The world’s first cooling technology powered by artificial intelligence (AI) will be used for buildings in Dubai’s Jumeirah Village area. District cooling provider Empower is building the AI-fitted plant that will open in Q4 2019.
Unveiled at Dubai’s Wetex 2018 exhibition, the 50,000 refrigeration tons (RT) plant will use AI to monitor and adjust the flow of chilled water. The facility will use thermal energy storage technology and serve 90 buildings once operational.
While at the exhibition, Ahmad Bin Shafar, chief executive officer of Empower, used a model of the plant to brief HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Minister of Finance, and President of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority on the project.
Empower currently operates more than 1.34 million RT of cooling plants across the city, which serve homes and offices in neighbourhoods such as Jumeirah Beach Residence, Dubai Healthcare City, Business Bay, Palm Jumeirah, and Dubai Design District.
AI is a hot topic in the Middle East’s construction industry, echoing global business efforts to achieve tech-driven operational efficiencies. At the Gitex 2018 exhibition held in Dubai earlier this month, Microsoft told Construction Week that AI and internet of things could help to stop construction site fires and project delays.
However, the road ahead will not be without challenges for proponents of AI – Masayoshi Son, chairman and chief executive officer of Japanese conglomerate Softbank, said AI and technology could see the creation of “metal-collar” workers to replace the “blue-collar” staff integral to industries such as construction.
Commenting in KPMG’s 2018 CEO Outlook report, Son added: “Humans will continue to do jobs in high-touch segments such as the arts, social enterprises and entertainment, selling, and marketing, where humans pull on people’s heartstrings.
“But I believe that almost all blue-collar workers will be replaced by metal-collar workers. By that, I mean robots equipped with intelligence and super intelligence. They are no longer robots without brains, as they were in the past – they have become smart-robots.”