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AI could leave only bespoke designs to engineers


Basic and repetitive design tasks which are currently carried out by engineers could be done by computers in the future, thanks to artificial intelligence (AI).

It is one of the ways artificial intelligence could impact the civil engineering profession, leaving only bespoke designs to human beings. That’s one the predictions of Raul Fuentes, an associate professor in infrastructure engineering at The University of Leeds, who is one of the speaker’s at this year’s Future Tech Forum. He is leading some innovative research on how technology will impact the civils sector.

“Of course these designs would need be checked by someone, but if technology led by artificial intelligence can replace some of the repetitive work done by junior engineers, it will be able to save both time and money,” said Fuentes.

“However, in doing this, it then leads to the question of training. How would junior designers gain experience, if entry-level work is done by computers.”

Fuentes is also working on one of the seven Grand Challenge Projects, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The project seeks out new ways of using robotics and autonomous systems to “restore the balance between engineered and natural systems in the cities of the future” (the others relate to infrastructure resilience, water scarcity and atomic engineering). The University of Leeds is leading it, and has £4.2M to spend on it.

To find out more about Fuentes research on how the civils sector will change with technological advances, hear him speak at the upcoming Future Tech Forum, which takes place over 14 and 15 September, at the Crystal in south east London.

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