For the first episode of Project Insights, hosts Zoe Mervine and Hatim Elnueri interview their guest, Ernesto Toxqui, about the future of artificial intelligence (AI) technology. While covering a variety of topics such as the science of AI, its past and present stages, and its place in project management, possibly the most important question they weighed in on (and the one listeners are probably wondering themselves) is “Will AI take over our jobs?”. 

Toxqui, a Director with PMA’s Digital Transformation and PMIS groups, has a passion for data and technology in project management, having conducted his master’s thesis on machine learning. With this background, he says that AI (when a computer simulates human behavior) has existed much longer than most people realize. Thanks to developments like ChatGPT, AI has become a household concept due to its accessibility to anyone with internet. However, Toxqui argues that even 20 years ago, when he was working on his thesis, he was not working in the early stages of AI, but with information that had been built up for years prior. While he had to build much of what he was doing from scratch and determine the correct algorithm on a much more sophisticated and detailed level than people must today, we are following this same process with a little more prior knowledge.  

To discuss the future of AI, Toxqui thinks it is necessary first to give the audience an understanding of how it works. The technology needs to go through many cycles of learning and training, building up on smaller aspects necessary for a function. Like a toddler that first must learn how to stand before they can master walking, or learn how to walk before they can master running, it’s a sequential, repetitive process that takes time to build up to the desired task. 

With this knowledge of the process involved in making AI work, it’s clear why we have been working on it for so long, and it is still in reasonably simplistic stages. It takes a large volume of experiences and exposure for technology to learn the same behaviors as humans. In addition to this, things such as variance in language (ex: phrasing the same concept in different ways), unexpected situations (ex: illness or weather), and other factors make it much more complex (or possibly unlearnable) for AI technology. So, while the future only brings more advanced applications due to more data, it’s unclear what that future will look like. 

But the question remains: will AI take over our project manager positions? Put simply, Toxqui believes that project managers will still be necessary, but their jobs will look different given AI’s disruptive nature. Find out his predictions for the role, along with his advice for professionals in the industry, by listening to Project Insights! 

To test our current AI technology, see how you think ChatGPT’s summary of the episode matches up with your takeaways after listening: 

In this episode of Project Insights, hosts Zoe and Hatim spoke with Ernesto Toxqui, PMA’s Director of Digital Transformation and PMIS groups, about the application of artificial intelligence in project management and project controls. Ernesto shared his expertise in computer science, project controls, and project management, discussing the history and evolution of AI and how it has advanced to its current state of development. The conversation also explores ways AI can be used in project controls and management, including documentation, delay analysis, administrative tasks, and real-time data analysis. Ernesto also addressed concerns about AI as a disruptive technology and its potential impact on job displacement. Ernesto suggested remaining open-minded about technology, updating one’s knowledge about AI, and identifying areas where it can be applied in daily tasks.