Message From the President: Robots don’t make for good problem-solvers

PeterHiebertBy Peter Hiebert, CTR
Today’s phones have more processing power than the Apollo space mission computers. However, even with all those capabilities literally in the palms of our hands, it is important to remember the tools do not make the job. Rather, it is the people who make things happen with the right tools at their disposal.

In today’s fast-paced world, everything seems to be under a time crunch. With all the tools available to us, projects should be faster and have less errors. In reality, we are indeed faster, but the bar has moved so far (and the envelope is always being pushed further), so it never feels like we actually become more efficient.

Software programs are coming out every day claiming to revolutionize how we work. While they may automate certain tasks, they also run the risk of removing ‘thinking’ from the process. These tools are only as good as the programming. People talk about the ‘80 per cent rule,’ where you program what happens 80 per cent of the time. However, in the design/construction world, those unique, non-traditional jobs feel like they are the norm, rather than the 20 per cent exception.

Nevertheless, companies in our industry are trying to streamline operations, reduce redundancies, and improve productivity. In the end, using rigid process, procedures, and software programs may just result in unthinking robots lacking the true capability, creativity, authority, or practical knowledge of how to step outside the box and come up with solutions to unique situations.

We are seeing more creative building designs that fall far from the norm. Experienced and knowledge people, with the authority to make decisions, should trump a robot (whether that ‘robot’ is in mechanical or human form).

While the industry tries to move to higher levels of automation, human interaction is needed, from design to commissioning. People with experience are always going to be needed, especially when they have the proper training and background.

Become invaluable, become an expert in your field, learn how to become a solution provider. CSC can be the support network for you to do all this. Our association has professionals with experience in the construction industry—by becoming a member, you can tap into that vast community. Also, the CSC education programs are some of the most respected in the industry; they can give you an edge over others in the design/construction world.

It is time to share the experience.

I am CSC.

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