Working with the application of the AI right now, I can say that AI will not replace consultants in the next 20-30 years, but rather will be one of the consultancy offerings:
- AI is not as powerful as you think about it. You can use AI to replace the manual labor but you cannot use AI to make the complex management decisions. Even if you use all HBS cases to teach this AI - this dataset will be still not enough:) Not even saying that it is extremely hard to label good and bad management decisions in this dataset, since the person labeling them should be a business guru himself. Moreover, most of the business decisions have a tradeoff.
- Consulting is a people business. AI can not talk to people. Clients invite the consultants not only because of their problem solving but also because the companies need someone with a consulting brand to be responsible for the management decision, they need external people who are not dealing with internal politics, people who can work across many departments. AI can't talk to people and collect their ideas, AI can't implement things, AI can't negotiate, while the consultants can.
- The clients will need the external support to implement AI. They need someone to structure it, organize the collection of data set, labeling, etc. Here consultants can help
- Consulting companies are actively building AI capabilities on their own. Although they are in the early beginning. Moreover, there are new rising AI consultancies and they are all trying to partner with MBBs to get access to the clients