Daily Inspiration: AI & the Future – “It’s better to construct an understanding instead of manufacturing fear!”


“It’s better to construct an understanding instead of manufacturing fear!” – Futurist Jim Carroll

I’ve got a steady stream of keynotes on the books going well into the fall. One of them, in October, will be for the Chicago-based Great Lakes Construction Association. This is a union-based contractors association, so it’s fair to say that there will be a lot of sensitivity to the labor issues of AI in the room. Five other similar organizations are joining in with the event.

We began to explore topic issues, areas of focus, and opportunities during a call yesterday, and I must say, I’m quite looking forward to this event. I’ve been doing quite a few events in construction as of late, and I shared some of the insight I shared with the Global Cold Chain Alliance and the Distribution Contractors Association, among others.

The fact is, AI is going to have a huge impact on the construction industry and the people who work with it as the level of spending explodes, going from $2.1 billion in 2022 to $23.1 billion by the end of the decade.

While there are many opportunities to enhance knowledge and understanding with tools like ChatGPT and CoPilot, the fact is other AI trends can be much bigger – things such as digital twin technologies, machine vision for quality inspection, project management, and more. I’ve shared these opportunities on stage in many recent events.

With those trends, here is no doubt that there will be a lot of robots about!

There is a lot of experimentation and development already well underway.

The fact is, it’s this latter reality that might cause the most worry and concern for members of an association like this. After all, the media and press are full of articles that suggest that AI is going to destroy millions of jobs and that everyone is doomed! A climate of fear seems to always rule the discussion with this type of stuff.

That’s why I impressed upon the team during the call yesterday that I will focus on the reality, not the hype; the opportunities, not the hysteria; the medium and long-term trends, not the short-term stuff; the evolution of skills, not the sudden irrelevance of them. At the end of the day, there will still be plumbers and electricians, masoners and framers, machine operators and surveyors. It’s the nature of how they do their work, the skills that are involved, and the technology that plays a role that will all undergo a dramatic change – but it doesn’t mean that suddenly, millions are going to find themselves on the unemployment line.

With that being the case, the story I will paint will be one of understanding, not fear. I’ve long believed that my job as a futurist has cast upon me the responsibility of painting a picture of reality rather than mystery, and one of hope rather than worry. That’s why I’m looking forward to pulling together my insight and research for this one – there will be a lot of wonderful discoveries along the way!


THE FUTURE BELONGS TO THOSE WHO ARE FAST features the best of the insight from Jim Carroll’s blog, in which he
covers issues related to creativity, innovation and future trends.