A vision of the future of project management?

It’s the first day of EDUCAUSE 2017 in Philadelphia and Michio Kaku took us on a mental journey to a possible version of a digitised future. This got us thinking about what the project management profession may be like in his version of the future.

In his presentation Michio, a theoretical physicist and futurist, proposed how technology and digitisation might change the world in the not so distant future.  Through speaking to hundreds of scientists from different fields Michio has concluded that tech will be everywhere in our daily lives from AI nurses, digital wallpaper that could host virtual meetings to contact lenses with internet access.

Although young people’s desire for innovation is pushing developments in tech, Michio predicts that, with aging populations, AI will start to advance at greater speed. This is evidenced in Japan where the fastest aging population in the world is pushing innovation and development in this area, particularly in the health sector. 

This talk got us thinking about whether Project management could be replaced by AI where trend based analysis could improve project techniques such as planning or risk management. In these areas removing emotions and basing decisions on facts could improve the outcome of project delivery.

However (thankfully) project management is not just about administration. Michio stressed that a computers strength for repetitive tasks and calculations are unlikely to ever be able to replicate intellectual capital such as a humans ability to support, provide leadership and imagine new possibilities required for true innovation. These soft skills are the ones already needed for good project and change management but it seems they may become even more important if the profession is to survive.

So for now, technology advancements and AI might enhance the project managers ability to collaborate and deliver the project but if we evolve in to project and change leaders rather than managers our jobs would seem to be safe for now (phew!). 


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