AI and The Future of Construction Jobs
AI has seen increased involvement in the construction industry, potentially impacting construction jobs if the future of AI overruns the need for human workers.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) was first properly researched in the 1950s and 60s. It was founded as an academic discipline in 1956. This was also when it was given its name. Before this point, many had researched the possibility of machine learning and thinking, but it wasn’t until this point in 1956 when many say AI was ‘born’.
Since then, AI has developed rapidly. In Japan, they started creating robots, and they actually created the first full-size humanoid robot. We now have things such as google home and Alexa, which are AI, virtual assistants. They can listen to what we say and find the information that is needed. We can expect these to get even better by adapting the responses that they can make.
AI is not only used for things such as cars, mathematics and to aid in our day to day lives as assistants. It is also emerging in the construction industry. The potential for AI in the construction industry is high, and in many large construction projects, they are already using some artificial intelligence to help procedures. Let us take a further look into what kinds of AI are being used, and why they could affect construction jobs.
What Influence Has AI Had in Construction So Far?
Influences in Planning
AI has been used to help with construction project planning. One example of this is using machine learning in BIM and scheduling software. This software can automatically detect if delays were to occur, and catch many of the issues in planning and designing that humans would miss – or take longer to notice. There is also software that will detect the best ways to construct a building, based on previous data.
This machine-learning type of approach means that the workload on designers and others in construction jobs is reduced. One of these software options was developed by a company called ALICE. They created software that could quickly reschedule a project simply by asking ‘what if’ questions. For example, perhaps there is known to be a day when the team will be out of action. Well, the software will analyse a solution and find the best solution to any issues there may be.
All of these solutions can generate schedules, and determine solutions to problems, much faster than humans can.
Health and Safety Solutions
AI has also seen to be used to aid with better health and safety of workers on site. Drones have been used and other video devices to detect dangerous activity on site and ensure that everyone is kept safe throughout the site. This process, if used on a larger scale and on more construction sites, could help us with avoiding injuries, and even saving lives. AI could be capable of learning what unsafe behaviour is and alerting site supervisors.
Building Surveys and Maintainance Inspections
Drones can also be used for building surveying, to detect the condition of the property. This saves money and time due to not needing a building surveyor to investigate the whole site. It also ensures a safer working environment as workers will not have to use ladders etc. However, the need for fewer construction jobs may lead to drastic unemployment, which we will talk more on soon.
Vehicles are also being created that will do the building work for us. One of the companies creating these is Built Robotics. They have made the autonomous dozer, excavator, and CLT. All of these robots drive themselves and can be programmed to undertake specific construction tasks. They are said to reduce risks, and perform to the highest accuracy, with sensors to stop when something is in the way. These vehicles are perhaps some of the biggest threat to construction jobs because they quite literally do the work for you. With only a couple of supervisors, rather than many construction workers operating the machinery, construction jobs could be cut drastically.
What Does This Mean For Construction Jobs?
So we have discussed what AI has been doing in the world of construction. It’s now time to discuss what this means for construction jobs. Could this mean the end to needing workers on construction sites? Could all of our hard-working construction professionals be put out of a job? Well, these are concerns that are in circulation.
However, it is more likely for robots to be used for tasks that can be easily automated. It is less likely to be used for those jobs which require human interactions. Many of those who create these AI solutions state that they are not there to replace humans – but rather help them. The aim is not to replace perfectly capable and highly experienced construction workers, not to mention that many robots are not capable of doing some tasks.
Humans are always going to be needed on a construction site. This is partially because there will always need to be supervision. Furthermore, you will need to set up the robots and ensure they are working correctly.
For those of you that are worried about the future of construction jobs, maybe there is less to worry about when you think that their purpose is primarily to make construction processes easier, more accurate and less likely to have human errors. Robots can also make construction projects run quicker. This is because robots could work into the night and won’t need rests as a human does. This gives those in construction jobs the time to do more advanced elements of the build and creating innovative new ideas.
Now is actually a really great time to get into the construction industry, especially if you like AI too. You may have a part to play in implementing new AI solutions to help construction projects be the best they can.