It’s only a question of when over the next decade that artificial intelligence will begin to transform the construction industry, with widespread adoption expected to begin this year. But experts say builders will have to learn to harness the vast quantity of data they generate to take full advantage of AI’s superior abilities in modeling, detecting patterns and other optimizations.
With its ability to learn, solve problems and recognize patterns at a velocity and scale no human will ever match, artificial intelligence is poised to reshape how buildings are designed, built and operated — and 2023 will be the year it takes hold.
“Artificial intelligence will transform our industry in the next 10 years more than any other technology in the past 100 years,” said James Barrett, chief innovation officer for Turner Construction, the nation’s largest contractor. “It’s going to be huge because it has such broad application in so many cases. It’s not a question of if. It’s a question of when.”
Combining the power of intelligent machines with human ingenuity, AI is the digital brain that makes industry-changing technologies such as robotics, blockchain and 3D printing possible. With its superpowers in modeling and pattern detection as well as prediction and optimization, AI can reduce expensive errors and worksite injuries; train and eventually replace increasingly scarce workers; enhance sustainability and circularity; design, maintain and operate buildings; and clean up and give transparency to the supply chain.
And just as OpenAI’s headline-grabbing ChatGPT can now deliver AI’s vast knowledge within seconds to anyone who can ask a question, AI can quickly and efficiently solve problems that have plagued construction for centuries, without the need for a department staffed with MIT- and Stanford-educated pros to crack its code. AI is becoming easier to use, opening up to everyone from designers to jobsite crews, Barrett told Construction Dive.
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