Forecasting How Humans Will Interact with Machines by 2030

The Dell-IFTF report forecasts that emerging technologies, supported by massive advancements in software, big data and processing power, will reshape lives and that society will enter a new phase in its relationship with machines.


Dell Technologies has partnered with the Institute for the Future (IFTF) and 20 global experts to take a look more than a decade into the future to see how fruitful relationships might be among humans, machines and new technology.

The study, released July 12, examines these changing relationships and how they will manifest themselves in society, business and work during the next 13 years. This has resulted in the new report, “The Next Era of Human Machine Partnerships” (PDF format).

IFTF is an independent, Silicon Valley-based, non-profit research organization with nearly 50-year track record of helping all kinds of organizations make the futures they want. To build this forecast, IFTF worked with a broad range of experts–ranging from tech, academics and business expert–and drawn from a variety of countries, demographics and ages.

Looks Ahead to 2030

The research looks forward to 2030 and anticipates some of the key shifts shaping our lives and how we will work over that period of time.

The report forecasts that emerging technologies, supported by massive advancements in software, big data and processing power, will reshape lives and that society will enter a new phase in its relationship with machines.

Highlights include:

  • By 2030, every organization will be a technology organization, and as such, businesses need to start thinking today about how to future-proof their infrastructure and workforce.
  • Technology will offer greater efficiency and possibility than ever, helping humans transcend their limitations.
  • Humans will serve as "digital conductors" in which technology will work as an extension of people, helping to better direct and manage daily activities.
  • People will learn in the moment, because the pace of change will be so rapid that new industries will be created and new skills will be required to survive.

Dell Technologies commissioned the study to help companies navigate an uncertain world and prepare for the future. Today, Dell said, digital disruption is ruthlessly redrawing industries. For the first time in modern history, global leaders can't predict how their industry will fare further in the future, Dell said.

According to Dell's Digital Transformation Index, 52 percent of senior decision makers across 16 countries have experienced significant disruption to their industries as a result of digital technologies. Nearly half of all  businesses believe there's a possibility their company will become obsolete within the next three to five years.

Discussed at Dell EMC World Back in May

Rachel Maguire, Research Director at Institute for the Future, and Dell Technologies Chief Marketing Director Jeremy Burton made a presentation to tech reporters and analysts on this topic at the recent Dell EMC World in Las Vegas.

"Never before has the industry experienced so much disruption. The pace of change is very real, and we're now in a do-or-die landscape. To leap ahead in the era of human-machine partnerships, every business will need to be a digital business, with software at its core," Burton said. "But organizations will need to move fast and build capacity in their machines, ready their infrastructure and enable their workforce in order to power this change."

Society has been exposed to two extreme perspectives about machines and the future: The anxiety-driven issue of technological unemployment or the over-optimistic view that technology will cure all our social and environmental ills, Maguire said.

"Instead, we need to focus on what the new relationship between technology and people could look like and how we can prepare accordingly. If we engage in the hard work of empowering human-machine partnerships to succeed, their impact on society will enrich us all," Maguire said.

Other report highlights include:

  • 2030 humans' reliance on technology will evolve into a true partnership with humans, bringing skills such as creativity, passion and an entrepreneurial mindset. This will align with the machines' ability to bring speed, automation and efficiencies, and the resulting productivity will allow for new opportunities within industries and roles.
  • By 2030 personalized, integrated artificial intelligence (AI) assistants will go well beyond what assistants can do now. They'll take care of us in predictive and automated ways.
  • Technology won't necessarily replace workers, but the process of finding work will change. Work will cease to be a place but a series of tasks. Machine-learning technologies will make individuals' skills and competencies searchable, and organizations will pursue the best talent for discrete tasks.
  • An estimated 85 percent of jobs in 2030 haven't been invented yet. The pace of change will be so rapid that people will learn "in-the-moment" using new technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality. The ability to gain new knowledge will be more valuable than the knowledge itself.
Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...