I believe that 2024 is going to be a game-changer for project delivery. You see, traditionally, this sector has been a bit slow in adopting new technologies. But artificial intelligence (AI) is changing the game. I've been closely following these developments, and with each new breakthrough my mind is blown all over again.
Below are a few things that have caught my attention over the past few weeks (you can find a lot more by subscribing to my LinkedIn newsletter, Global AI in Construction).
Prepare for take-off with Copilot
Microsoft has finally announced Copilot, an everyday AI companion designed to seamlessly integrate into your digital life. This innovative experience unifies AI capabilities across Microsoft's most popular products, including GitHub, Microsoft 365, Bing and Edge, to offer a more personalised and efficient user experience.
Copilot is engineered to understand the context of your work and your interactions on the web, thereby providing tailored assistance while prioritising privacy and security. Available in Windows 11, Microsoft 365 and web, the service began its initial rollout as part of a free update to Windows 11, starting on 26 September.
Unlocking the visual potential of GPT-4
I am fascinated by the capabilities of GPT-4V, the multimodal version of GPT-4 that has given ChatGPT the ability to analyse visual content. From front-end development to education, the applications are incredibly diverse.
For instance, GPT-4V can reconstruct website dashboards from mere screenshots, making the transition from design to prototype much quicker. It can also interpret and explain visual content like comics, memes and infographics, making it a valuable tool for educational purposes. Funnily enough, this was set as a challenge at the recent Project: Hack 19.
The technology even extends to deciphering illegible historical manuscripts, but whether it can decipher some project managers’ handwriting might be a challenge too far…
Major government departments embrace data-driven project delivery
I came across a recent LinkedIn post highlighting a significant development that marks a transformative change in the domain of government projects: the launch of the Government Project Data Academy.
This initiative is a testament to the growing recognition among major government departments of the imperative for data-driven project delivery. The academy aims to cultivate a new generation of project data leaders.
Over a span of two years, 30 trailblazers will undergo a comprehensive development programme that includes hands-on experience, specialised training in Python coding, Microsoft Azure, machine learning and AI.
The first cohort includes leaders from key departments like the Ministry of Defence, the Environment Agency and the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, among others. This is not just a pilot; it's a blueprint for the future, designed to seed innovation across the public sector and set the course for data-driven governance.
Meta's Connect conference 2023
Meta, the parent company of Facebook, unveiled a slew of generative AI features at its Connect conference. These innovations range from AI stickers that personalise chat experiences to advanced image-editing capabilities on Instagram.
But that's not all. Meta AI, a real-time, human-like assistant, is set to make its debut on various platforms. The company is also launching AI Studio, a platform that will allow even those without coding skills to create AI entities.
These advances are not just bells and whistles; they come with robust privacy protections and are part of Meta's broader vision to integrate AI into everyday experiences. This is all in addition to the launch of the Meta Quest 3 virtual reality (VR) headset. The topic of how VR, when combined with AI, will revolutionise our work is a discussion for another day.
The ethical quandaries
As AI integrates deeper into the construction workflow, concerns around issues like data privacy, system biases and accountability are also coming to the fore and must be taken seriously. Stories about the ethical challenges were examined in my LinkedIn newsletter, which includes some perspectives on how to ensure AI is deployed responsibly.
The road ahead
The industry stands at a critical juncture, on the verge of a profound transformation driven by AI, VR and digitalisation, heralding unprecedented changes. The ethical, practical and commercial implications are immense, yet so are the opportunities that lie ahead.
You may also be interested in: