"Generating a variety of options for people to consider within complex problem spaces is an ideal application for AI. This is not 'nanny state AI,' but 'possible states' AI. And it is this form of AI -- the less 'showy' of the two -- that deserves a level of attention that it hasn’t received to-date"
In the construction segment, ALICE Technologies is working with some of the world’s largest construction companies to use AI to generate scheduling options when building complex projects. At ALICE, we work with contractors developing huge projects that cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build -- think highways, bridges, and large office towers. The order in which a contractor tackles the myriad tasks required to develop such projects, and the resources that contractor applies to the job, can make a big impact on the time and cost required to deliver these structures. To spin up myriad scenarios to create a set of compelling options is a task that is ideal for AI. Humans can then review the subset of the most attractive construction options and choose among them, just as BlueDot’s clients are evaluating and acting upon the subset of emerging diseases that their technology is surfacing for consideration. ALICE is the first company to have applied AI to the challenges of construction scheduling, and the potential impact is enormous. Our vision is to help reduce the cost of construction by 25% globally. With $10 trillion spent each year on construction-related goods and services, the construction industry is one of the biggest in the world, and major changes in efficiency could yield substantial global savings.
In the case of both BlueDot and ALICE, our companies are focused not on replacing human decision makers, but on augmenting their capabilities by gathering information, crafting scenarios and calculating outcomes -- tasks that are ideal for computers. Partnerships like these between people and machines represent the articulation of AI that assuredly gets less attention than the “bossy AI” that regularly captures headlines. But this variation on the AI theme has just as great an opportunity to have an impact and the world. And it will do so by empowering human decision makers, rather than eliminating them.