Let’s be clear: robots are not going to take all the human jobs or decimate the species by 2030. But, according to a Dell Technologies report, they will play a larger role in enterprises and society.
“Look, probably 98 percent of everything I’ve seen either in official analysts’ reports or objective reports or even movies is this doom-and-gloom scenario around the fact that machines are going to take over and humans are going to have no place,” said Gaurav Chand, Dell’s SVP of marketing.
The Dell Technologies’ research, on the other hand, says emerging technologies, enabled by software-defined networking (SDN) advances, will reshape human relationship with machines. Researchers focused on four categories of technologies for this report: robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), and cloud computing.
Humans will be the “digital conductors” of these technologies, which will essentially serve as extensions of people, the report says. And it estimates that 85 percent of jobs in 2030 haven’t been invented yet.
Chand compares it to pre- and post-industrial revolution jobs. “We are exactly at that point, but it’s not the industrial revolution. It’s the digital revolution.”
Of course, technology companies including Dell have a financial interest in pushing this digital revolution. To this end, Dell Technologies — whose brands include Dell, Dell EMC, Pivotal, RSA, SecureWorks, Virtustream, and VMware — regularly promotes its role in helping customers achieve “digital transformation.” This means every business is a digital business, supported by software, big data, and cloud computing.
So it’s no surprise that that the new report suggests digital transformation is essential to enterprises’ success in this new era of human-machine partnerships. But it’s also hard to argue that a digital revolution isn’t already underway.
“Ten years ago, you’d have a storage administrator, a server administrator, and a network administrator,” Chand said. “There was no job in existence for a converged administrator. And yet today, with software-based taking over and converged and hyperconverged, now you see this notion of a converged infrastructure administrator. This was not in existence 10 years ago.”
He also points out that it’s now software driving the car industry.
“Imagine car companies 10 years ago thinking they would essentially be software companies,” he said. “Today you see GE, Ford, a lot of incumbents born well ahead of the digital era embracing those pieces. A lot of what history has taught us is that humans don’t become irrelevant, but to be relevant they have to be transformative to learn new skills and be able to adapt to the future.”
These next-gen technologies — from 5G and VR to edge computing — require advanced networking capabilities as well.
“Imagine a world in which you now have AR and VR, delivering ultra-rich content, so the user really gets the impact,” he said. “Imagine the networking bandwidth required. Look at the world of automated vehicles and the role edge computing and networking plays in that.”
For enterprises, this means training employees to use emerging technologies and acquire new skills sets, Chand said, pointing to DevOps as an example.
Another critical piece: meeting customers’ expectations when it comes things like real-time delivery, and ensuring outputs from machine-learned systems are accurate — and in line with the organizations’ values and reputation. In other words, companies don’t want to create another racist AI chatbot.
Reevaluating the connectedness between security and business strategies will play a central role as well. Businesses should develop risk-mitigating security strategies that both prevent attacks and also quickly respond to and resolve incidents when they occur.
“Falling victim to security breaches is no longer a technology problem, but a business problem,” the report says.
Chand suggests a two-fold security approach. “One is an internal SOC [security operations center]. But so many threats live outside a company’s walls that they also need a managed service externally, keeping them updated about what’s going on across the globe and how to address these before they even become a threat to the organization.”
Key takeaways for enterprises include start preparing now for 2030.
“Embrace digital as the future,” Chand said. “Don’t wait. Start thinking about the technological aspects but more importantly, the people and process angles today. You face the choice of transforming or literally dying.”
And then, the robots win.