Guest Feature

Guest blog: Entering the next era of human-machine partnerships

By Business & Finance
28 December 2017

Vice-President and General Manager of Dell EMC Ireland, Aisling Keegan, talks us through one of the hot topics in the tech world right now.

aisling keegan technology ireland

Aisling Keegan

If 2017 could be represented in one word, that word would be ‘change’. An increasing array of technological innovations has come to the market – transforming how we live and work.

Despite the disruption they bring about, emerging technologies have the potential to solve some of the problems faced by people and society and offer the opportunity for businesses to increase productivity. This view is backed up by a report from Dell Technologies and the Institute for the Future (IFTF) which was published in August of this year forecasting a new era of human-machine partnerships to be forged by 2030.

In this exciting new age, 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 – will help organisations throughout Ireland to adapt and realise their digital future.

To assist businesses in undertaking their journey of digital transformation in the year ahead, Dell Technologies has compiled predictions to explore the innovations that will come to the fore in 2018.

Prediction 1: 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.

Prediction 2: Embedding the IQ of Things
Starting in 2018, we’ll take gargantuan strides in embedding near-instant intelligence in IoT-enhanced cities, organisations, 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.

Prediction 3: We’ll don AR headsets
It also won’t be long until the lines between ‘real’ reality and augmented reality begin to blur. AR’s commercial viability is already evident. For instance, teams of construction workers, architects and engineers are using AR headsets to visualize new builds, coordinate efforts based on a single view of a development and train on-the-job laborers when a technician can’t be on site that day.

Prediction 4:  A deeper relationship with customers
Dell Technologies’ Digital Transformation Index shows that 45% of leaders in mid-to-large organisations believe they could be obsolete within five 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.

Prediction 5: 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.

Prediction 6: Media and entertainment will break new ground with eSports
In 2018, we’ll see increasingly vast numbers of players sitting behind screens or wearing VR headsets to battle it out in a high-definition, computer-generated universe. As hundreds of millions of players and viewers tune in, eSports will go mainstream.

Prediction 7: 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.

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 an intelligent view of an entire IT environment.

Prediction 8: The year to sweat the small stuff
In this increasingly interconnected world, our reliance on third parties has never been greater. Organisations 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.

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. Prioritising the implementation of cybersecurity tools and technologies to effectively protect data and prevent threats will be a growing imperative.

As a member of the Dell Technologies unique family of businesses, Dell EMC serves a key role in providing the essential infrastructure for organisations to build their digital future, transform IT and protect their most important asset, information. Dell EMC enables our enterprise customers’ IT and digital business transformation through trusted hybrid cloud and big-data solutions, built upon a modern data centre infrastructure that incorporates industry-leading converged infrastructure, servers, storage and cybersecurity technologies.