Relationship between humans and technology changes dramatically

Just like last year, this year’s relationship between human and technology will also play an important role during the Gartner Symposium / ITXpo. As technology is getting smarter and interacts with technology in a different way, the CIO also has to take into account the relationship between human and technology. Compliance with laws and regulations, for example, is by definition not the same as dealing with data ethically, says Stephen Prentice, VP and research fellow at Gartner.

“I notice that this story for some CIOs is really an eye opener ,” says Stephen Prentice after his presentation in The Netherlands. “I notice that they did not think so deeply about the issue of digital transformation as needed. Traditionally, they tend to think about the technology component. And although this technology is definitely important – the trends are undeniable – this is often not linked to the broader social implications. ”

“Many CIOs find it challenging because they usually do not think about it. There are often silos where others are responsible. Someone else is responsible for business development, someone else is responsible for product development. The effect of digital changes in a broader sense is often not included in their considerations. ”


“The struggle of the CIO is to get used to the idea that they should play a role in a much wider playing field than before. Often they still see themselves as the technology expert. They have a business role, but in practice it is relatively limited. The challenge of digital transformation is much broader than many organizations think. Take the subject of digital ethics, and the implications for society. ”

“People see that society is changing, but they do not think about what they do with their own business. However, the relationship between people and technology is changing significantly. People interact with technology, beyond the use of technology. This calls for a broad debate within the organization, involving all executives.

Active role

An example of that changing relationship between man and technology is the appearance of robots, consciously designed to handle people positively with the robot. The same goes for the navigation systems in a car. “The way these systems communicate is well thought out. Technology uses the knowledge of human behavior and psychology to function more successfully. Technology is no longer just about design. It is talking to us, and its tone is important. ”

This means for the role of the CIO that it is no longer just about providing IT-related services. “As technology plays a bigger role, this gives an opportunity to play a more active role. As products become smarter and connected, it is both IT and business. There is the cyber security aspect involved. The question how you integrate it into the company is a task for the CIO. And what do you do with the data, how do you do it, do you comply with all laws and regulations? And if you do it properly, the question remains whether you do it ethically. That does not have to be the same. These are issues that CIOs never thought about a few years ago. And the CIO can still think it’s not its responsibility, but somebody has to do it. The CIO has the best position to take the lead.


This development of technology also has a lot of impact on the role of other executives. “When digital activities directly generate sales, this is relevant to the CFO. Digitalization, for example, does not always require the ownership of certain assets, which you may also be able to take online on a different basis. When AirBNB and Uber entered the market, they could compete based on a significantly lower amount of own assets than existing companies. So the question is how to learn, and operate with your own organization. That affects every aspect of the organization. ”

AI, for example, is a technology that, according to him, has developed from a failed experiment to the driving force behind major changes. “In terms of the first goals, namely the human brain imitation, it has become a big failure. Because AI is not intelligent. It is a computer system, which, thanks to machine learning , is able to come up with all kinds of useful insights. Drones, robotics and automation are now driven by AI. AI is complex, compare it with quantum mechanics.

It is not just the problem of the CIO. It’s the problem of everyone in the organization. Every industry will be affected by technologies that make for a profound transformation. ”


These major developments change the user experience: Algorithms, Bots and Chatbots (ABC). “As said, AI is not intelligent, we can make it look intelligent. For example, empathetic. But that’s not true, it will be a machine. AI still needs human guidelines. Limited AI is most useful, general AI is still far away. ”

At the same time robots are becoming more and more developed. “They are in design a meter high, have a big head and big eyes. That’s because of the association with babies, so the robots are more accessible. People automatically feel sympathetic with the robot, and accept such machines faster. Drones are meanwhile nowadays, that’s no news anymore. Interestingly, developments like the training of birds of prey to get drones out of the air near airports. Then you have a biological solution to a technological problem. ”

“Is AI a threat? No. AI does not replace work, which does automation. Automation replaces all work as long as it exists. And it is important to distinguish between jobs and jobs. There are many tasks that can be automated, but it’s much more difficult to replace a complete job with automation. “

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