AI wrote part of this article

Feb 05, 2023

It’s time to start building a strategy for how you will compete and stay relevant in this rapidly evolving environment.

Have you heard of ChatGPT? Before I explain what it is, let’s begin a conversation around the impact quantum computing will have on architecture and engineering as there have been recent and significant developments not only in quantum computing, but other technology that stands to make drastic impacts for the world in 2023.

Quantum computing is a revolutionary technology that has the potential to significantly impact various fields, including architecture and engineering. This article aims to explore the potential impacts of quantum computing on these fields and how it can be utilized to solve complex problems and improve design processes.

First, it is essential to understand the basics of quantum computing. Quantum computers operate on the principles of quantum mechanics, which is the study of how particles behave at the atomic and subatomic level. Quantum computers use quantum bits, or qubits, to store and process information. These qubits can exist in multiple states simultaneously. This allows quantum computers to perform certain calculations much faster than traditional computers.

One of the primary ways quantum computing can impact architecture and engineering is through the use of optimization algorithms. These algorithms can find the optimal solution to a problem by considering all possible solutions and selecting the one that is most efficient or cost-effective. In architecture and engineering, these algorithms can be used to optimize the design of structures and systems. 

Another area where quantum computing can have a significant impact is in the simulation of complex systems. Traditional computers struggle to simulate complex systems accurately because of the vast number of variables involved. Quantum computers, on the other hand, can simulate these systems much more accurately, thanks to their ability to perform calculations simultaneously. This could be particularly useful in the fields of architecture and engineering, where simulations are used to test and verify the performance of structures and systems.

Quantum computing could also have a significant impact on the field of material science. Quantum computers can be used to study the properties of materials at the atomic and molecular level, which could lead to the development of new materials with improved properties. This could be particularly useful in our industry where materials play a crucial role in the design and construction of structures and systems.

Overall, quantum computing has the potential to revolutionize the fields of architecture and engineering by enabling the optimization of designs, the accurate simulation of complex systems, and the development of new materials. While quantum computers are still in the early stages of development, it is clear they will play a crucial role in the future of these fields.

However, it is important to note that the development and deployment of quantum computing will not be without challenges. One significant challenge is the need for specialized hardware and infrastructure, which can be expensive and difficult to maintain. There is also a need for skilled personnel trained in quantum computing, which could be a challenge in the early stages of the technology’s development. Additionally, there are concerns about the security of quantum computers, as they could potentially be used to break encryption and compromise sensitive information.

Despite these challenges, it is clear that quantum computing has the potential to significantly impact the fields of architecture and engineering. As the technology continues to develop and mature, it is likely we will see more and more applications in these fields. As such, it is essential that architects, engineers, and other professionals stay up to date with the latest developments and curate skill sets that address such transformative change.

ChatGPT. Can you believe everything after the first paragraph, up to this point, was written by AI called ChatGPT? Of significant strategic importance for firms in 2023, technology (AI, quantum computing, AR/VR, metaverse, etc.) is probably at the forefront. Yet, when I scan the industry discussions, these topics seem to be rather niche and tossed aside for things such as sustainability, inclusivity, accessibility, or employee experience challenges. We will see things by the end of this year or next that we cannot possibly imagine. Do I think this is the year that we achieve artificial general intelligence? No, but if you’ve been waiting on the sidelines, now is the time to start building a strategy for how you will compete and stay relevant in the next three years.

ChatGPT is an AI “chatbot” or general language processing system built on top of OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 family of large language models, which were then enhanced with supervised and reinforcement learning techniques utilizing a large corpus of information prior to 2022. To help you understand the significance, there are some already making the analogy that this technological transformation is on the same scale as that of the Guttenberg press. It isn’t using real world data yet, but will be very soon.

All I did here was ask it to produce an 600 word article on the impact of quantum computing on architecture and engineering. Others, however, have presented it with what I consider some more sophisticated and interesting tasks. For example, having it write an essay on the intersection between the Daoist version of ethical morality and the ethics that are outlined in the Sermon on the Mount. It did both of these things in about five seconds and what resulted was very good. There was also a computer engineer who purportedly worked for Tesla and asked the system to write 10 bullet points on “what I probably would have done as an engineer at Twitter” that were productive and valuable, then asked if it could write the accompanying computer code that goes with each project. It did that too in a few seconds. Professors have asked it to take an SAT, write an essay, and grade it providing a comprehensive analysis of the essay and giving it a grade. It has written the screenplay and described the characters for “the next $900 million Hollywood blockbuster,” then someone else took those descriptions of the actors and asked it to generate photorealistic images for them.

Be prepared for what comes next. As incredible as this is, I would classify it as relatively “not that smart” comparatively for what it is going to be in two to five years. Therefore, I’ll ask a question this time: Do you have a strategic plan that adequately addresses how you will gain and sustain a competitive advantage over the next three to five years or beyond? If not, reach out to the Zweig Group team; we are here to make an impact through driving purpose and performance for the AEC universe. We can help and are passionate about doing so.  

Phil Keil is a principal and director of strategy services at Zweig Group. Contact him at

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Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.