Numerous science fiction movies depict the colonization of other planets. But in these whimsical scenarios, they seldom address the question of how to transport heavy building materials via rockets and spaceships to Jupiter or Mars.

Well as per usual, NASA has the solution. The agency’s Swamp Works Innovation Lab is—through the magic of 3D printing—finding ways to construct buildings with the aid of natural resources discovered on the host planet, as combined with lighter weight and totally recycled materials. As hard as it is to believe, scientists can combine plastic waste with interplanetary rocks to form the foundations of sidewalks, buildings, streets and sidewalks.

In addition and along the same lines, major car companies use generative design to redesign car seat brackets in a way that makes them both lighter and stronger—consolidating multiple 3D components into a solitary part.

This improved, more efficient mode of manufacturing is a major issue in Australia, where the Australian manufacturing sector contributed more than $100 billion toward the national economy—that is nearly 6 percent of the gross domestic product. This industry employed more than 850,000 Australians between November and February. The manufacturing sector continually produces goods of a high quality, remaining competitive with each other and with other plants across the globe. Here we don’t have to wait for the production and trade of overseas products.

This does not mean that all is well with the Australian manufacturing world. Manufacturing output was reduced more than 11 percent last year, costing 150,000 jobs in the process.

How can Australia pull ahead further in the global marketplace? The answer lies in technology; more specifically, in advanced modes of technical advancement that include robotics, artificial intelligence, connected data and generated design.

By way of generative design, software creates design alternatives with the use of input from human designers and engineers—people who can offer solid advice in respect to materials, objectives, manufacturing methods, and budgetary limits. Engineers can establish parameters in regards to strength, mass and connectivity. Hundreds of design options can be generated based on these specs, with new, 3D based design resulting.

This mode of technology involves the flawless marriage of form and function, with human bias eliminated and so many possibilities illuminated. Greater control over the creative process can be gained, with faster and better results.

AI and robots also will play a role, as more intelligent robots can play a greater role in manufacturing processes. They can work night and day and exert full control over these production efforts. And humans will still be needed to make major decisions.

Data sharing and efficient information flow are also important, as nations come together to collaborate on the manufacturing of a better world.