AI Making In-Roads into Construction

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Rob Wells

In an industry that is traditionally resistant to technological changes, it may be surprising to learn that the construction industry is forecasted to spend $4 billion in artificial intelligence by 2026. While Power Tools has covered many stories of robots on the job site, this artificial intelligence is expected to come in the form of planning and forecasting software.

Planning for construction tends to be a very labor-intensive process, but now that AI can do a deep dive into historical productivity and performance data—something that is far too crunchy for a typical excel spreadsheet—new steps can be taken toward understanding detailed nuances to how a jobsite operates.

When asked about whether artificial intelligence is intended to replace human intelligence, Dr. Dan Patterson of InEight, said “HI and AI are equally important. Think of AI as the calibrating engine – it helps adjust a project plan or schedule in accordance with what has been achievable historically. While useful, shouldn’t there be a mechanism for doing a validation on this?

“This is exactly where HI comes into play. Having multiple stakeholders, such as discipline leads or field personnel, actually validate and buy into what has been established in the schedule is key. Without this, the schedule is little more than the planner’s best guess. With such buy-in, though, you have a much higher overall degree of certainty and realism in the schedule. The greater the certainty, the greater the chance of on-time delivery.

“So, AI will never replace the human factor. In fact, I believe it shouldn’t be called ‘artificial’ Intelligence, but rather, ‘augmented’ intelligence. AI assists in the project planning process – it doesn’t replace it.”

To read more about artificial intelligence in planning and forecasting, read ConstructionDive.

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