Artificial Intelligence (AI) Demystified: Balancing Risks and Rewards | June 2024

As the Board Chair this year, one of my primary goals was to foster more dialogue and resources around technology within our organization. I decided to kick off this initiative by addressing the elephant in the room: Artificial Intelligence (AI).

AI has become popular in our industry, permeating all facets of our daily lives across various sectors. However, amidst this technological wave, many remain uncertain about where they stand, especially regarding AI. Yet, it’s undeniable that AI is gaining momentum and is here to stay. So, it’s prudent for us to engage with it and adapt alongside its evolution.

At its core, AI is the emulation of human intelligence in machines, enabling them to think and act like humans. This encompasses tasks such as learning, reasoning, perception, and natural language processing (NLP). While the concept seems straightforward, its applications are intricate and multifaceted.
One of the most accessible and widely recognized AI tools is ChatGPT. Surprisingly, during a recent gathering of construction executives from the US and Canada, I discovered that many were unfamiliar with it or didn’t utilize it. In the construction industry, ChatGPT and similar AI technologies are being harnessed to enhance efficiency, communication, and decision-making across various domains, including proposal writing, project management, communication, site monitoring, data analysis, training, and more.

• Proposal and Technical Letter Writing
• Project Planning and Management
• Communication and Collaboration
• Construction Site Monitoring and Safety

• Data Analysis and Reporting
• Training and Education
• Quality Control
• Procurement and Supply Chain Management
• Risk Management and Safety
• Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
• Cost Estimation
• Budgeting

Several tools integrated with AI are revolutionizing the construction landscape:
• Project Management: Procore with Document Crunch integration
• Jobsite Documentation Reality Capture:
• Scheduling: ALICE Technologies
• CAD: Fusion 360 by Autodesk
• Estimating: PlanSwift
• Drones: Aerial Prospex / DroneDeploy

However, alongside the benefits, there are risks to consider, including data privacy and security, technical complexities, reliability, accuracy, and ethical and legal concerns. Therefore, it’s imperative to weigh these factors when leveraging AI.

As a seasoned construction executive, I’ve witnessed the industry’s challenges evolve over the years. Labor shortages, material delays, safety and security issues, and the rising concerns of drug usage on jobsites are among the top risks we face. To address these challenges efficiently, technology, particularly AI, has become indispensable. By utilizing AI to analyze vast amounts of data swiftly, we can identify risks in real-time and allocate resources effectively to ensure project success.

For those who haven’t yet embraced AI, the time to do so is now. The rewards of incorporating AI into construction operations are substantial, leading to increased efficiency, cost-effectiveness, safety, and ultimately, improved project quality and profitability.

Looking ahead, there’s much to explore in the realm of technology, especially within the expansive domain of AI. This article serves as a precursor to what lies ahead at ABC Keystone. Our chapter is committed to providing ample information, insights, and training opportunities at the upcoming Tech Summit in October. Guided by ABC National’s VP of Technology and Innovation, Matt Abeles, our aim is to forge strong tech partnerships, offer tailored solutions, and establish a Tech Committee by 2025 to cater to members’ needs and drive innovation through collaborative thinking.