Grading & Excavation Contractor

Some Things Can’t Be Taught

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Every now and then, we take a peek at what’s going on with artificial intelligence (AI) since that could very well be the end game when it comes to machine control and autonomous heavy equipment.

I bring it up again because I recently opened a press release in my email from the University of Waterloo in Canada. Apparently, AI is giving their researchers new insights to help reduce wear-and-tear injuries and boost the productivity of skilled construction workers. The one example offered comes from the use of motion sensors and AI software in discovering that expert bricklayers use some previously unidentified techniques to limit the loads on their joints.

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“In their first study, the researchers analyzed data from bricklayers of various experience levels who wore sensor suits while building a wall with concrete blocks. 

The data showed experts put less stress on their bodies, but were able to do much more work.

A follow-up study was done to determine how master masons work so efficiently. It involved the use of sensors to record their movements and AI computer programs to identify patterns of body positions.”

So now researchers are coming up with a system that uses sensor suits to give trainees immediate feedback so they can learn to use the movements that put less stress on their bodies.  

You could call this a case of artificial intelligence teaching humans.

But before we start taking dance lessons from AI, I offer you a different view of artificial intelligence.

Harry Potter. An artificial intelligence has written a new chapter all on its own after all seven of the Harry Potter novels were downloaded into a predictive text keyboard. The keyboard then outputs suggested word combinations based on the information that had been downloaded.

The website,, says the chapter is titled, “Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash.” It doesn’t really roll off the tongue.

Here are some passages:

“To Harry, Ron was a loud, slow, and soft bird. Harry did not like to think about birds.”

“The tall Death Eater was wearing a shirt that said ‘Hermione Has Forgotten How to Dance,’ so Hermione dipped his face in mud.”

“The castle grounds snarled with a wave of magically magnified winds. The sky outside was a great black ceiling, which was full of blood.”

“Leathery sheets of rain lashed at Harry’s ghost as he walked across the grounds towards the castle. Ron was standing there and doing a kind of frenzied tap dance. He saw Harry and immediately began to eat Hermione’s family.”

“Harry tore his eyes from his head and threw them into the forest.” 

I believe we should continue to develop and improve artificial intelligence. There are countless applications for the construction industry.

But no matter how advanced AI becomes, there are some things that will remain distinctly human. GX_bug_web

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