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Moral responsibility and action in the use of artificial intelligence in construction

Event organised by ICE

28 March 2022

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Join us for the first event in the Thomas Telford Prestige Paper Series 2022, which showcases engineering excellence featuring award winning papers published in ICE Journals. Dr Philip McAleenan won the Parkman medal at the 2021 ICE Awards ceremony and will examine some of the wider implications of the use of artificial intelligence in construction.

It has been said that AI is with us and that there is no reversing progress in this field. Whether the latter is true or not, it is certainly true that AI has entered the construction industry and there are technological developments occurring in various realms of the industry from the design process to production and logistics, and to the on-site monitoring of the speed of construction, efficiency and worker and plant interactions.

The developments are promoted not only as a benefit to the industry but necessary to its development into the future. This presentation will not negate such benefits, but will instead give consideration to the unintended consequences of a system that is capable and becoming more capable all the time of making decisions independently of human operators. It will examine the potential for harmful outputs and make the case for the retention of human control over all decision making impacting societal, industry and worker needs, including decisions about the design and development of AI systems.

Here is a link to the published paper that will form the basis of the presentation.


17:15 - 17:30


17:30 - 17:35

Chair’s introduction

17:35 - 18:15


18:15 - 18:40

Q&A session

18:40 - 18:45

Closing remarks and event ends


Dr Simon Smith

Dr Simon Smith

ICE Journal of Management


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Dr Simon Smith

Editor-in-chief of ICE’s Journal of Management, Procurement and Law; and Reader in the School of Engineering at University of Edinburgh.

Simon is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and Reader in Construction and Project Management at the University of Edinburgh. With a grounding as a construction engineer with a large UK civil engineering contractor, he has been involved in academia and construction research and teaching for over 30 years. Particular interests are the identification and management of construction hazards and the antecedents of unsafe behaviour.

Other current areas of investigation are perceptions of failure and procurement in project management; but he has also been involved in construction simulation, construction text mining, construction sustainability, infrastructure assessment and even archaeological engineering. He is author or co-author of approximately 100 peer-reviewed articles, is a prominent member and past chair of the Association of Researchers in Construction Management, as well as Editor of the Proceedings of the ICE Management, Procurement and Law.

Philip McAleenan

Philip McAleenan

Expert Ease International


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Philip McAleenan

Philip is a consultant and independent researcher in OHS and has run his own practice in Northern Ireland since 1996. His PhD was awarded by the University of South Wales for his research on health and safety in construction with a specific focus on culture, ethics reasoning and leadership. His current research interests include workers mental health, and the impact of autonomous and intelligent systems in health and safety.

He is currently an independent contractor with the University of Fredericton in Canada, School of Occupational Health and Safety.

He has authored over 40 technical, professional and academic papers and book chapters and has been published internationally.

He serves on the NI judiciary as a tribunal member for social security benefits and in particular disability related benefits.

For more information please contact:

Gabriella Lai