Artificial Intelligence in Construction

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August, 2018

Technology has drastically changed just about every industry, especially within the past couple decades. The construction industry is no exception to the recent technological boom. However, construction companies aren’t just limiting themselves to basic technologically advanced machines or even drones. Teams are using extremely high quality artificial intelligence (AI) for planning, administrative purposes, construction methodology, and much more. We at J-Tech are excited this sudden usage of AI and what it means for construction. This week, we’re getting to get to the bottom of how and why the tech is being used.

artificial intelligence brain

Wait, what’s artificial intelligence?

In layman’s terms, artificial intelligence is a field of science that produces computers to perform tasks that would normally require human-level intelligence. This means that computers can not only make their own decisions, but also gather data and analyze outcomes to help make better decisions in the future. Essentially, exactly what the human mind executes. There have been many scientific opinions on the development of AI, ranging from outstanding optimism to unrealistic and exaggerated fear that sentient robots might take over the world. While robot overlords most likely won’t be commandeering the planet in the foreseeable future, it’s important to understand the appropriate way to use AI in each industry in order to reap the most benefits.

With AI, there are two different ways machines can gain intelligence:

Machine learning

Machine learning is a subsection of AI, which is explicitly programmed but not controlled. For example, we all get those pesky spam emails. With AI, you would create an algorithm and manually mark a few of those spam emails. Overtime, the program would study the emails you marked, seeking out patterns or similarities between other emails to begin automatically marking them as spam without you needing to program anything extra. Essentially, the computer compares similar data in order to learn how to make appropriate decisions in the future.

Deep learning

Deep learning is just that, going deeper than simply studying patterns in one specific field (e.g. spam emails). Data is compared to both different and similar data, which is then learned, just like machine learning. Once the data is collected and briefly compared, it is run through neural networks which use binary true/false questions to help gather and categorize information. As these categories and data sets become more comprehensive, computers are able to make more sophisticated decisions based on their knowledge.

The different uses of AI in construction

Now that you understand what AI is and the two main ways data can be collected and analyzed, let’s talk a more about the different roles in construction that can benefit from the use of artificial intelligence.

Designers

There are various AI design tools for the creative minds of the construction industry. Sometimes generating different blueprints or renovation plans can be daunting, but by plugging in some simple data, designers can have multiple options laid out for them in a matter of seconds.

Estimators

By using machine learning, estimators can compare new and old projects faster. The machine can use its complex data library to recall previous projects and their estimated costs. This can help decrease turnaround times, allowing professionals to increase their amount of clients.

Safety managers

Safety managers keep a watchful eye to make sure that safety precautions are being followed, but aren’t always able to be present on the jobsite. With AI cameras, the tech won’t just record the work site, it can analyze the actions being taken and report to the manager if it picks up on unsafe workplace behaviors at a job site.

Project managers

Trying to keep a project on time can make project managers want to rip their hair out. Using drones is a great way to observe the jobsite, but not a great way to quickly analyze the timeline. AI can not only record the jobsite and the progress made, it can analyze it and create reports estimating a timeline of how much longer a job will take based on the rate at which it is progressing.

On the jobsite

Artificial intelligence can be a second pair of eyes when working on projects. AI can take on important tasks like providing insight on the current integrity of the construction or shutting off machines within milliseconds of dangerous activity happening. The technology can help make working in construction not only safer and faster, but easier as well.

hallway full of supercomputers

So, are the machines taking over the world?

Here at J-Tech, we’re excited about new technology that can help progress the construction industry into the 21st century. We understand change can be scary, but value any way to provide a more efficient and safer experience to both our teams and clients. How do you feel about the booming AI industry in construction? Are you excited to work side by side with these machines, or are you preparing for the robot apocalypse? If you have questions about how the team at J-Tech can help with your residential or commercial construction project, call us today for an estimate!

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