Yesterday’s post discussed the potential for contractors to develop expertise in building “Virtual Reality” Rooms” . Underlying that story, however, it doesn’t take much looking to see how the technological arms race will change our lives in the near future.
Stuff right out of science fiction (even discussions about sending space missions to mine asteroids) have become tantalizingly real and near. Electric cars that drive themselves will soon be available; homes and commercial buildings which consume virtually no energy (and in fact could with some solar panels generate more power than they consume) have reached the stage that the Canadian building codes may set these as the “normal” standard within the next decade — and (I fear with some nostalgia), the daily newspaper in all but a few major metropolitan cities will likely be a historical anachronism within the decade.
Alas, while overall world poverty in fact has declined dramatically in the past several years, there are challenging displacements happening. Who needs taxi drivers when Uber provides the service — and in a while, with self-driving cars? Many formerly highly skilled tasks have been offshored; yes, there are moves in place to raise the minimum wage in North America, but will this help when businesses automate out the human jobs that need to be local, and offshore the others?
Our challenge, it seems, is to figure out ways to adapt the new and old technologies and be constantly aware of the changing environment. Thankfully, most businesses in the AEC space have an enduring practical character. You might be able to build technologically advanced buildings with Building Information Modelling, but you still need skilled trades to build the actual structures and even if buildings become manufactured or “printed”, there still will be a major place for practical hands-on skills.