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Implications of AI in Engineering

As artificial intelligence (AI) programs grow more and more advanced, so does excitement and apprehension in many industries. Artists and writers have already expressed concerns that AI may soon leave them without jobs, but what are the implications of AI from an engineering perspective?

First and foremost, AI can – and is – being used as a tool for modern engineers. In fact, a new concentration of engineering, “AI engineering,” has been in development even before the popularization of commonly used AI programs such as Chat GPT. For years, scientists and engineers have been using AI to automate previously mundane and time-consuming tasks such as the processing of large data sets. AI engineers work on creating, improving, and maintaining artificial intelligence programs, which help people by generating words and images for various uses, directing new self-driven cars, performing calculations, and much more. However, AI engineers believe that their programs have the potential to exceed even their current roles.

Currently, the most advanced AI programs that we are accustomed to don’t prioritize accuracy, instead they essentially use the information they’re given to produce the most probable next word or pixel based on the prompt they’re provided. This has led to humorous interactions in which AI programs give blatantly wrong information, which is entertaining but ultimately

discouraging to engineers who rely on complete precision in their projects. However, some are optimistic about the potential of programs that are fed only verified and reputable information. When AI programs can only reference accurate information, they will become more refined and trustworthy tools, which means that they can be used for much more complex roles in the future. Progression in the field of AI engineering can ultimately be useful to every other engineer. Future AI programs may not only perform calculations for engineers but could also draft accurate prototype models, or generate potential solutions to a problem that an engineer is tasked with solving.

Of course, the ethical implications of AI still raise eyebrows among those in the engineering community. For one, just as in many other fields, potential AI automation threatens the jobs of engineers. If there’s optimism that AI may soon draft projects for engineers, who’s to say that they can’t complete those projects too? Furthermore, should engineers be allowed to use AI to help them do their jobs, or is that ‘cheating’?

Despite this, I implore you to explore and learn how to properly use AI. In an ever-advancing world, you should take full advantage of the tools available to you. AI programs are being embraced in many places of work and school as people grow comfortable with using them, so understanding these programs and having the ability to responsibly use them may one day be the equivalent of fluency in programs like Excel.

What is Artificial Intelligence Engineering? he-role-of-the-engineer