Engineering, Insights

Helping Engineers Deliver Better: How is AI and Machine Learning Helping?

janet wellington
Feb 02, 2022
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Helping Engineers Deliver Better: How is AI and Machine Learning Helping?

It is now a fact that Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are changing the course of various sectors, and engineering is not excluded. AI and machine learning will help engineers deliver better by allowing them to perform tasks easier, and letting them do what they couldn’t do in the past. The question is, how exactly does AI help engineers deliver better? 

What Do Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Mean? 

Artificial intelligence refers to how machines are now being used to replace human intelligence. Think of the voice assistant on your smartphone. Tasks that require human intelligence are now being handled by machines. It imitates how the human brain tackles problems and handles tasks. Since it began to be used in consumer technology, artificial intelligence has crept ubiquitously into our daily lives. 

Machine learning is an advancement of artificial intelligence as machines and systems are now being used to take in data, analyze such data and draw up inferences from the result of such analysis. The ultimate end is that these machines will perform certain tasks without human efforts in setting instructions.  It makes the process faster and easier. 

How is Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Used in Engineering?

For the engineering sector, artificial intelligence uses both software and hardware components. Machines can now be used to improve the quality of tasks. 

1. Automobile Manufacturing

Automobile manufacturers employ robots during production and these robots not only complete simple tasks but can handle complex and intricate production process tasks. Many engineers now face the fear of losing their jobs due to these advanced robots. Machines that can now completely replace what humans do on an assembly line are now on the rise. Robots can now put together the bolts and nuts used in the initial manufacturing of a vehicle.

Also, machine learning is used in the production of autonomous and self-driving cars, driver assistants and driver monitoring devices. 

2. Design and Simulation

Engineers need to create for most of their tasks. Today, Computer-Aided Design has gained prominence in making engineering tasks easier. It’s not exclusive to engineers alone but also architects and construction managers.

Previously, manual drafting was the main thing. With CAD,  engineers can now explore designs that they previously had no access to. It helps engineers to develop, modify and optimize their design processes.

3. Improving Engineering Judgement

Data is the currency in the engineering world. Since artificial intelligence now takes up the activities to be performed by the human brain, engineers can automate low-value tasks and focus on high-value ones. Machine learning involves the analysis of data and this will improve the efficacy of an engineer’s judgment in performing engineering activities. 

4. Natural Language Processing

This is a field of artificial intelligence that seeks to improve the ability of humans to communicate with machines. To put it in fewer words, it helps machines understand the human language.  For example, the voice assistants on smartphones have been built to recognize human voices and vocalize their responses. 

Natural language processing engineers are then able to design applications that enhance a  computer’s ability to analyze and process human language data. Imagine if an engineer can give robots feedback during the manufacturing process? That’s making the engineers better efficient. 

5. Artificial Neural Networks

Engineers have been able to develop artificial neural networks through the process of machine learning. These networks are machine learning systems made up of artificial synapses that are created and designed to imitate the brain. It imitates not only the functions of the brain but also its structure. The artificial neural networks will learn and observe the data being transmitted through the synapses. 

This helps engineers in solving problems that cannot be solved conventionally since these networks can learn and model non-linear and complex relationships.It can include real-life scenarios that simulate the exact problems that engineers face in their real-life tasks.  

Will Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Affect the Role of Engineers?

While there are fears that artificial intelligence will reduce the number of engineering jobs, however, it also means that engineers will be able to take up other jobs. The rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning will create new engineering jobs that have never existed before.

Stanford University, in the study, One Hundred Year Study of Artificial Intelligence, states that “there’s nothing imminent about the threat to jobs, and even when or if we get there, it will be balanced out by the positive impacts on society and the increased capabilities technology offers.” 

Conclusion

Engineers are now exposed to diverse possibilities through artificial intelligence and machine learning. With the points discussed above, engineers can perform their tasks better and consequently deliver better products and services.