For my money, the movie the Terminator is one of the best science fiction films ever. And I reference it again because we’ve taken another step closer to having that fictional “Skynet” take over all the machines and wage war on humankind. In Balfour Beatty’s latest paper, “Innovation 2050 – A Digital Future for the Infrastructure Industry,” the company predicts that by the year 2050 construction sites will be human-free. Before you check out the videos below, keep in mind the following:
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Balfour Beatty’s ten predictions for 2050
- The industry will become increasingly focused on innovation and both contractors and customers will become less risk-averse.
- The shape and offer of the infrastructure industry will change significantly, with new business models, products, and services.
- Infrastructure will move on from concrete and steel to include new materials, which respond to their surroundings.
- New jobs and industries will be created—and some will disappear, especially low or zero skill roles and those relying on repetition of tasks.
- Thinking only about design and construction will become an outdated concept as infrastructure becomes multi-functional.
- Robots will become more prevalent in construction.
- Construction will get faster, using 3D and 4D printing, and self-transforming objects which self-assemble.
- New, disruptive ideas will emerge, for making mass transit faster, safer, and less damaging to the environment.
- We will increasingly use wearable technology such as exoskeletons.
- Direct neural control over devices and vehicles will be accessible to the industry.
A lot of what Balfour Beatty predicts is already being perfected, such as drones, 3D printing, autonomous heavy equipment and augmented reality. I’m just glad they haven’t mentioned artificial intelligence because when it comes to sci-fi, getting involved with AI is usually when things go terribly wrong.
Here’s how they imagine the site of the future.