There's a strange sort of symmetry to life sometimes. The week I got laid off from Rouse Services due to budget cuts was the same week that OpenAI launched ChatGPT-4. Out of curiosity sparked by online discussions, I decided to give it a try. I was not prepared to have my worldview shattered.
Describing this as a revolution doesn't do it justice.
Entering the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) dramatically opened up my perspective on what was possible. Yes, there is a lot of doom and gloom sentiment going around. But for me, I found myself wondering what the world would be like 10 years from now. And with finding a Product Manager job on top of mind, I started wondering how AI will impact the role and expectations of future Product Managers.
The intricacies of AI are undeniable. The Chief Science Office of OpenAI has flatly stated even he doesn't fully understand what happens inside the black box. Yet, as I started wrap my head about AI's complexities, it felt less daunting. It didn't matter that I did not understand it's internal systems. What matters is that it actually solves users problems.
I've started experimenting with a few LLaMa models from HuggingFace on my RTX 3080. I found the performance comparable to ChatGPT-3.5. There are even accounts of people getting low-parameter local models to work on smartphones!
I started to think more and more: How will AI impact my line of work? My career trajectory?
It’s easy to fall into the narrative that AI will usher in a world of mass unemployment and societal unrest. But I see AI more as like the Colorado River connects different landscapes. It'll serves as the connective tissue, linking technology and business more closely, so that the focus can on supporting users.
Product Management, like the tech it revolves around, is always evolving. Today's interpretation of the role is vastly different from the dot-com era of the '90s. As trends come and go, PMs adapt.
Here's where I think the PM world is heading:
1. Automating Repetitive Tasks: With AI, mundane tasks like data collection, aggregation, and analysis will become automated. I foresee a world where AI is able to generate JIRA tickets automatically based on listening in on stakeholder meeting. The PMs would still review the tickets, but so much time is freed up.
2. Advanced User Insights: Understanding user behavior is critical in our world. AI, with its ability to process massive datasets, can provide deeper, more accurate consumer insights. Insights that would have taken a data scientist weeks to investigate and report back. Startups without data scientists can now compete with the largest companies in the world. And best of all, I can just ask upload some user feedback sessions and creatively parse data with the AI to find actionable insights while ignoring the noise.
3. Streamlined Communication: The diversity of stakeholders can make effective communication a challenge. AI can help less technical PMs better understand technical concepts. It can help review messages for clarity before sending out emails. It can serve as to build a common language between vastly different teams.
I'm excited to see where things go.
Or perhaps Skynet will take over. Time will tell.