on the Massachusetts Institute of Know-how. And yow will discover us in print, on the internet, and at dozens of occasions annually world wide and on-line. 

For extra details about us and the present, please try our web site at technologyreview.com. This present is obtainable wherever you get your podcasts. If you happen to loved this episode, we hope you’ll take a second to charge and overview us. Enterprise Lab is a manufacturing of MIT Know-how Assessment. This episode was produced by Collective Subsequent. Thanks for listening. 



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