Michael Dell celebrated his company’s upcoming 35th birthday with a keynote address at Dell Technologies’ World Conference. Hosted in Las Vegas, the convention will run from May 4 to 7 and Dell opened with his thoughts on the future in his Architects of Innovation speech.
“Humankind has made astonishing progress in the last few decades…nothing short of miraculous, but it was all a pre-gameshow; the next three decades will hold more progress than ever before,” he said. Dell urged the audience to pass on novel tech-toys that take up valuable air-time and focus on the higher purpose that technological progress offers humanity.
He invited digital natives to join Dell in their culture of “technological optimism” and to work towards that better future. “A new age of miracles is literally around the corner,” Dell said.
He pointed to important work being done by Draper Labs following the 2018 fire-storm that struck a Sierra foothills community. In what was to become known as California’s most destructive and deadliest fire in history, the town of Paradise was engulfed in flames after the wind-fueled Camp fire funneled through Feather River Canyon and set upon the city of 27,000.
The wind picked up big pieces of burning debris and blew them into buildings, immediately setting them alight. Toxic contaminants from commercial buildings, personal residences and vehicles became a concern once rain fell and pollutants poured into stormed drains and found their way into the local streams and rivers.
“The entire community of Paradise is a toxic wasteland right now,” said Melissa Schuster, town counselor and resident of the now-razed community, in an interview with ABC.
Using artificial intelligence and data analytics running on Dell Technologies platform, Draper is hoping to use information gathered from satellite imagery to develop a real picture of what the dispersal of toxic debris looks like after a fire. From there, Draper wants to build a predictive model for where the impurities might end up in the waterways so scientists know where to focus their efforts.
It’s data that’s driving the future in so many important ways, Dell says. “[It] is our greatest asset, and it’s also our most important resource. And data is unlike any other resource. Because it’s not only completely renewable, it’s also inexhaustible.”
Advances in computational power and innovative computer science such as artificial intelligence, neural networks and machine learning all contribute to insights, actions and outcomes that can be gained from all this information. The digital sky, in a manner of speaking, is the limit.
Dell outlined the company’s new hybrid cloud strategy which aims to integrate its data center and hybrid-cloud products with public cloud providers like Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure. The linchpin for Dell Technologies’ newly interconnected offering is provided by VMware, a company that provides cloud computing and platform virtualization software and services.
In conclusion, Dell asserts that with great power, comes great responsibility. “Technology overwhelmingly improves our lives, from fire, to the steam engine, until now. But it also comes with challenges. And we assume those challenges for the reward of better lives on a global scale, for the ability to move humanity forward by leaps and bounds,” he 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.”