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HP Tech@Work
Today's trends for tomorrow's business
An Almost-Real Time Traveler Reveals the Future of IT

An Almost-Real Time Traveler Reveals the Future of IT

Jasmine W. Gordon

A glimpse into tomorrow’s workplace

By 2030, humans will have arrived on Mars, Google Glass-style technology will have spread everywhere, and currency will have become a mixture of bitcoin and pennies - at least, according to Noah, an alleged time traveler. In a video posted on the paranormal YouTube channel Apex TV, Noah delivers his tidings from 2030. With face and voice blurred, he underwent a polygraph test to detail his sometimes-comical claims about the future.
While it’s up to you to decide whether or not he’s bluffing, his claims spark an interesting question: How would a time traveler describe the future of IT?

Saraya, time traveler from 2034, paints a picture of the future of IT

For the purpose of entertainment only, we’ve secured a totally made-up interview with a time traveler named Saraya. She’s an IT employee from 2034 who’s willing to give you a glimpse into tomorrow’s workplace, and here’s what she had to say:

What does your workstation look like?

I don’t have a desktop computer or a smartphone. I wear a virtual reality headset that can synchronize with a smart watch and other wearable technology, and while I have a desk, it only houses my keyboard, my coffee cup, and some plants. The vast majority of my work is done in VR. Fortunately, my headset is a lot lighter and more fashionable than the clunky devices you use these days.
My teams collaborate in virtual space - I say teams, because I work with many different people from around the world based on requisite skills and assignments. Real-time translation technology really hit its stride around 2022. When combined with the fact that talent got even harder to find, the idea of expanding teams geographically became widely accepted and practiced, thanks to the ease brought about by digitization.

What office technology doesn’t exist in the future?

Those mammoth desk phones have been gone for a long time. We definitely don’t need to plug projectors into the sides of a computer anymore to share visual information, and routers and USB drives disappeared, of course. Tablets are a rarity, and on-site servers are also uncommon - they’re drastically smaller than what you’re used to.
In other ways, you may be surprised at what hasn’t changed. Conversational interfaces, which you may call chatbots, are an enormously popular form of workplace AI. Smart thermostats and lighting controls look about the same, too. And there are still advanced, multifunctional office printers around for the times when paper-based communication is the best route. Even though technology has evolved dramatically, some things haven’t changed, like the human sense of touch. When I really want to get a point across, I use print, because people can retain information better in print than on screens or in collaborative VR space.

What types of jobs will emerge in the future of IT?

Artificial intelligence technology supervisor is a role that’s been around for over 10 years. As workplace AI became increasingly common and smart, there was a need for people to supervise the integrity of AI. Generally, these sharp data scientists monitor inputs, outputs, and algorithms, as human oversight of AI employees is required for regulatory compliance.
Without giving too much away, the information security climate hasn’t gotten easier. Both hackers and cybersecurity teams started using more artificial intelligence technology for offense and defense, and just like the experts predicted, state-level attacks on infrastructures started to occur. While the threat vectors have undergone several changes since 2018, information security is now a 24/7 job involving a lot of human talent, AI, and automation.
I don’t know if this counts as an IT job, but almost every organization has a VR office designer who’s absolutely brilliant at making eye-popping, beautiful spaces in augmented reality for global teams to work in. The talent market is competitive, especially for security, and that’s one way companies keep us happy. When combined with the gorgeous physical offices, it’s a nice touch.

How should current IT teams prepare for what’s coming?

Great question! IT leaders should be prepared for the facts that technology is changing rapidly, security is growing more complex, and humans aren’t evolving at all. Designing the right office IT infrastructure for the future means constantly thinking about employee experience, security, and technological advancements.
  • Make tech easy for people: I don’t want to be rude, but aspects of your office user experience in 2018 sound downright clunky. Switching between computers and mobile devices? Having to remember a fleet of passwords? Better solutions are coming. As I’ve discovered with the value of print, people will continue wanting an experience that’s simple, easy, and pleasurable. Good UX is the same in 2018 as it will be 2034.
  • Buckle up for more cyber attacks: My recommendation for security is to prepare to scale - you’ll need to hire more talent, adopt more sophisticated solutions for automation, and learn how to integrate artificial intelligence technology into your security operations center. If you’ve got unsecured business printers and routers in your network, 2018 is the time to replace them.
  • Invest in functional technology: There’s been a load of technology that’s faded away between 2018 and 2034. I’m not going to spoil surprises and tell you which silly innovations fail, but I will tell you that proven investments are always the right way to direct your budget. Investing in technologies you know will be around for a while, like multifunction printers with top-notch performance and security features, is a smart move.

Get ready for the future

Is Saraya real, and could she pass a lie detector test? Definitely not.
Will her predictions come to pass? You’ll have to wait 16 years and see. However, taking immediate steps to prepare your office infrastructure for the future by investing in security, employee experience, and technology is wise, regardless.
Republished with permission from an article originally published on Tektonika.

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