I have no doubt that this is how we will design buildings in the future. I don't know when this will become mainstream so I have allowed myself some leeway and just say it will be from 20**.
It is very easy to see this as some kind of existentialist threat to our work. I don't believe so. It will just change the way we work, eventually. First there will be front-runners (clients, designers, contractors) and lots of reluctance. There will be those who see this as a threat, and those who see this as an opportunity. Those who will convince clients, those who will just start to use it.
We are already starting to use a similar approach in building physics, in how we create and analyse the thermal and environmental design and performance of buildings through thermal modelling by running thousands of models to optimise design based on a number of design parameters.
Computers may provide answers and a number of potential 'optimum' scenarios but the key will remain in knowing which are the critical questions that need that type of answer, what the client and building users want (and need), and review the final options to identify the factors (some objective, some subjective) that make an 'optimum' solution better than another 'optimum' solution.
Let's get excited about the new opportunities ahead this will bring in the future, which may not just be around the corner but possibly just a couple of blocks away!
“This is a process that allows us to create designs that wouldn’t have been possible by a human along, and wouldn’t have been possible by a computer alone,” Mr Benjamin says. “It’s this human-computer collaboration that’s so exciting and allows us to enhance our creativity as designers and go beyond some typical rules of thumb. I think it suggests this new world of possibilities for design outcomes.”