Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

AI ready to disrupt yet another industry: project management

By Tom Ollerton, Founder, Automated Creative

Last year a study from Stanford University created “a computer algorithm that could correctly distinguish between gay and straight men 81% of the time, and 74% for women.”

This has frightening implications for communities where different sexual preferences are considered a crime.

Equally worrying is news from a collective of AI’s brightest thinkers called OpenAI. They created an algorithm that could write copy on its own that was indistinguishable from a human’s.

The plan was for this to be open-source and available to all. But potential uses for generating fake news were so dangerous that the call was made to keep its creative capacity under lock and key.

AI has been operating in creative spaces for some time and recently an AI called Endel made it harder for musicians to earn a living by winning a record deal from Warner music. The deal was for six hundred short tracks on twenty albums that were created instantaneously.

These examples are inspiring or scary (depending on your view) but what will the actual impact of AI be on business in the near future? The chart below shows where investment in AI is going.

You might be surprised to see that one of the biggest areas of investment into AI startups is in advertising and marketing – around four times as much as Automotive. The undefined law of startups is that 99% of them will fail. But some adtech startups will survive, thrive and ultimately change the way advertising works.

I was recently invited to talk at the Association of Project Manager’s annual conference to talk about the impact of AI on the project management profession.

During my research, I discovered that “for every $1 billion invested in the United States, $122 million was wasted due to poor project performance. 75% of business and IT executives anticipate their software projects will fail and fewer than a third of all projects were successfully completed on time and on budget over the past year.”

It would seem that PMs have a tough time making things happen, maybe AI can help.

Is Alexa your next project manager?

In the future will our Project Managers be able to ask “Alexa, which of my suppliers are going to make my project run over budget?”. Will our Voice Assistants be able to chat to us about fires that need to be put out and which teams need our attention? This may seem optimistic, but the AI PM industry is taking steps in this direction.

Currently, Project Management technology is in a ‘Descriptive’ phase where tools such as Jira can tell us what has happened in our campaigns. Some suppliers are offering ‘Predictive’ services like nTask that claim to guess which projects will fail and when. But the future of Project Management will hinge on technology that will mandate how projects will play out before they even start.

AI-driven tools like Aptage are the closest to making this a reality. In the distant future PMs won’t be needed to organise anything and Alexa will autonomously order creative teams around and tell strategists to stop waffling.

PMs will be there to bring harmony and empathetic understanding to a project where the robots may struggle.

It will be a few years before Alexa is your dedicated PM but AI in project management is coming and could help us find time to do what humans do best (for now) which is to be creative.