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Artificial intelligence will positively impact infrastructure sector

Recent research conducted by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has revealed a positive attitude towards Artificial Intelligence.

More than three quarters of built environment professionals surveyed believe that AI will have a positive impact on the infrastructure sector, however, most believe that it will never fully take over human interaction, dispute management, consenting and project approval.

AI is an important development for most professionals, with as many as 60% of those surveyed believing AI will increase productivity. There are reservations about the development of the technology, with half of those surveyed thinking that that AI could pose a threat to jobs in the sector, although a similar number (48%) believe that AI will lead to new skills and professional opportunities.

The survey was conducted prior to the James Forrest Lecture by Andy Green, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) commissioner, with representatives of the industry asked their views on the development of infrastructure.

Industry professionals then stayed for a workshop where they discussed the development of technology. The discussions concluded that a better understanding of the technology is required for increased acceptance and that piloting may be the answer to demonstrate benefits AI could bring.

Recent research conducted by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has revealed a positive attitude towards Artificial Intelligence.

Tim Broyd, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, said: “Our industry and much of society is only beginning to realise the transformative power of AI.  Now is the time to assess and analyse how we can best take advantage of it, identifying both the challenges and opportunities. The research shows that the government, built environment professionals and the technology sector should work together to build the necessary leadership, governance framework and skills to fully exploit the potential of AI.”

Kyle Clough, Vice-President of Membership at the Institution of Civil Engineers, added: “AI opens the door to new ways of working, with potential to improve performance and efficiency. Much has been made of the looming skills gap we face but the benefits of AI may go some way towards mitigating the problem. By combining the use of AI alongside continued efforts to recruit and train the next generation of engineers, we can future-proof our workforce, the health of the industry and that of the wider economy.”

Andy Green, National Infrastructure Commission commissioner said: “Artificial Intelligence is an integral part of our lives – it’s only right that it should also help boost productivity and improve how we manage our infrastructure.

“Today’s survey findings reveal an industry ready to accept that challenge, and see how this new technology can make a real difference to the sector and to people’s lives.

“We at the National Infrastructure Commission are also exploring this key issue, and it will be incumbent on all of us to ensure these innovations are widely understood both among professionals and the general public.”

The ICE Thinks thought leadership workshop was attended by representatives from techUK, Arup, Imperial College, Pinsent Masons and many more.


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