Artificial Intelligence is becoming more than a trendy phrase or far-out concept. The reality is that it’s being used now on projects every day. For example, Chatbots (which are automated texting software programs) are predicted to take over a large amount of personal assistant and customer service positions this year alone – saving companies over $79 million in salary expenditures!
This has caused fear in many business sectors, including the construction industry. Overall, we here at Madden believe that it will enhance our projects more than it will hurt the demand for jobs, at least in the near future. In the construction industry, AI is being used in a variety of ways and benefits for the employer, including safer practices, improved workflow, and faster project completion. Here are a few areas you might see AI in action soon:
Project Management & Planning
AI tools could be used to survey and gather information on a potential construction site in order to make maps or blueprints – or even pull past projects from the same site – so managers can make important decisions and plans for a project. Or, in another example, if an employee is sick, they might input their sick day into an application… which could be followed by AI managing the situation by finding and placing their replacement automatically.
Technology such as AI may be used to evaluate sites or job duties to determine whether they are safe for workers. Or, in some cases, AI may actually complete the jobs when they are too dangerous to perform. For example, there was a recent e-glove in research that showed when job conditions were likely to cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Another program has been used to determine whether worksites are practicing safety standards, based on the AI learning from thousands of photos of ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’ sites, and can point out specific things that need to be improved to make them less hazardous.
Autonomous Construction Equipment
Self-driving front loaders and dump trucks are already in production, and will certainly aid with both safety and efficiency on a project. Bulldozers, excavators, and graders will likely be a common sight soon. Operating a large construction vehicle is often boring monotonous work for the craftsman, with room for dangerous mistakes if they’re not focused and alert. Self-driving vehicles are designed to be accurate to the centimeter, but at this point they’re intended to work only for confined areas that don’t have pedestrians or bicyclists.
In the long run, AI may change the landscape of what skills employers are hiring for, but they’ll still need humans to supervise and keep a project running smooth to completion. If you’re looking to expand your staff to keep things on task for your next project, call us at Madden and we can help you find talented craftsmen to match your job opening.