A future where humans and machines work alongside

It is becoming increasingly important for humans and machines to work together as a cohesive workforce

We live in a digital era where human-machine partnerships will not only help automate and coordinate our lives, but they will also transform how organizations find talent, manage teams, deliver products and services, and support professional development. It is becoming increasingly important for humans and machines to work together as a cohesive workforce—and Indian leaders are better aligned with this concept when compared to their regional and global counterparts. According to a recent study by Vanson Bourne—in which the research firm interviewed 3,800 business leaders across 17 countries—38% of Indian leaders agree that humans and machines are already working together successfully as an integrated team within their organizations.

Contrary to common perception, human-machine partnerships won’t result in reducing the number of jobs for people but, instead, create newer skill sets which are needed for humans and technology to work alongside seamlessly. It is crucial for organizations to be aware of this and evolve accordingly. This is because digital disruption is ruthlessly redrawing commerce.

Predicting how an industry will fare further down the line has never been more difficult because of the swift changes brought on by technology—and with such swift changes comes uncertainty. Organizations now have to navigate unchartered waters, cognizant that if they don’t rapidly transform, they could face a turbulent future—or no future at all. After all, 88% of Fortune 500 companies that were thriving less than 50 years ago are no longer on the list—a worrying sign for any business regardless of how stable it may feel now.

Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), robotics and the Internet of Things, to name a few, will accelerate and augment the digital advancement. Underpinned by massive advancements in software, Big Data and processing power, we have entered a world with amazing new possibilities.

In fact, globally, businesses plan to triple their investments in advanced AI within five years. India, too, will see the same enthusiasm with investments in AI jumping from 31% to 89% in the same time frame, along with the investment in AR/VR which is likely to move from the current 36% to 93%.

Rise of digital conductors

Today, more than 1,800 digital platforms exist that help us orchestrate our lives. These technologies are introducing us to the capabilities of coordinating technologies and resetting expectations about the ownership of fixed assets. Self-driven cars are quite literally fast approaching, and it is questionable if our children will ever have a driving licence as car ownership becomes ambiguous. Very soon, fast and affordable personal vehicles will be summoned through a few words of commands given to your watch, headset or phone—negating the need to fuel or even clean a vehicle (for most people).

Being equipped for human-machine collaboration

For me, whether it’s finding the right talent, teaching employees new skills or being able to call upon a whole menu of services at a moment’s notice, deeper human-machine partnerships is a huge force for change. We have worked and lived alongside machines for centuries, but by 2030, these partnerships will become deeper, richer and more immersive than ever before. They will help us surpass our own limitations and open up new possibilities—but we won’t be displaced by them.

In fact, according to the Vanson Bourne study, 64% of Indian leaders believe that we will be more productive by collaborating more in 2030, with 54% believing that we will have more job satisfaction by offloading tasks we don’t want to do, to intelligent machines.

To conclude, technology has already reshaped people’s lives and working habits, but we have just scratched the surface of what can be achieved as new innovations become ingrained into all we do. To make this dream a reality, organizations need to prepare now, or be prepared to eat the competition’s dust. By 2030 every organization will be a digital organization, powered by software and analytics, enabling and powering human-machine teams. If organizations do not prepare themselves today—by readying their workforce, technology, security—they will be left far behind.

Alok Ohrie is president and managing director (India commercial) at Dell EMC.