Michael Dell: Technology must reflect our humanity and our values

While technology can amplify human genius, it can also amplify human frailty, and the Dell Technologies CEO is urging those building to build a future that reflects the best of humanity.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor
Dell Technologies World 2019
Image: Supplied

Michael Dell, CEO of the group of companies under the banner of Dell Technologies, has shared his vision for a future built by technologists, to be consumed by "re-imagined" organisations in areas such as healthcare or government.

The chief used his Dell Technologies World day one keynote to appeal to the contemplative side of those in the technology space, sharing his company's culture of "technology optimism" and asking others to approach the future in a similar way.

"Humankind has made astonishing progress in the last few decades ... nothing short of miraculous, but it was all a pre-game show; the next three decades will hold more progress than ever before," he said.

The real progress, Dell said, rejecting the technology gimmicks that often hold airtime, will be advancements such as the eradication of deafness and blindness, mostly through artificial intelligence (AI).

"A new age of miracles is literally around the corner," Dell said. "We're technologists and we share an awesome responsibility -- it's up to us to ensure that technology reflects our humanity and our values.

"While technology can amplify human genius, it can also amplify human frailty."

Discussing the concept of unconscious bias in AI, Dell said his company is also experimenting within where its hiring practices are concerned, specifically taking the approach of making sure that bias is not reflected in its technologies.

"We're using AI to enable that .. I don't think that anyone has completely figured that out," he said. "We have to make sure these technologies reflect us.

"Creating a more inclusive world is super important and access to technology is also in some ways a democratiser and a way to drive progress faster. That requires a constructive environment ... to enable that new technology to take hold."

While Dell said it's hard to predict what "miracles" will in fact take hold in the future, he said it's clear what the ingredients will be.

With his company celebrating its 35th birthday in a few days, the CEO took the opportunity to also detail what its focus is, following on from Dell Technologies returning to public trading in December.

"[We've] created the essential infrastructure company," he said. "We're growing, we're gaining share, we're investing in our business ... and were integrative and innovating like never before."

He said Dell Technologies has spent $20 billion on R&D in the last five years; it also boasts 20,000 engineers, scientists, and PhDs "enabling your digital future" and "building the solutions that address your future needs".

The CEO wants to build a "culture of technology optimism".

"Technology overwhelmingly improves our lives, but it also comes with challenges and we assume those challenges for better lives on the global scale. This is why we all come together. We're working together with you to build a better world," he said.

According to Dell, every business, every organisation, every government, and every healthcare organisation needs to "re-imagine itself in this digital age". He said the data tsunami is the world's greatest asset and its most important resource.

It's the "basis of the universe we're all creating" he said.

"Turning it into outcomes and success is the heart of digital transformation -- we now have more tools than ever before: Advance computer science, artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, and now highly automated infrastructures ... now we add 5G -- a revolution is taking shape.

"Our mission is to advance human progress."

Disclaimer: Asha Barbaschow travelled to Dell Technologies World as a guest of Dell Technologies  

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