Although modern technology has helped increase productivity and improve lives, there’s no denying that AI can take over many roles humans currently perform. It’s not a question of if this will happen; it’s a matter of when. AI is slowly taking over all types of industries, with healthcare, finance, marketing, and the automotive industry each integrating some form of machine learning. It’s also affecting project management, which could see a huge shift toward incorporating AI in the near future.
Project Management Institute SVP of Strategy Murat Bicak tells Politico that although it feels like machines are slowly taking over, that’s just not the case. Emerging technologies are more likely to change a project manager’s role than replace or eradicate it. He points out that although AI can speed up processes that would take humans much longer to do, people still have the advantage in “making creative choices, strategic decisions, building trust, using business judgement, influencing and giving insights.” Bicak believes that in the future, AI will aid and enhance project managers, not make them redundant.
AI can also make it easier for project managers to begin planning new projects by analysing an entire portfolio quickly and suggesting more efficient ways to execute an existing plan. Quartz explains how AI software can learn from experience, ensuring that a project will be completed in a much shorter time. Alex Rudnicky, a professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon University, says that “the goal is to reduce a complex human behaviour to a form that can be treated computationally.” AI can also help allocate assets more effectively by accessing a company’s list of resources, reviewing current availabilities, and allocating staff where they would perform best. In addition, it can help reduce – if not completely eliminate – idle time by allocating tasks for individual employees.
When it comes to benchmarking and tracking, AI can help develop measures and targets using relevant tags. Risk management can also easily be handled by AI, as it can identify possible issues based on a database of past problems from previous projects. There are even AI project management programmes with language processing tools that can scan project emails and documents for indicators of risk. As the database grows, AI continuously learns through patterns, allowing it to help corporations more extensively. On the Epicflow blog, we’ve noted how data can be used for establishing patterns and trends to establish a baseline that can help find solutions. This is where AI will be most effective and is why it doesn’t have to replace actual project managers. Especially since most project management skills – such as common sense, leadership, and empathy – remain beyond the reach of computers.
Yet there’s no doubt AI is a concern among employees and companies. New Europe reports that the estimated rate of job loss because of automation ranges from a low 9% to a very high 47%, showing how unpredictable the future is. It’s also not surprising that companies would look to develop AI over hiring new employees. FXCM’s economic calendar shows that the Q4 labour costs outlook in Europe is volatile, reflecting increasing pressure on maintaining employees. As the price of keeping employees increases, so too does the chance of more companies adjusting their long-term plans for AI.
Right now, the world is just starting to discover how AI will fit into the modern workforce. The question is whether experts like Murat Bicak are right or whether AI will completely dominate fields like project management.