Engineering chatbots and virtual video presenters: IMechE explores the possibilities of AI


'It Should Enable People And Organizations To Do More Fun And More Interesting Things' (Credit: Shutterstock)
‘It should enable people and organizations to do more fun and more interesting things’ (Credit: Shutterstock)

Picture the scene – you log into the IMechE website when you are faced with an engineering dilemma. A chatbot will pop up, and you explain your problem to it. Responds quickly with detailed analysis and historical references, providing a solution based on proven accurate information.

Read more: How AI is already changing engineering – and the role of the engineer

Thanks to new efforts by the Institute, that scenario may be possible in the future. A new task force led by global business development head Alan King has been formed to analyze and understand the opportunities offered by new artificial intelligence (AI) tools. Discussion GPT.

The team, which met for the first time recently and includes representatives from the institute, is considering every aspect: background information needs, customer-facing requirements, ‘pan-organizational’ opportunities, employee support and public-facing activities.

“Each ambition is to first examine where we are now … and strengthen our existing opportunities based on existing resources and existing AI technology,” King says.

Staff training on the main devices will begin at the end of this year, explaining the possibilities offered by new AI features Google Workplace And Microsoft 365and how they can be used to improve work processes.

The working group will assess the state of things at the end of the year, taking into account factors such as data risks and current infrastructure limits, before starting planning in early 2024. What we want to invest in, what we want to develop,” says King.

‘Immediate Feedback’

Like engineering itself, the applications of AI at IMechE can be many and varied. One promising area could be the application process, King says. Applicants must complete a “fairly comprehensive” professional review process, so it has been developing input with OpenAI tools to provide feedback and some proof-of-concepts to “request”.

“Typically that’s done by our business development team – that’s probably something we can really bake into our online application processes in the future,” he says.

When they fill out their applications on their website, they can click a button that uses AI evaluation and it gives them instant feedback. They don’t have to wait weeks to talk to an individual, and the level of potential is very high.

The current system is “very Heath Robinson,” says King, a framework built in Excel and then downloaded to ChatGPT. In the future, it can be used Models from the OpenAI APIIt allows users to set additional parameters and build their own applications.

Before joining the website, the tool is first used by the business development team during the evaluation process or face-to-face meetings with applicants and members. Such a system can streamline the evaluation process, King says, giving employees more time to devote to other work.

Certain chatbot tools may be used on the Website “sooner than later”. A simple app can be an assistant to help members navigate the website, but it will become more powerful in the future.

If IMechE builds its own large language model (LLM), it can train it on its own resources, data and archive information. “It can be an engineering resource, if you will, for people to ask questions,” King said. “He then provides a very detailed analysis of engineering issues or history.”

Having a closed system eliminates the misinformation and misinformation generated during conversations with ChatGPT and other chatbots, he added.

From the creator to the editors

Elsewhere in the facility, other tools such as the AI ​​video generation platform Synthesia It can provide creative opportunities for membership marketing. The platform has a number of capabilities, including ‘cloning’ the human voice and reading text through virtual characters.

“You can make quick efficiency videos, two-minute videos, 30-second videos of what IMechE does,” he says.

He showed an example to his friend who makes short videos for companies. “We cost £5,000 to do that, to find an actor, to do a script, to shoot, to do all the work on that video,” he said. And I did it on my MacBook in an hour, and it’s great.

“What these tools do is make us more efficient,” he added. They mean we can generate more, possibly faster, and more interesting results. We will be editors, not just creators… It should encourage people and organizations to do more interesting and more interesting things.

Improving the world

In the future, other possibilities may include a networking platform that analyzes members’ profiles and suggests collaborations and partnerships, and a training development tool that tracks members’ fitness and provides personalized training plans. “There’s probably an endless list of things we could go on, but those are the places we can look first,” King said.

By improving the experience of IMechE members and staff, the institute can strengthen its capacity to achieve its mission of “Improving the world through engineering” to bring benefits to humanity and the planet.

“With these tools, we can work toward that, which has always been a big goal for the institute,” King says.

Alan King will be featured on an upcoming episode of IMechE’s Impulse to Innovation podcast discussing AI in engineering. Visit the Podcast website or subscribe Apple Podcasts To hear that the room has been released.

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Content published by Professional Engineering does not necessarily represent the opinion of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

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