The title “Are Chatbots the Next Project Managers?” of a linkedin post drew my attention. “For now, project managers can remain calm as their roles are safe, but they should be weary of chatbots slowly stealing their jobs from right under their nose.” https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/chatbots-next-project-managers-aaron-montemayor-walker?trk=v-feed&lipi=urn%3Ali%3Apage%3Ad_flagship3_feed%3BJjB5wpQXj4RNeQKbCfjJzg%3D%3D
The article seems to imply that project managers’ job is to chat, a function that can be replaced by chatbots. I wish my job would be about mastering the skill of chatting only. Light chatting, water cooler conversation, coffee room chat…. I’ll maybe try doing that. Chat for a week and then look at the project’s dashboard and show it to the project sponsor and board.
The above article also brings some good news as well: AI replaces professions with a high degree of professionalisation. “In fact, as time goes by, it becomes easier and easier to replace humans with computer algorithms, not merely because the algorithms are getting smarter, but also because humans are professionalizing. Ancient hunter-gatherers mastered a very wide variety of skills in order to survive, which is why it would be immensely difficult to design a robotic hunter-gatherer. Such a robot would have to know how to prepare spear points from flint stones, find edible mushrooms in a forest, track down a mammoth, coordinate a charge with a dozen other hunters and use medicinal herbs to bandage any wounds. ” from http://ideas.ted.com/the-rise-of-the-useless-class/
That shows that project managers are not in danger of loosing jobs to AI, given the variety of skills they need to master and apply. Not as physically intense as those of an ancient hunter, but still. One more study shows that “workers who successfully combine mathematical and interpersonal skills in the knowledge-based economies of the future should find many rewarding and lucrative opportunities.” https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/09/jobs-of-future-and-skills-you-need/. for instance, negotiating with a difficult client and delivering for a financial and performance audit are project manager’s duties, which go right into this categories.
Still, no time to rest on laurels, while chatbots deliver and develop. The only way to keep a job and to continue to love what you do is to keep learning. People smarter than me know it and do it.