Will AI Replace The Need For Manpower in Construction?

Artificial intelligence is now practically dominating every industry in the world. Almost every industry uses AI for various tasks such as process automation, predictive maintenance, target marketing, etc. The construction industry is no different. AI is slowly but surely making its presence felt in the construction industry.

Here’s what you need to know about AI and how it can affect your construction firm.

The Origins of AI

The history of AI can be traced back to the 1950s when Alan Turing published a paper proposing the Turing Test. The Turing Test is a measure of artificial intelligence, which tests whether a computer program can fool a human into thinking it is also human. This test has been the basis for many subsequent AI research programs.

In the 1960s, John McCarthy coined the term “artificial intelligence” and organized the first AI conference at Dartmouth College. Some of the most prominent minds attended this conference in AI, including Marvin Minsky and Claude Shannon.

The 1970s saw the development of expert systems and computer programs that can learn from experience and make decisions based on knowledge. For example, in 1979, an expert system called MYCIN successfully diagnosed blood infections and saved many lives.

Eventually, these systems started to improve and even spread to other industries. One industry receiving a healthy dose of AI tech is the construction industry.

Many experts believe that AI can partially solve the ongoing manpower problem in the industry. Here are ways it can do that.

A woman helping an engineer with construction tasks

Task Automation

Task automation is one of the key ways that people can use AI in the construction industry. Construction firms are using AI to automate designing and constructing buildings.

This process begins with the design phase. AI programs can create designs for buildings that are much more efficient and accurate than those made by humans. They can also develop plans tailored to a customer’s specific needs.

Once the design is complete, the AI program will pass it on to a human worker who will construct the building. This worker will use the AI-generated plans to build the structure according to the specifications provided by the customer.

This process dramatically reduces the need for manpower in construction. As a result, not only are there fewer workers needed to design and construct a building, but the workers who are still needed can work more efficiently and accurately.

However, this is still all in theory. Currently, AI can’t build a stable enough model for a building and still requires much more help from human engineers. But it can now design rooms and handle the simple parts of the task.

Predictive Maintenance

Another way that AI can be used in construction is predictive maintenance. Predictive maintenance uses data to predict when a machine or system will need to be repaired or replaced.

It’s important in construction because it can help avoid construction delays due to equipment failures. It can also help reduce the number of workers needed to maintain construction equipment.

To do this, AI programs collect data from sensors placed on construction equipment. The data is then analyzed to identify patterns that indicate when a machine is likely to fail.

When a machine is predicted to fail, the program can send a human worker to repair or replace it before it fails. This prevents construction delays and reduces the need for manpower.

What AI Can’t Do

Above are just two examples of what AI can do in construction, and it seems that with those two, AI can be impossible to stuff. Soon enough, they can build entire societies with human interference, but that’s still pretty much into the future.

Currently, AI can do mundane tasks such as creating simple designs and handling simple construction tasks. But it still can’t do more complex tasks such as constructing a building.

Moreover, specific engineering jobs can’t be replaced by AI, probably not even into the future. Field service engineering is one such job. This job requires a lot of expertise in fixing equipment and maintenance. Some AI might be able to handle simple fixes, but never the complicated ones.

Another job that AI probably won’t be able to replace is that of a project manager. Project managers are responsible for coordinating the construction process and ensuring that everything goes according to plan. AI might handle some of the coordination, but it will never be able to do it as well as a human.

It’s because AI programs cannot deal with unexpected problems. They cannot also understand and manage the emotions of human workers.

So, in conclusion, AI can do a lot to help with the construction industry’s manpower problem. But it still has a long way to go before it can completely replace human workers. Hopefully, in the future, humans and AI can work hand-in-hand to improve construction projects for the better.

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