Forecasting the Future of Work

By Glen Robson, CTO, Client Solutions Group, Dell Technologies

Dell Technologies’ mission is to drive human progress, and over the years we have seen powerful, emerging technologies transform how we live and work – it’s hard to imagine a world where content isn’t readily available at our fingertips and where devices don’t wake up and respond in an instant. Our rate of productivity continues to accelerate. Our customers are constantly evaluating how technology gives them the ability to drive greater productivity, plan ahead, operate more efficiently – all asks of the modern workforce today and certainly becoming even more important for the workforce of the future.

To explore the impact these emerging technologies could have on the world, we’ve been partnering with Institute for the Future (IFTF) to examine what the world will look like in 2030.

Earlier this year, we released the first installment in this three-part series exploring the future of the economy, and today we’re unveiling the second installment: The Future of Work. What we found was a future brimming with opportunities, and a new era of human-machine partnerships emerging.

Forecasting the Future of Work

The research indicates that over the coming decade, human-machine partnerships will radically shift in the workplace, driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI), Extended Reality (XR), IOT, new devices and multimodal interfaces. These technologies are set to revolutionize decision-making and collaboration throughout organizations and create more equitable workplaces.

The IFTF forecasts three shifts that could help shape a more inclusive, empowering and rewarding work environment:

  1. Inclusive Talent. Human and machine partnerships will create more equitable workplaces by evaluating candidates based on their capabilities, rather than gender, age or class.
  2. Empowered Workers. Employees will collaborate in entirely different, immersive ways using technologies such as XR, empowering workers more than ever before.
  3. AI Fluency. AI will complement and augment human capabilities rather than replace them, and a deep understanding of AI and human and machine systems will unlock human potential and set workers apart.

We recognize that many organizations are already awake to the transformative implications of emerging technology. In a separate Dell Technologies survey of 4600 business leaders across 40+ countries, we found that 86% plan to use emerging technologies to improve their workforce productivity, and 70% welcome people partnering with machines to surpass human limitations.

For example, ILP (Important Looking Pirates), one of Scandinavia’s biggest visual effects and digital animation studios, says that its digital future depends upon providing state-of-the art remote workstations to its artists, enabling them to easily shift between projects and areas. They can now securely connect to stunning visuals from remote locations, check in on a render and make the necessary edits much more rapidly. For ILP, harnessing technology is a human-centric activity. It unleashes creativity, boosts morale and productivity.

Transforming the data-driven workforce

We are in the “Data Era“, and for many businesses, it’s one of the most disruptive forces they’ve ever experienced – it’s game changing for how they innovate and drive better business processes – but also in how they empower their workforce through an end-to-end IT strategy that takes full advantage of all that data. They need powerful devices, apps and solutions that can effectively manage, analyze, process and protect that data – while ensuring their global workforce can remain connected and collaborative to deliver on the new possibilities at hand. Add in new AI “counterparts,” and you have organizations that need to evolve starting now to be ready for what’s ahead in 2030.

Organizations that modernize infrastructure, inspire employees and integrate the relevant applications will be at the advantage over organizations that struggle with legacy systems, data deluge and workforces that are resistant to change.

There will, of course, be challenges and complexities to realizing the potential of human-machine partnerships in the workplace. IFTF cited algorithmic bias, digital skills gap and workers’ rights and protections, to name a few. However, these challenges are solvable, and are already being addressed by some of today’s most digitally-forward organizations.

I encourage you to read the full report and consider what you can do now to prepare yourself and your organization for the future of work. Join us on our journey to help drive human progress and realize 2030!