The Future of Automation

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Innovation. Automation. Cost Savings.

What is Artificial Intelligence Today? Artificial Intelligence is a comprehensive technology that has the potential to affect almost every part of the business world. It’s not a magic pill, but businesses that avoid artificial intelligence risk getting left behind.

Man on laptop looking at analytics chart and data

Man on laptop looking at analytics chart and data

While Tech Utopians are busy promising a future with self-driving cars and computerized personal assistants, businesses are taking stock of the real potential in artificial intelligence to change how they operate their activities in the present. They’re finding many applications for artificial intelligence technologies across the industry, from automating production to predictive marketing and customer-directed product design.

Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are still a long way from general intelligence that can match humans in creativity and judgment for a wide range of purposes. Instead, the advanced forms of machine-learning AI gaining popularity today are more like highly advanced pattern-recognition algorithms.

These machine-learning algorithms, such as artificial neural networks, analyze vast amounts of data to find hidden patterns and connections. Using this analysis, they then create models based on the data that can then predict what will happen when given other data to analyze. For example, Facebook uses its massive stores of user data to predict what type of person wants to see what kind of ad, and Google uses its data to predict what kind of YouTube videos people want to watch.

Most of these algorithms are not perfect. Getting to 90 percent predictive accuracy with artificial intelligence is much easier than getting to 95 percent, and so on. That means that some long sought after technologies, such as fully automated self-driving cars, are still years away. But in business, there are many ways to use artificial intelligence where even 90 percent accuracy is better than anyone could manage with subjective human judgment.

Project management professionals can orchestrate how future work gets structured, enabling people to produce innovative products and services as they're needed by customers.

Women discussing monitoring data

Women discussing monitoring data

Monitoring data continually and making decisions aided by technology becomes a continuation of what you’ve already experienced. In the past, when you automated work, you still controlled the outcome. With artificial intelligence and machine learning, outcomes may go beyond what you anticipated. That can be a little terrifying, but exciting as well. By analyzing large amounts of data, machines may notice patterns the human mind is incapable of discerning.

Novel approaches to age-old problems may be welcomed, or they may not. Project managers have the unique opportunity of analyzing where they spend their time and find ways of adding automation to lessen the load of repetitive tasks. Today, that activity may mean scheduling meetings, sending out reminders or setting up rules for processing email. Tomorrow, that same effort could include more complex operations, such as reviewing results and correcting mistakes as or even before they happen right on the job.

Wearable devices represent the next wave of technology

Wearable devices represent the next wave of technology

Thirty years ago, mobile phones were new. Now, they’re everywhere. Wearable devices represent the next wave of technology to impact project management through reminders, connections, and communication, generating data that can be compiled into a status report with simple voice commands. Do you bring your laptop everywhere with you today? In the future, you might be tapping and swiping on walls or tabletops, instead. Cyber-security and authentication must be enabled to ensure your data and plans get protected.

What project management tasks can you expect to automate in the near future? Any activity that involves data processing is a candidate. Data collection may also be considered. Work in the physical environment, such as meeting with stakeholders to gather requirements, may even incorporate some automation. Work that requires empathy, judgment and trust will increase in importance. Redefining work roles becomes critical when we transition to automation.

Project management automation is already occurring. Utilize the tools and techniques that best suit your needs. Adapting and adjusting to the latest trends requires thinking through a new perspective. Don’t wait to find out how you can make new tools, techniques and strategies work for you.