VMWare’s CEO share his view on why we Tech is still exciting

I spent a good part of this week at Dell Technology World, their big customer event in Las Vegas that highlights Dell, EMC, VM Ware, Pivotal and all of the business that are now part of Dell. In the past, this event has been called Dell World and Dell EMC World but this year, given that Dell is now multiple companies with many different business all working together, they decided to change the name of the event to Dell Technology World to reflect their updated company focus.

Michael Dell kicked off the event with a keynote that laid out his vision for Dell’s future in which Dell’s innovation will drive business transformation and will be the driver of human progress. Michael is an optimist and feels technology’s role should be to do good and make peoples lives better and companies run more smoothly and efficiently. He does admit that it can also be used for evil but said that it is really up to us in the world of tech to make sure that does not happen and be very much aware of our role in keeping tech moving in positive directions and not used for nefarious purposes. Here is a link to his keynote that shares in more detail how Mr. Dell is driving Dell in new directions.

The second big keynote came from Pat Gelsinger, the CEO of VMWare. I know Pat from his Intel days and while he was at Intel it was clear that he was being groomed to be their future CEO, But when he was passed over and Paul Otellini got the job, he eventually went to VMWare, where he has driven great growth for this important software company, which is now part of EMC and in turn, part of Dell. Pat’s keynote was much about the role VM Ware plays in digital transformation but the title of his keynote was “”Innovate in everything and anything: any device, any app, any cloud”.

In a recent piece in Fortune’s Data Sheet, VMWare’s CEO shared his view of the new superpowers of tech-Smartphones, Cloud Computing, IOT and AI.

In Gelsinger’s view of the world, Mobile phones now connect half the world, translating into “unlimited reach.” Cloud computing offers “unlimited scale,” or computing capability beyond the wildest dreams of the industry’s pioneers. The connecting power of sensors everywhere “bridges the digital to physical and AI, he says, “brings intelligence to everything.”

What Mr. Gelsinger says is not new news to anyone following the tech industry. However, what I found important from his comments is that he believes tech is “breaking out of tech” and now infiltrating and integrating itself into every level of business processes and consumers lifestyles. To paraphrase his view, tech is ready for a great run and tech companies who focus on these four major aspects of, technology are well positioned to grow their companies and their impact on all levels of business and consumer markets.

Gelsinger does have one caveat to his tech excitement. He believes all of this tech activity and success puts a big burden on tech companies to be more responsible for their actions and make and sure what they do is “harness this technology as a force for good,” echoing Michael Dell’s sentiments.

After listening to both Michael Dell and Pat Gelsinger’s keynote and their extreme optimism about the role tech can and should play in humankind’s future but that it also has downsides, I think that Michael, Pat and all of the tech leaders need to attack this unintended threat or consequences more aggressively when ever possible.

While much has been written and said about data and security breaches and privacy issues from consumer services like Facebook and Twitter, I have not heard a great deal from the top officials of the major PC and software companies on their own thoughts of dealing with the negative side of tech.

If you have not watched Jarod Lanier’s Ted Talk from this year’s TED event, I encourage you to watch and listen to his warnings closely. While Lanier is an early prophet of VR and a huge fan of tech, in this speech he shares now that “this vision was haunted by the dark side of how it could turn out: with personal devices that control our lives, monitor our data and feed us stimuli.”

This is not to say that Michael Dell, Pat Gelsinger and leaders of big tech companies do not understand the dark side. But my sense is that while they have the right and obligation to share the positive aspect of tech, as Pat Gelsinger has said, we need to “harness tech for good.” And I would add that these companies need to start laying out how they plan to do that and what measures they have put in place to make sure tech is used for good and not evil.

To be fair, at Dell Technology World, security and privacy is a big deal and they have created many ways to make sure their customers data and privacy is secure. And if you know anything about Lenovo and HP, they too are big on security and privacy. But I think all of them need to be more vocal about the threats and negative potential of technology too. They need to make sure it is at the forefront of their customers thinking as they help them with digital transformation and how their companies are making sure their technologies are really used for good and not evil.

It boils down to, in my estimation, a need for all tech companies to be united in their effort to make their customers understand the value proposition of their individual technologies but also warn them of the potential for misuse. It is good for all of these tech companies to be optimistic about tech in general but they also need to make sure it can be used for the advancement of human progress as Michael Dell states and I will add, not the decline of civilization.

On a personal note I have been one of tech’s loudest cheerleaders over the last 37 years, but I have cringed many times over my career when I see tech being used for nefarious purposes. I too have been talking to all of the companies we deal with about the importance of balancing their excitement about their technology and when necessary, alerting customers to the potential downside that their technology could be used for in the real world.

While this may not be a great marketing message, it is a responsible one. Major tech players in the PC and CE market need to be as vocal about the good and bad aspects of tech as their counterparts in social media are being forced to due to now as a result of serious issues of privacy and security breaches in their businesses.

Like Mr. Dell and Mr. Gelsingerm I remain optimistic and excited about the future of Tech. Like them, I am more aware of the potential downside too. It is time for our tech industry leaders at all levels of leadership to speak up about the good as well as the bad tech can have on our world, and how they hope to use it for human progress and not human demise.

Published by

Tim Bajarin

Tim Bajarin is the President of Creative Strategies, Inc. He is recognized as one of the leading industry consultants, analysts and futurists covering the field of personal computers and consumer technology. Mr. Bajarin has been with Creative Strategies since 1981 and has served as a consultant to most of the leading hardware and software vendors in the industry including IBM, Apple, Xerox, Compaq, Dell, AT&T, Microsoft, Polaroid, Lotus, Epson, Toshiba and numerous others.

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