Oliver Wehrens
Seasoned Technology Leader. Mentor. Dad.
Oliver Wehrens

Can AI replace me as a consultant?

- 3 min

AI Takeover

I got recently asked if my job as a consultant in the tech, product and organizations development space, can be replaced by an AI.

I said, that I’m that arrogant to think that this is not possible.

After thinking about it for a few days I was wondering: Is that so?

Usually our customers call us to get help or for an outside view on their (digital) product development. This includes observing everything around product, technology & organization, help implementing improvements and enable the customer to be more effective and efficient after we leave. They know that something could be better and hire us because they don’t have the capacity or the time to acquire the knowledge about the issue to solve it themselves.

An AI could help for sure.

It could have the knowledge to suggest improvements and changes in the above areas. It could provide the extra capacity the customer does not have on their own.

So it should be possible.

What could that look like?

The AI needs to gather the knowledge about the current situation. It would need to read all written information. It could do that much better then I could do it. It could read source code, knowing who did what, could judge who is doing which work, knows from contributions to the documentation who is active on which part.

Unfortunately this is not enough because the written information in a company is usually not sufficient and the knowledge is in the head of the people. So the AI should be able to prompt the human with specific questions. To replace me, it needs to be an eloquent, emotionally intelligent, human-like AI that conducts interviews, figures out for itself what to do next, gathers more information on its own and helps drive the change process forward.

The part where I struggle is that such a process is about trust and relationship. When working with other humans it always is. Do we trust AI enough to change organizations and influence our (professional) lives and careers?

For that to work, we as humans need to get the feeling that we can always fully trust the AI itself and that it does not have a negative impact on ourselves.

But if we have such an AI that could do all these things, why isn’t this AI itself then the CEO of the company and does most of the work? No humans required. No consultant needed.

Until then

All knowledge how to change (digital) product development and organizations is already available. It just takes time to get to know that and gather experience. That process will be for sure accelerated by AI. But learning also accelerated over time with books and the internet, yet there are still consultants.

My job (and yours maybe too) will change in the age of AI. I need to stay ahead of the curve to provide value to my customers. Keep learning. But I can not see that it will go away anyway soon as long as we work with humans.