A more immersive and deeper partnership with machines is expected, according to the new research.

Dell Technologies (NYSE:DELL) released the Future of Connected Living – a new research exploring how emerging technologies will transform how we live by the year 2030. The research, conducted in partnership with Institute for the Future (IFTF) and Vanson Bourne, also surveyed 1,100 business leaders across 10 countries in Asia Pacific & Japan (APJ), including Malaysia. The findings detail a future brimming with opportunity as advancing technologies hold the potential to drive human progress across the world.

Emerging technology driving major shifts

IFTF and a forum of global experts forecast that technologies such as edge computing, 5G, AI, Extended Reality (XR) and IoT will combine to create five major “shifts” in the coming decade. These shifts will have the power to change lives across the globe.

IFTF forecasts the following shifts between now and 2030:

  1. Networked Reality: Over the next decade cyberspace will become an overlay on top of our existing reality as our digital environment extends beyond televisions, smartphones and other displays;
  2. Connected Mobility and Networked Matter: The vehicles of tomorrow will essentially be mobile computers. We will trust them to take us where we need to go in the physical world as we interact in the virtual spaces available to us wherever we are;
  3. From Digital Cities to Sentient Cities: Cities will quite literally come to life through their own networked infrastructure of smart objects, self-reporting systems and AI-powered analytics;
  4. Agents and Algorithms: We will each be supported by a highly personalised “operating system for living” that is able to anticipate our needs and proactively support our day-to-day activities to free up time;
  5. Robot with Social Lives: Robots will become our partners in life – enhancing our skills and extending our abilities. Robots will share newfound knowledge to their social robot network to crowdsource innovations and accelerate progress, in real time.

“Our connection and relationship to technology will likely be vastly different in 2030 and we believe that the most successful relationships between human beings and machines will be those that are symbiotic and make use of their respective complementary strengths,” contributing expert, Amit Midha, President, Asia Pacific & Japan and Global Digital Cities, Dell Technologies, commented.

He further added: “Seventy-five percent of the business leaders surveyed across Asia Pacific and Japan welcomed people partnering with machines and robots to surpass our human limitations. We can harness technology to create new ways of living, optimise productivity, and balance work and life more effectively, while making our cities more sustainable, efficient and liveable.”

Commenting on the growing adoption of emerging technologies in Malaysia, KT Ong, Country Manager – Malaysia, Dell Technologies, said: “Emerging technologies will transform our lives in ways that we’ve never experienced before. Malaysia is already looking ahead and investing in a digitised future, with significant plans taking shape to address emerging issues that would drive the digital economy.”

The government’s National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) is a prime example of a strategic effort to boost the country’s economic competitiveness by democratising connectivity for all Malaysians, while preparing the nation for the Industrial Revolution 4.0.

Starting with 5G, Malaysia is set to deploy the technology with the nationwide roll-out of project demonstrations, for example the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) projects underway in six states, and partnerships between telco companies and technology providers. “It’s important for us to continue discussing and exploring how we will realise this future with immersive human-machine partnerships,” Ong added.

Anticipating Change

Many businesses in APJ are already preparing for these shifts. For example, the survey revealed the following perceptions from business leaders:

  • 80% (82% in Malaysia) expect they will restructure the way they spend their time by automating more tasks;
  • 70% (83% in Malaysia) would welcome people partnering with machines/robots to surpass our human limitations;
  • More than half of businesses in APJ and Malaysia surveyed indicated that they anticipate Networked Reality becoming commonplace:
    • 63% (67% in Malaysia) say they would welcome day-to-day immersion in virtual and augmented realities; and
    • 62% (63% in Malaysia) say they would welcome people being fitted with technology that controls computers with their minds (brain computer interfaces).

Navigating Challenges

These major technology-led shifts may challenge people and organisations that are grappling with change, according to the research. Organisations that wish to harness the power of new emerging technologies will need to take steps to effectively collect, process and deploy data to keep pace with the rapid rate of innovation.

Additionally, concerns around the fairness of algorithms that are likely to do everything from deciding how companies hire to who is eligible for loans must be addressed, as will growing concerns from the public about data privacy. Governments will need to learn how to work together to share and deploy their data if cities are to go from digital to sentient.

Business leaders in APJ are already anticipating some of these challenges and concerns about robots with social lives:

  • 78% surveyed (88% in Malaysia) expect that in 2030 they will be more concerned about their privacy than they are today;
  • 74% of surveyed businesses leaders (83% in Malaysia) say they consider data privacy to be a top societal-scale challenge that must be solved; and
  • 49% surveyed (56% in Malaysia) would welcome machines becoming self-aware.

Other concerns and challenges indicated include the use of AI, with 49% (43% in Malaysia) calling for regulation and clarity on how AI is used, as well as the issue of navigating the impact of digital disruption, with 84% (85% in Malaysia) admitting that digital transformation should be more widespread throughout their organisation.

To execute the research, IFTF relied on its decades-long study on the future of work and technology, the latest Dell Technologies research, and experts from across the globe. The Future of Connected Living is the third and final part in a three-part research series that includes The Future of the Economy and The Future of Work, both of which were released earlier in 2019.