Artificial intelligence is well over 60 years old. What started as the brainchild developed by a young Alan Turing has since become a part of our everyday lives. While it remains tempting to think of AI as some potential future technology, the reality is that AI has overtaken many industries from your Facebook Feed to the cars we drive. The construction industry has some obvious applications for artificial intelligence which continue to develop over time. As real estate investors become more and more tech savvy, the need for predictive AI in the construction industry will only grow moving forward.
Today, we will define predictive artificial intelligence and discuss how this technology can be used within the construction industry to increase jobsite productivity, schedule projects efficiently, develop 3D models, control costs, and much more.
What is Predictive Artificial Intelligence (AI)?
To understand predictive artificial intelligence, we should first learn the definitions of a few key terms.
- Artificial intelligence is any application of computer science which simulates intelligent behavior. Any machine which can imitate, emulate, or simulate an intelligent action based on any set of input may be considered a piece of artificial intelligence.
- Machine learning is a subset of AI which involves the machine/program learning and adapting based on a series of inputs. In other words, machine learning must involve the artificial intelligence program being able to reprogram itself and/or change its behavior over time.
- Predictive artificial intelligence is a type of artificial intelligence that uses inputs and algorithms to likelihoods and makes intelligent decisions regarding efficiencies. Predictive AI may or may not include the concepts of machine learning.
Most predictive AI does not include machine learning, but advanced systems can certainly use the technology. This is an important distinction, as many of us think of artificial intelligence and machine learning as being synonymous. In reality, any software program which is able to intelligently predict potential outcomes can be considered predictive AI.
Predictive AI Uses Algorithms to Help Produce 3D Models
While designers, architects, and engineers still hold the reigns, predictive artificial intelligence programs help these professionals to develop 3D models which avoid common design flaws such as plumbing oversights, electrical issues, and mechanical problems. Designers can work within 3D model programs to design construction projects and are notified by the predictive AI when something is off.
A unique advantage of this technology is that designers can continue to update the 3D models as the project progresses and is changed in real time. This allows for the predictive AI to remain useful well into construction. As this technology advances, functionalities will likely expand to make functional suggestions even before any design errors are detected.
Predictive AI Mitigates Risk on Construction Sites
Any investor or construction industry veteran knows that there is no such thing as a construction project without risks. Safety concerns, inventory, site conditions, labor shortages, and poor planning can all pose major threats to both the project and the individuals involved. Predictive AI can be used to both monitor and predict ongoing risks ranging from safety concerns to labor shortages. This allows project overseers to focus their time on more important issues as well as keeping them informed on the biggest threats to the current project.
The best part of artificial intelligence for risk mitigation comes from the predictive aspect. Where hoping for the best and preparing for the worst used to be a best case scenario, current predictive AI technology for construction has the ability to prevent injuries and costly accidents from happening in the first place.
Predictive AI for Construction Project Management
Not all predictive AI for construction projects are used to reduce risks. Predictive AI can also be used to more efficiently manage ongoing construction efforts to keep costs low and jobsite productivity high. Machines powered by artificial intelligence have even been developed for repetitive tasks including demolition.
The primary benefit of predictive AI from construction project management comes down to increasing efficiency and through scheduling, labor management, inventory management and other more mundane tasks. This is the “workhorse” side of artificial intelligence: taking in massive amounts of raw data and making well-informed recommendations about what to do next.
Predictive artificial intelligence applications for large construction projects are numerous. The real estate industry on a whole is adopting AI wholesale with no signs of slowing down any time soon. The same technology which predicts whether or not you will want to see a post on your social media timeline will be (or already is being) used to predict what properties might interest investors, renters, buyers, etc. Construction applications such as machine programming, jobsite safety, scheduling, and 3D modeling are already in use today.
It is likely that both “smart” and “dumb” AI will continue to expand within the construction industry, trickling down from mega-construction projects with massive budgets to small scale residential construction. This does not mean that all construction workers will need to go back to school for a computer science degree. Instead, predictive AI looks to be folded into traditional construction practices as just another part of the process.
The future of technology like artificial intelligence and machine learning is unknowable. When it comes to construction, it is nearly certain that predictive AI will drive the industry for many years to come.