HomeInfraGovernment to pilot AI use in infrastructure project management | Construction News

Government to pilot AI use in infrastructure project management | Construction News

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Government infrastructure chiefs have announced plans to increase the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in project management – with checks in place to stop computers making decisions that should be taken by humans.

The Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) this week launched a new framework to guide collaboration between departments and contractors on using AI.

Project registers, schedules, plans, budgets and forecasts, meeting minutes, reports, and assurance findings could all be harnessed to improve efficiency, the report said.

But it warned that some systems can make decisions without the express intent or control of a human, making it unclear who is accountable for resulting actions.

“In the short term, given our anticipated use cases and current level of maturity, the ‘adaptiveness’ and ‘autonomy’ of AI pose fewer immediate risks for project delivery but will be closely monitored as the technology develops and new use cases emerge,” the report said.

The report was produced through a collaboration between the IPA, the Central Digital & Data Office, the Association for Project Management and the Major Projects Association.

The government aims to use project data to automate routine project tasks, predict future project performance and help make better project decisions.

The strategy outlined in the report is experimental, using pilot projects to share best practice, due to the array of potential uses and projects across government.

The report says: “Combined with the uncertainty surrounding the outcome of rapid technological change, this means that a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach to exploiting data is neither possible, nor desirable.”

The AI initiative coincides with a major overhaul of how the IPA manages its data.

It is currently moving its major project data collection to a purpose-built Cabinet Office platform, which it said would allow more sophisticated analysis, including the application of machine learning tools.

This follows the creation of the IPA Benchmarking Data Service at the end of 2022, providing a cloud-based platform to share project data.

IPA director of function, insights & profession Karina Singh said: “The use of advancing technologies, especially AI, is a topic of broad and current interest.

“This paper cuts through the noise to provide a framework of actions we can use to experiment with and upskill project delivery professionals to get the most out of this fast-moving development.”

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