Forecasting the Future of the Economy

By Howard Elias, President, Services & Digital, Dell Technologies

At Dell Technologies, we talk a lot about technology as the engine driving human progress—and around the world, progress is happening at a pace and scale we hadn’t imagined. And we’re just getting started!

There are many things we can attribute it to: innovation in emerging technologies, improvement in compute, storage and networking and data sciences—and that’s before the full promise of artificial intelligence, machine learning, 5G, IoT and more are realized. And don’t forget the generations of digital natives demanding more—more processing power, more data, more tools—so they can solve complex problems and innovate in a world no longer limited to the physical.

The opportunity for all of humanity is enormous, which inspired us in 2017 to team up with the Institute for the Future (IFTF) to take a closer look at where we’re headed. What we discovered is we are entering a new era of human-machine partnerships.

But if you’re like me, you want to know what it means for us humans, our economy, our society and the way we will live and work in the future.

Today, we are releasing the first in a three-part research series to explore those questions. This first edition looks ahead to the global economy of 2030.

Looking Ahead to 2030

In the era of human-machine partnerships, we get ever closer to an economy where people and technologies together enable new, disruptive models of commercialization that reduce friction and create new marketplaces to the benefit of all of humanity. This in turn leads to a fairer, more efficient and productive society.

While that may seem too utopian for some, the signals of change are already here. For example, a growing U.S.-based company called AeroFarms is combining sophisticated sensing, IoT devices and data analytics to reinvent agriculture and feed an ever-growing global population, sustainably. Its indoor vertical farms are 390 times more productive than conventional field farms, use no pesticides and up to 95 percent less water, and can be built virtually anywhere.

This kind of human-machine partnership, fueled by technology, data and human creativity, has the potential to feed the world—taking friction out of the global economy and society. That’s human progress at scale.

3 Economic Shifts Headed Our Way

The latest IFTF research describes three large-scale economic shifts that could transform the future of the economy by 2030:

  1. Machines become consumers. They will comparison shop, self-heal, self-replenish and address our needs, autonomously.
  2. Anticipatory production. Industries will harness technology to anticipate and meet targeted customer demands on the fly.
  3. Inclusive economies. Emerging technologies will level the playing field for emerging economies and, in some cases, give them the advantage to leap ahead of the competition.

However, these benefits are not guaranteed. A degree of agency and preparedness is required, including responsible regulation of intelligent machines and safeguards to protect and secure customer and commercial data.

The next ten years will set the stage for tremendous growth and opportunity—but only for those who are ready. I encourage you to read the full report and consider what you can do now to prepare for and influence the future of our economy.