By Michael W. Young, Senior Vice President, Global Government Affairs & Public Policy, and Paige Fetzer, Americas Government Affairs
In 2017, Dell Technologies teamed up with the Institute for the Future (IFTF) to forecast what the “next era of human-machine partnerships” will look like by 2030. Together we observed a world that’s brimming with opportunity. Since then, emerging technologies have only continued to advance, drive human progress around the world and reshape society for the better.
Emerging technologies such as 5G/6G, artificial intelligence, IoT, distributed ledgers and cryptocurrencies are just some of the technologies radically transforming our world and the face of business. In a new report out today, the Institute for the Future posits that these technologies, combined with a more interwoven partnership between human and machine, will catalyze new, disruptive models of commercialization – and lead to a fairer, more efficient and productive society. They’re poised to radically transform the bedrock of our economy, remove age-old frictions and usher in new ways of conducting business and exchanging value.
Government’s Role in Emerging Technologies
With all of these significant changes, what is the role of government? Some of these changes will bring significant opportunities for societal benefit, while others will require responsible collaboration to address challenges and biases. As part of our quest to help customers transform their work and prepare for these changes, we will continue to offer research, insights, tools and collaboration sessions (check out all our work on Realizing 2030, including a focus on government’s role).
Propelling growth and development in Massachusetts
Massachusetts plays a significant role in the life of Dell Technologies. Not only are various state and local governments, higher institutions of learning, and businesses key customers, but EMC was founded in Hopkinton, Dell Technologies now has nearly 9,000 employees there, and our Massachusetts operations annually provide $4 billion in economic impact.
On April 22, 2019, in the Boston Museum of Science, Dell Technologies Chairman and CEO Michael Dell, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, and local government and business leaders came together for MassForward: A Vision for 2030, to discuss how the Commonwealth of Massachusetts can continue to lead on emerging technology and its implementation in the workplace. We focused on six issue areas: healthcare, the future of work, education, sustainability, manufacturing, and transportation.
Recommendations for Massachusetts to support progress
Part of the discussion focused on the critical roles that both the private sector and government play in working together with a sustained commitment to create a climate that allows industries to adapt and thrive as the development and use of emerging technologies only expands. Dell Technologies is fully committed to this partnership, and many other companies throughout the Commonwealth will continue to offer their commitment, as well.
With a vision for 2030 in mind, we offer a road map of three key steps:
- Form an Emerging Technologies Task Force
The state government should form a task force to centralize Mass Tech Collaborative and the Mass High Tech Council set strong examples for creating, launching, and managing programs that support technological advancements across sectors, a working group that is more directly tied to state government could serve to distill the full scope of initiatives and identify the most immediate opportunities for government to step up. The Task Force should provide regular recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature, monitor and report progress toward innovation goals laid out in past legislative and executive policy initiatives, and solicit input from all possible public and private stakeholders.
- Continue Modernizing the State’s Technology Infrastructure
The continuation and expansion of Massachusetts’ ongoing efforts to modernize government technology will be elemental to fully realizing innovation’s opportunities. Government technology deficiencies create safety, security and privacy consequences and inefficiently and ineffectively deliver services.
The recently enacted federal Modernizing Government Technology Act represents one framework for considering increased prioritization of technology upgrades. We suggest that the Commonwealth expand the use of currently available and near-term emerging technology – by adopting cloud-based data management, expanding IoT usage by seeking out “smart” fixed assets in government, and implementing government procurement reform to allow and encourage innovation – and explore additional research for technology that is earlier in the development process – such as robotics usage in select government services, blockchain systems, and smart cities initiatives focused on AI and machine learning.
- Boost STEM Education Investments
Massachusetts needs a diverse and well-educated workforce – with 21st century skills and STEM knowledge – to thrive in the global economy. Public-private partnerships will play a significant role in building competencies, expanding employment opportunities, broadening educational access to minority-serving institutions. We recommend that the state support direct private investment in existing programs to supplement public funds and grant-making, such as contributing toward private matching funds for an existing program in the state budget, supporting relevant job training programs, particularly at the state’s vocational technical schools and sponsoring statewide initiatives like Citizen Schools that promote STEM programming for K-12 students, and considering similar partnerships and alliances with programs designed to enable people with neuro-disabilities. And we recommend that the state supporting the use of STEM curricula and modules like Engineering is Elementary. Here are two examples how Dell Technologies supports local education initiatives:
- Dell Technologies and Northeastern University offer the Align Scholars program, where students from diverse academic and professional backgrounds can obtain a Masters of Computer Science.
- Dell Technologies and HMEA have developed a technology training initiative to help highly skilled people with autism to overcome some of the barriers to obtaining competitive positions.
Realizing the Digital Future
To be successful, a myriad of issues and complexities will need to be addressed within the landscape of deeper, more immersive interactions with machines. Business and civic leaders will need to work together – through collaboration, innovation and appropriate regulation – to tackle security and data privacy concerns, bias in AI and autonomous vehicle failures, job creation
and job elimination, and more.
A friction-free economy is not guaranteed – and comes with a degree of risk. However, at Dell Technologies, we’re seeing mounting evidence that technology is driving human progress and has the potential to redraw our
society and economy for the better by 2030.
If you’d like to join Dell Technologies and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on this emerging technology journey, please contact Paige Fetzer.
Download the MassForward whitepaper here.