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Are Robots and Automation Taking Construction Jobs?



Interviewer: So how would you address the concern that robots and artificial intelligence are actually taking jobs?

Paul Wallett, Regional Area Director, Trimble Middle East & India: That's a really good...There's a big mandate in our region to implement AI as part of technology in various industries. One of the big concerns, of course, is AI going to take my job?

And I think in certain circumstances, yes that will occur. It's also a very interesting topic of you know, how can we start to work more efficiently in the industry as well. 

David Burczyk, Segment Manager, Trimble Field Technology: I think what you're seeing becomes an evolution of skill sets as well. Like when Robotic Total Stations first came onto the jobsite. There's a lot of resistance there that they're replacing layout crews and these guys were going to be losing their jobs. 

What really ending up happening was that contractors started seeing that, now I can take my group of five guys and instead of having them on like one or two projects, each person can be an individual on a project. So now I can go out and get more work, get more projects, and my productivity is actually increasing. 

And so the skill sets for those guys were actually enhanced to where now they have the skills to use this emerging technology that no one else had in the industry. And so  now, they've become very valuable employees and resources. 

So , you know, once everyone started seeing that, then there was less resistance, and there was an embracing of the technology to come in and help improve the overall process.