While we have always taken advantage of improvements in technology, be they wheelbarrows or wrecking balls, it has always been humans in control of our projects. This is not guaranteed to stay the same forever.
New technology used in construction stands to put Artificial Intelligence to the forefront, allowing machines to run the numbers and plans, while human brains organise the creativity. While this vision might be some distance away, new construction tech is changing the way we build.
One example of how new technology is changing our plans is the rise of driverless vehicles. All kinds of vehicles are used on a building site, from trucks moving materials to steamrollers and bulldozers. While these are currently all piloted by people, it will soon be the case that machines have taken control of their own movement. While this might lead to more efficiency and cheaper running costs, it will lead to a loss of work for skilled drivers.
One new technology that will not lead to unemployment is the exo-skeleton. While this technology might have been designed for military situations, the robotic exo-skeleton stands to change individual workers’ productivity. The machines strap around the body and give greater strength and support to the limbs, allowing construction workers to lift more weight, and have greater strength. This could change how we work, while still allowing humans to keep their jobs.
The way we use tech stands at a crossroads. We can either continue to use tech to replace people, or we can use it to make us better. How we adapt will shape who we are as people.