By Mohammed Amin, Senior Vice President at Dell EMC, META
We’ve lived and worked alongside machines for centuries, but in 2018, these partnerships will be more interwoven into our day-to-day lives and more immersive than ever before, transforming everything from the way businesses are run and the importance we place on security to how entertainment is provided.
Stemming from the “Next Era of Human-Machine Partnership” report” that Dell Technologies and the Institute for the Future (IFTF), published this summer, Dell Technologies leaders have come together to share the impact AI, AR, IoT and cloud computing will have in helping organizations, and our lives, digitally transform in 2018.
Emerging technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and advances in Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud computing – made possible through exponential developments in software, analytics, and processing power – are augmenting and accelerating this direction.
This is evident in our connected cars, homes, business and banking transactions already; even transforming how farmers manage their crops and cattle. Given this dizzying pace of progress, let’s take a look at what’s coming down the pike next.
AI will do the ‘thinking tasks’ at speed
Over the next few years, AI will change the way we spend our time acting on data, not just curating it. Businesses will harness AI to do data-driven “thinking tasks” for them, significantly reducing the time they spend scoping, debating, scenario planning and testing every new innovation.
It will mercifully release bottlenecks and liberate people to make more decisions and move faster, in the knowledge that great new ideas won’t get stuck in the mire.
Some theorists claim AI will replace jobs, but these new technologies may also create new ones, unleashing new opportunities for humans. For example, we’ll see a new type of IT professional focused on AI training and fine-tuning. These practitioners will be responsible for setting the parameters for what should and shouldn’t be classified good business outcomes, determining the rules for engagement, framing what constitutes ‘reward’ and so on.
Embedding the IQ of Things
Starting in 2018, we’ll take gargantuan strides in embedding near-instant intelligence in IoT-enhanced cities, organizations, homes, and vehicles. With the cost of processing power decreasing and a connected node approaching $0, soon we’ll have 100 billion connected devices, and after that a trillion.
The magnitude of all that data combined, processing power with the power of AI will help machines better orchestrate our physical and human resources.
We’ll evolve into ‘digital conductors’ of the technology and environments surrounding us. Technology will function as an extension of ourselves. Every object will become smart and enable us to live smarter lives.
A deeper relationship with customers
Dell Technologies’ Digital Transformation Index shows that 45% of leaders in mid to large organizations believe they could be obsolete within 5 years and 78% see start-ups as a threat to their business. It’s never been more important to put the customer experience first.
Over the next year, with predictive analytics, machine learning (ML) and AI at the forefront, companies will better understand and serve customers at, if not before the point of need. Customer service will pivot on perfecting the blend between man and machine. So, rather than offloading customer interactions to first generation chatbots and predetermined messages, humans and automated intelligent virtual agents will work together as one team
Bias check will become the next spell check
Over the next decade, emerging technologies such as VR, AI, will help people find and act on information without interference from emotions or external prejudice, while empowering them to exercise human judgment where appropriate.
In the short-term, we’ll see AI applied to hiring and promotion procedures to screen for conscious and unconscious bias.
Meanwhile VR will increasingly be used as an interview tool to ensure opportunities are awarded on merit alone, e.g. by masking a prospective employee’s true identity with an avatar.
We’ll journey toward the “mega-cloud”
Cloud is not a destination. It’s an IT model where orchestration, automation and intelligence are embedded deeply into IT Infrastructure. In 2018, businesses are overwhelmingly moving toward a multi-cloud approach, taking advantage of the value of all models from public to private, hosted, managed and SaaS.
However, as more applications and workloads move into various clouds, the proliferation of cloud siloes will become an inevitability, thus inhibiting the organization’s ability to fully exploit data analytics and AI initiatives. This may also result in applications and data landing in the wrong cloud leading to poor outcomes.
As a next step, we’ll see the emergence of the “mega cloud”, which will weave together multiple private and public clouds to behave as a coherent, holistic system. The mega cloud will offer a federated, intelligent view of an entire IT environment.
To make the mega cloud possible, we will need to create multi-cloud innovations in networking (to move data between clouds), storage (to place data in the right cloud), compute (to utilize the best processing and acceleration for the workloads), orchestration (to link networking, storage and compute together across clouds) and, as a new opportunity, customers will have to incorporate AI and ML to bring automation and insight to a new level from this next generation IT environment.
The year to sweat the small stuff
In this increasingly interconnected world, our reliance on third parties has never been greater. Organizations aren’t simple atomic instances; rather, they are highly interconnected systems that exist as part of something even bigger.
The ripples of chaos spread farther and faster now that technology connects us in astonishing ways. Consider that one of the most substantial data breaches in history occurred because attackers used credentials to log into a third-party HVAC system.
Due to our increasingly interwoven relationship with machines, small subtle failures can lead to mega failures.
Hence, next year will be a year of action for multinational corporations, further inspired by the onslaught of new regulations such as GDPR. Prioritizing the implementation of cybersecurity tools and technologies to effectively protect data and prevent threats will be a growing imperative.