Hello, everyone. Time for our weekly roundup of articles at the intersection of BIM; artificial intelligence; and the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) space. Here goes:
BIM gets a boost as Autodesk officially releases BIM 360 Docs, a cloud-based environment for storing project plans and models. The program helps facilitate one of the underlying functions of working with BIM – making information available to all pertinent parties at all times: "Rather than tailoring necessary information based on a person's role in the project, the software is designed to aggregate information for design and construction teams alike. This helps to ensure that important details are exactly where they need to be – no more running around in a frantic search for relevant information."
Big money went to Architizer this week. They're dismantling the construction industry's reluctance to embrace new technology by focusing on the procurement of materials. The fledgling company just received a nice influx of venture capital, which will be largely invested in their tool, Architizer Source, to help connect architects with vendors of everything from toilets to track lighting. The company's founder, Marc Kushner, points out, "As consumers we're used to Amazon reviews and Yelp reviews and [we] have the ability to choose from a plethora of products. Meanwhile [architects] are making million dollar decisions with relatively no information."
What's new with Google's Project Tango? Although the VR tech is still in its infancy and mostly intended for gaming, practical applications in construction could be a "game-changer" for building. Author Derek Grapham sees its usefulness in everything from surveying to (via robot) accessing spaces that would be challenging or hazardous to workers. Still, he also sees it as something other builders may not respond to: "Some great innovation – other than at Google, is starting to appear on the market, such as Construction Manager, Fieldwire, and PlanGrid, all successful platforms that are vastly underused. So the problem isn't so much with the new innovations, it's a matter of the industry's reluctant adaptation of any new kind of management or collaboration tool different than what they have now."
Let's talk potential temporary losses for AI… Google also keeps pushing ahead in the realm of artificial intelligence, announcing this week that their DeepMindproject, AlphaGo, will battle the World Champion Go player live on YouTube. Although the deep learning system easily took down the European champion, the match with top-ranked Lee Sedol will really put Google's artificial neural networks to the test. DeepMind's founder, Demis Hassabis, isn't worried, however. The system's capabilities have already surpassed what anyone thought possible: "A loss for AlphaGo would hardly be catastrophic… DeepMind's win against Hui has been described as a 'decade earlier than expected,' and any setback would likely be temporary – just as it was with Deep Blue."
We leave you this week with an example of how art once again imitates life in a new teamLab installation that opened over the weekend at the Pace Gallery in Menlo Park, Calif. Enjoy their zen-like creations as you contemplate the acceptance of technological advancement across the vast and infinitely diverse AEC landscape.