October 22, 2019
October 22, 2019
Contributor: Kasey Panetta
Technologies from AI to cryptocurrency and online shopping are changing how we live and what it means to be human. CIOs and IT leaders must help their organizations adapt in this changing world.
In Japan, one restaurant is exploring artificial intelligence (AI) robotics technology to enable paralyzed employees to remotely pilot robotic waiters. JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft and Ford are hosting virtual career fairs tailored to the needs of neurodiverse candidates. Enterprise Rent-A-Car integrated braille-reader technology into its reservations system for blind employees.
Using AI to increase accessibility at work is one of the Gartner Top 10 strategic predictions for 2020 and beyond. The predictions examine how technology is changing the definition of what it means to be human, and IT leaders must be prepared to adapt in a changing environment.
“As the digital age progresses, assumptions around the fixed nature of ‘what’ humans are is beginning to be challenged,” said Daryl Plummer, Distinguished VP Analyst, & Gartner Fellow at Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo 2019 in Orlando, Florida. “Technology, and its applications, are poised to affect every aspect of what we call humanity and the conditions in which humans must live.”
Daryl Plummer, Gartner Distinguished VP, Analyst explains how technologies will change the way we live during the session Gartner’s Top Strategic Predictions for 2020 and Beyond: Contemplating the Human Condition.
For IT, the temptation to assert control might increase as human augmentation technology becomes more prevalent, but the business opportunity lies in exploiting increased interest in BYOE. Currently, industries like automotive and mining are using wearables to increase worker safety, while travel and healthcare are using wearables to increase productivity. As these technologies evolve, organizations will begin to consider how physical augmentations can be leveraged in personal and professional lives. Balance security with the organizational benefits of BYOE.
In the U.S., only 30% of labor force participants with disabilities are employed. This represents a huge untapped talent pool during a time when hiring managers are warning about the availability of talent and its effect on the future of organizations.
Necessary changes will range from the cultural (i.e., removing the term “stand-up” meeting) to the technical (i.e., adjusting legacy systems to be more accessible.) Organizations that actively employ people with disabilities experience 89% higher retention rates, a 72% increase in employee productivity and a 29% increase in profitability. Plus, added diversity means added perspectives. Employees with disabilities bring a new lens to product development, increasing the potential for a product that appeals to a new client base.
With the increasing availability of consumer data, marketers are able to pinpoint exactly which consumer will buy their product and at what point in the buyer journey. As technology grows more sophisticated, marketers will be able to more accurately predict what consumers want, how to price products and where to position them.
But this comes at a price. As consumers purchase more products they don’t need and can’t afford, businesses will need to take responsibility to warn potential buyers, similar to how U.S. casinos must promote responsible gambling. Businesses may also see increased pressure by governments and consumer groups to take responsibility for exploitative or irresponsible practices.
With the increasing popularity of sensors that track biometrics and the evolution of artificial emotional intelligence, businesses will be able to detect consumer emotions and use this knowledge to increase sales. Along with environmental and behavior indicators, biometrics enable a deeper level of hyperpersonalization. Brands should be transparent and educate consumers about how their data is being collected and used.
The Internet of Behavior (IoB) will be used to link a person digitally to their actions. For example, linking your image as documented by facial recognition with an activity such as purchasing a train ticket can be tracked digitally.
IoB will also be used to encourage or discourage a particular set of behaviors. For example, Allstate’s Drivewise and State Farm’s HiRoad programs track driver behavior in exchange for higher (i.e. speeding, unsafe driving) or lower (i.e. safe driving, reasonable speed). However, concerns exist around the ethical implications of expanding this technology to reward or punish certain behaviors with access to social services such as schools or assisted housing.
Historically, organizations have offered employees a “one-size-fits-all” application solution. Regardless of job description or needs, each employee operated within the same business application. Employees fit their job to the application — sometimes to the detriment of their own job. In the future, business units or central IT will receive capabilities in building block form, enabling them to create individual “playlists” of applications customized to specific employee needs and jobs.
As marketplaces and social media platforms begin supporting cryptocurrency payments, much of the world will shift to mobile-accessible cryptocurrency accounts; Africa is expected to have the highest growth rates. These cryptocurrency accounts will also drive e-commerce as trading partners emerge in areas previously unable to access capital markets.
Although fake news has existed for centuries, social media bots have rapidly accelerated the rate at which this deliberate disinformation can be spread. In addition to traditional news stories, technology is being used to create convincing fake audio and video. However, organizations and governments are now turning to technology to help counter fake news, for example, by using blockchain technology to authenticate news photographs and video, as the technology creates an immutable and shared record of content that ideally is viewable to consumers.
AI technology is vulnerable to implicit and explicit bias, logic gaps and general algorithm complexities. At scale, these biases can affect entire groups of people and, depending on the AI’s purpose, the impact can be severe. Regulating AI is challenging, but industries will need to create standardization around development and certifications, as well as a set of professional standards for ethical AI usage.
Large organizations will struggle with digital innovation as they recognize the challenges of technology modernization and the costs of simplifying operational interdependence. Smaller, more agile organizations, by contrast, will have an opportunity to be first to market as larger organizations exhibit lackluster immediate benefits.
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Recommended resources for Gartner clients*:
Top Strategic Predictions for 2020 and Beyond: Technology Changes the Human Condition by Daryl Plummer, et al.
*Note that some documents may not be available to all Gartner clients.