By Mike Psenka, CEO, Moovila
People are afraid of artificial intelligence. It has been portrayed – in films and real life – as a modern Frankenstein’s monster: A creature of our own creation, bound to replace and, eventually, destroy us.
Recent portrayals of this demon include a horror movie where an artificially intelligent doll goes on a killing spree and the real-life ChatGPT, which is currently filling headlines with fears of job replacement. Our AI suspicions started in 1961 with HAL, in 2001 a Space Odyssey and have continued unabated since. Immense, cold intelligences do make good bogeymen.
But the year is 2023 and AI is no longer fictional – or a monster. We are building AIs that are interfaces – or translators – to help humans process vast quantities of data and understand multidimensional complexity.
The need for a translator
Fifty years into the information age, we have amassed oceans of data and can build complicated structures and devices. The tools we use to interpret and manage this complexity, though, have not kept pace.
A modern project of any size – a large construction project or software build – can have thousands of tasks, dozens of contributors, and millions of data points, all of them in a constant state of motion and change. The better you can manage all of this, the more likely the project will happen on schedule and budget.
Most tools that help us track these moving parts require a human to sift through an inscrutable interface and do calculations that exceed even a smart human brain’s capacity for comprehending complexity.
This is the main reason that most projects fail, and why revenue gaps are created.
If we ever hope to improve the success rate of large projects, we will need to learn how to interface with sophisticated, complex data. We need a decoder capable of turning that complexity into glanceable knowledge that is readily available to the human mind.
Information is always moving
One of the more challenging aspects of managing a large project is that it is constantly moving and changing. Tasks are completed or forgotten. Delivery dates change. Schedules shift. Weather, sickness, traffic, scope creep, and unpredictable events toss chaos into the mix. The thousands of data points that make up the whole aren’t on a static line; they are moving with time and in multiple directions.
Humans simply can’t track, analyze, and imagine all the repercussions of every change in every axis of time. An artificial intelligence can, though. It can monitor every task, person, and resource while constantly calculating the future ramifications for every change.
If a deadline is missed today, a human might not see the scope of the problem it creates because they can’t see how it impacts 9,000 downstream tasks. A computer knows. But most of the tools we use to track projects, lack an effective way to translate that knowledge into something you can glance at and understand.
A high-level visualization
In most project management tools, you can see your plan in a variety of views. Choose a list, board, Gannt chart, calendar, or other options. But they are all are flat. Nothing jumps out and screams, “Pay attention to this right now or things will go badly!”
Moovila’s critical path visualization tool is a bird’s eye view of this moment. With the details filtered out, it shows only the tasks in critical danger right now.
To get to this view, the AI spends 24 hours a day tracking what happened and what didn’t, analyzing schedule shifts and delays, and calculating how everything affects the deadline – today’s and all those in the future. And it uses that information to surface the elements – out of millions of tasks – that are critical now.
The result of those complicated calculations appears simple, minimal, and clean. Crucial tasks are circled – in red – along with the reason they need attention. It spells out how this delay will impact the future of the project and what to do to minimize the damage. But the math to arrive here is not only complicated and multidimensional but constantly changing.
When to fear the AI
Human minds struggle with complex data, especially when it exists on many axes. Our minds shut down. But higher dimensional data exists in complex projects and an AI can help you visualize it with little effort. The human role is still essential. AI can’t replace project managers or decision makers.
Who should fear AI?
Anyone who is invested in keeping critical project problems and budget overages a secret from decision makers will hate it. One of our customers used AI to surface information to a consultant who was hiding project slip. The AI made it clear that the consultant’s promises were bogus. The consultant, rightly, hated it.
But most people will welcome it. Managing complexity that’s beyond a human’s ability is stressful and leads to burnout.
Mike Psenka is the CEO and founder of Moovila, the leading AI work management platform that uses automation and a discreet math engine to give organizations the real-time answers needed to ensure success.