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A message from ASCE Texas Section President Travis N. Attanasio PE, CFM

A message from ASCE Texas Section President Travis N. Attanasio PE, CFM

May 2023

Travis N. Attanasio PE, CFM, M.ASCE
ASCE Texas Section President 2022-2023

What does AI think about Texas Civil Engineers?   

Technology is amazing or scary depending on how you view artificial intelligence (AI).  What was once fiction is seemingly now becoming a reality. In 1998, The Matrix predicted the rise of AI and how humans would interact with it.  To quote Morpheus:

“We have only bits and pieces of information. What we know for certain is that, at some point in the early Twenty-first Century, all of mankind was united in celebration. Through the blinding inebriation of hubris, we marveled at our magnificence as we gave birth to AI…A singular consciousness that spawned an entire race of machines… We don’t know who struck first. Us or them. But we do know it was us that scorched the sky. At the time, they were dependent on solar power. It was believed they would be unable to survive without an energy source as abundant as the sun…Throughout human history, we have been dependent on machines to survive. Fate, it seems, is not without a sense of irony…The Machines discovered a new form of fusion. All they needed was a small electrical charge to initiate the reaction…The human body generates more bioelectricity than a 120-volt battery and over 25,000 B.T.U.’s of body heat…”

It’s a great mind-bending thought-provoking trilogy, with a fourth movie that basically repeated the first. The challenge with AI is to not make it smart enough for it to figure out that the reason the planet is sick is because humans are the disease. Remember the very first days of the Pandemic lockdowns when the Channels of Venice became clear and dolphins returned? Or when scientists found a plastic bag at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, 36,000 feet under water? AI remembers.

So I thought, what does AI think about Texas Civil Engineers? 

I used the latest rage, a text-generating AI chatbot called ChatGTP, to ask. 

The answer: “Texas is home to many talented civil engineers who play a vital role in designing, building, and maintaining the infrastructure that supports our communities. From highways and bridges to water treatment plants and airports, civil engineers in Texas are involved in a wide range of projects that impact our daily lives. One of the unique challenges faced by civil engineers in Texas is the state’s size and varied geography. From the Gulf Coast to the Panhandle, from the Hill Country to the Piney Woods, Texas is home to a wide range of landscapes and ecosystems, each with its own set of engineering challenges. Texas civil engineers must be able to adapt their designs and techniques to suit these varied environments. Another challenge faced by Texas civil engineers is the state’s rapid growth and urbanization. As more people move to Texas, the demand for new infrastructure and development continues to grow. Civil engineers must work to balance this growth with the need to protect the environment and preserve the state’s natural resources. Despite these challenges, civil engineers in Texas continue to make important contributions to the state’s infrastructure and economy. From the world-renowned highways of the Texas Department of Transportation to the innovative water conservation projects of the Lower Colorado River Authority, Texas civil engineers are at the forefront of shaping the state’s future.”

So….it seems that AI will keep us Civil Engineers around (for the time being).  Cheers!

Travis N. Attanasio PE, CFM, M.ASCE
2023 ASCE Texas Section President