The ICE and the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) joined forces for the recent James Forrest 2017 lecture which explored the benefits, opportunities and challenges of artificial intelligence (AI).
It was presented by NIC technology commissioner Andy Green.
The lecture is given annually in honour of the former ICE secretary James Forrest (1859-1895). It tackles the interdependence of science and engineering.
AI – the ability of machines to learn and think for themselves – could make a huge contribution to faster project delivery, reduced carbon footprint and outturn cost certainty.
It can also analyse large volumes of data to highlight patterns in the performance and use of existing infrastructure assets to aid decisions about future infrastructure needs and delivery.
AI is expected to cut the number of steps to take infrastructure designs through to operation, saving time and money.
Green was speaking to an audience of industry professionals, academics and politicians, as part of the ICE’s Digital Transformation campaign. He said the built environment sector has often been accused of being slow to harness the improvements that technology can offer, and explored ways AI can improve the UK industry’s performance.
The lecture also looked at the potential of AI innovations to transform design, construction, management and maintenance.
The lecture was followed by a workshop facilitated by the ICE and the NIC, attended by experts from techUK, Arup, Imperial College and law firm Pinsent Masons.