engineering the future

Call us on +44 (0) 20 3478 9205

Why Overdependence on Technology Is Unwise

Industry Developments
20/10/14

Why Overdependence on Technology Is Unwise

Technology has certainly made our lives easier, but it hasn't necessarily made us more efficient. While there are many advantages to using technology, there are some disadvantages as well.

Cybercrime, for example, is on the rise, recent cybercrime cases have resulted in huge losses for businesses, especially where there has been a lack of investment and understanding in sophisticated security programmes. Since online banking is used by many people and businesses in the property and construction industry, cybercrime has become a big threat.

There is yet another problem. Too much reliance on technology can blind our common sense. One major example would be the dot com bubble. It saw a quick rise in the equity market due to the investments done with internet based companies. While it was basically a fad, many “experts” got tricked and transferred all their investments into the bubble. Billions were poured into these virtual companies, but eventually the bubble burst and people lost their savings. Such cases show our blind trust and overdependence on technology, which is certainly not good.

When it comes to the construction industry, technology helps architects create designs faster and engineers carryout complex calculations, but ultimately, it is people who are creating designs and not machines.

There are several software tools to help engineers and architects create blueprints of buildings. They can also generate a virtual walkthrough of the building. However, a skilled architect is still required to design the structure and a skilled engineer to make the structure habitable. The software cannot work on its own and create a final print. The technology is just to help – it cannot replace the skills and knowledge of person who is using the technology. Architects, engineers and construction workers are required for a well engineered building. Computers cannot build a brick and mortar structure; nor can they understand the complex nature of humans. When it comes to design and engineering, robots will not take the place of a human expert. Artificial intelligence is a great thing, but as a tool to assist real intelligence.

The UK government has issued guidance on BIM (Building Information Modelling) and it helps the construction industry professionals get digital help to create and co-ordinate the perfect blueprints. BIM allows experts to share data with other experts and have the right information at hand whenever they need it. This system helps engineers with their projects, but again the system is only as good as the human operators and the updated information loaded.

Another problem with technology is that it is perceived as the answer to all problems. Although this is more of a behavioural issue than a technical one, it is common and widespread in the construction industry, and thus needs to be addressed. While technology is certainly evolving, and provides solutions to many problems, it cannot be the answer to all problems. There are many people (from construction workers to top level executives in the building industry) who think that modern technology can solve any major issue. While computers help us in making a decision, they cannot take decisions for us. Ultimately, it is the humans that have to take responsible decisions. If an investor wants to invest money in real estate, he must decide it on his own, although he can take help from a software tool to examine the previous trends in the local property market.

It is therefore imperative that we strike a balance between human intervention and technology. It’s crucial that we adopt technology and use it to our advantage. However, technology cannot build a successful organisation. It cannot be a substitute for human skills.

It is necessary to evolve using research and development. Technology must evolve, but so should our expertise. While we create technology to help us with our tasks, we must upgrade our own knowledge so that we can create more efficient and safer buildings. Technology should make experts more sophisticated in their fields instead of making them dependant on external sources.

Organisations that want to succeed should invest in people who can use technology without being dependent on it. Technology is essentially good, but overdependence on it is bad. After all, technology contributes immensely to improving our overall human experience. It has given us a better understanding of the universe. But we must find the right way to embrace technology; otherwise we run the risk of being completely reliant on it.