LAS VEGAS – Business leaders have mixed feelings about how technology is going to impact their future, but that isn’t stopping Michael Dell from remaining optimistic about the future of AI and other emerging technologies.

“We want to share our vision of technology as a driver of human progress in every corner of the world,” said the chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies during his opening keynote at Dell Technologies World, while citing the work being done by the company’s customers. He was quick to point to AeroFarms, which is using AI and analytics to open the door for dense urban areas to grow food. “We talk often about technology solving our greatest challenges, and we’re making more progress more quickly than ever before.”

But it’s also making business leaders uneasy: While 82 per cent of them agree that they plan to become a software-defined business within five years, nearly half of them are unsure what that’s actually going to look like, and 57 per cent are struggling with the pace of change. The stats, collected by Dell Technologies, represent a unique challenge for them and their customers, said Dell, and it’s one the company is trying its best to respond to. The key to mitigating those challenges is using data effectively, he explained.

“If AI is your rocket ship, data is your fuel. Data will become your most valuable asset,” he said, adding smart cities will produce millions of new data points that will fuel the rocket.

Dell Technologies’ ‘Realizing 2030‘ study, a forecast for the ongoing digital transformation happening in various industries, will help the company and its customers stay on track and respond to the challenges voiced by businesses and organizations working with them. Allison Dew, Dell Technologies’ recently appointed chief marketing officer, said the Realizing 2030 study will help them understand their customers better.

Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies, kicks off the event with his keynote. Photo by Alex Coop.

In a breakout session after his keynote, Dell was asked about the dangers that come with the evolution of AI, a conversation often led by Elon Musk, who has said AI is more dangerous to humanity than a nuclear blast.

AI is really powerful and bad stuff could happen, but it’s all of our jobs to prevent that,” he responded. “I’m also much more optimistic … if you try to hold something back that’s powerful and fundamentally good, that’s just not going to work.”

Dell didn’t dismiss the idea of regulating AI, but said that could backfire as well.

He also took the time to tout the company’s worldwide market shares in areas such as servers and storage, where they currently hold the number one spot. The company expects to increase its worldwide share for the 21st consecutive quarter in PCs as well. Dell said the merger with EMC Corp., which was finalized in 2016, wasn’t perfect, but it was successful. They created $35 billion through the Dell Technologies channel and added 10,000 new business customers in its first year. They also paid down approximately $9.5 billion in debt.

Over 14,000 people are expected to attend Dell Technologies World 2018 this week. Actor Jeffrey Wright also made an appearance this morning and helped showcase how VR technology is helping to treat people suffering from PTSD through a new platform called BraveMind. Stayed tuned to ITWC for more coverage.



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