It's a little late in the year to be continuing predictions for 2016, but Stuart Frankel and Kristian Hammond of Narrative Science offered their AI predictionsto Time Magazine and grabbed our attention. Most notable is the pair's assertion that "2016 will bring about a major shift in the perception of AI. It will cease to be a scary, abstract set of ideas and concepts and will be better understood and accepted as more people realize the potential of AI to augment what we do and make our lives more productive."
The folks over at x.ai sure hope that's the case. Their new "personal assistant" (a.k.a. Amy) works with your existing calendar and responds to your emails to schedule meetings for you. The waiting list is long but the results look to offer something truly spectacular.
Some, however, are less enthusiastic about the potential of AI. A recent report by the World Economic Forum predicts that automation and AI will replace 5 million human jobs by 2020. To put that in perspective, it's estimated that there will be 320 million more people inhabiting the planet by 2020, which means 1.5% of that new population will be without jobs. The report isn't all doom and gloom though. The WEF also predicts "the creation of 2.1 million new jobs, mainly in more specialised areas such as computing, math, architecture, and engineering, could partially offset some of the losses." Tell your kids to forget liberal arts; math and science are fast becoming the only way to go.
Fortunately for those of us adopting BIM technologies, the human element will remain very much in demand. Architect Magazine asserts that "BIM-savvy clients" unleash the potential for designers to continue working with their clients long after a given project is completed. The author, Michael Kilkelly, claims, "Architects can leverage their expertise by consulting with clients who wish to develop their own BIM capabilities. This opens the door to additional revenue streams and, moreover, gives the architect a seat at the table when clients discuss future capital planning needs." While technology may take over in some areas, it offers long-term collaboration in others.
Such is the goal of Australian-based Aconex. Their "digital twins" will support the collaboration of all involved in a project on an online platform: "The internet of things is going to have a big impact on construction. As more devices are on the internet, the ability to connect the information across all platforms will be important; this is linked to building information modelling (BIM). You will need to have photographs, maintenance schedule drawings and more, all attached to 3D models."
New technology always creates a stir. At least in the AEC world, embracing the new seems to offer myriad possibilities.