Rene Morkos

René Morkos, founder and CEO of ALICE Technologies and adjunct professor in the Stanford University’ construction engineering Ph.D program, can be reached at

The world has been captivated recently by generative artificial intelligence technologies like ChatGPT and Google, and there have been many conversations within organizations and in the media about their capabilities and limitations. The big, early players in this space are “generalist” tools that pull data from the entire internet, and experimenters have used them for all manner of applications, from drafting marketing copy to writing papers for AP U.S. history class. As you might imagine, while the output has been fascinating, its quality has varied.

As early hysteria surrounding generative AI has settled, a more pragmatic discussion has emerged. How can we put this technology to work in focused ways? In the world of construction, how will it change the ways in which projects are designed and built?

Architects are already using generative AI products such as Stable Diffusion, Midjourney and DALL-E to rapidly generate early conceptual images for their projects. The ability to quickly translate text to images enables these forward-thinking architects to create compelling visuals that can fuel valuable conversations with their clients.

Drawings that would previously have taken an architect weeks to create can now be developed in an afternoon with generative AI. What’s more, these can be modified instantly by just changing the underlying text that drives the design.

This is a stunning start for generative AI in the field of architecture and design. Imagine where the future will lead us as the technology becomes increasingly powerful. Soon, architects will be able to use it to move beyond conceptual images to buildable plans. From words to blueprints—it sounds like science fiction—but this future is closer than you think.

ALICE Technologies, the company that I founded, has applied generative AI to the challenges of construction scheduling for capital projects. Traditionally, project scheduling has been a process highly dependent on knowledge of old school industry veterans. They have created schedules in a particular way for a long time, using traditional tools such as P6 and Microsoft Project to do it.


Multiple Schedule Scenarios

What’s more, they have tended to develop a single schedule for a project, since experimenting with options is time-consuming and costly. With ALICE Technologies’ generative AI, in contrast, general contractors and owners can create many possible schedules for projects. They can then run “what if” analyses to determine how changing certain variables, such as number of cranes used, could impact the schedules they are considering.

On major construction projects, schedule optimization can yield substantial savings in both time and costs. Before the advent of generative AI, such turbocharged scheduling simply was not possible.

During the execution phase, generative AI will be used to keep projects on track by identifying progress vs. plan and potential delays, and then recommending steps companies can take to avoid or recover from those delays.

Companies such as Doxel and are already using technology, notably drones and hardhat-mounted cameras, to capture project status information during the execution phase. They can then compare that information to original plans to flag problems.

With generative AI, it also won’t be long until these same companies can come up with creative solutions to help builders who have run over budget or have missed key schedule milestones.

Generative AI’s wizardry has captured worldwide attention for good reason. It has great potential to change many facets of our lives, from the way we create to the very nature of our work. While it can be easy to get caught up in societal-level musings about the impact of this technology, it is important to stay grounded and to realize that in the construction industry, generative AI already is in play.

Professionals who create and deliver the “built world” have put this technology to work more quickly than we have seen it being done in other industries, and we’re still in early innings. So if you’re not yet experimenting with how to use generative AI in your construction business, you need to start now. Your opportunity to make an impact on your business success is simply tremendous. 

René Morkos, founder and CEO of ALICE Technologies and adjunct professor in the Stanford University’ construction engineering Ph.D program, can be reached at