Gartner believes that the capability and reliability of smart machines will dramatically increase through 2020 to the point where they will have a major impact on business and IT functions. The impact will be such that firms that have not begun to develop programs and policies for a "digital workforce" by 2015 will not perform in the top quartile for productivity and operating profit margin improvement in their industry by 2020. As a direct result, the careers of CIOs who do not begin to champion digital workforce initiatives with their peers in the C-suite by 2015 will be cut short by 2023.A number of forces are colluding to make this threat a reality, not least the fact that the technologies for building a large-scale and diverse scope of smart machines are coalescing and being tested by "first movers." At the same time ongoing weak revenue growth in the global economy will spur demand for cost reduction and productivity improvement by employing smart machines in place of humans. "It's worth remembering that IT cost is typically about four percent of annual revenue, whereas the labor costs that can be rationalized by smart machines are as high as 40 percent of revenue in some knowledge and service industries," said Mr. Brant. "The supply side of the market — including IBM, GE, Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon — is placing large bets on the success of smart machines, while the demand side includes high-profile first movers that will trigger an 'arms race' for acquiring and/or developing smart machines." While Gartner maverick research asserts that smart machines will have widespread and deep impact through 2020, we also recognize there are significant impediments in the business, political, economic, social and technology spheres that must be overcome and these include
- Early pilots will fail to produce desired results
- The technology will not progress rapidly through the end of this decade
- The price of technology will not reduce rapidly through the end of this decade
- Labor unions will reorganize and successfully oppose the intrusion of "job-killing" smart machines
- Citizens will protest higher and more prolonged states of unemployment, electing governments to legislate against smart machines
- Consumers will reject the machines — either because of a highly publicized catastrophe or because of a more subtle and prolonged need for human interaction
- People will provide even greater productivity increases than smart machine replacements.
- Legal challenges, stemming from the explicit "programmed morality" in automatic smart machines involved in accidents, will derail the market for autonomous agents.
About Gartner Symposium/ITxpoGartner Symposium/ITxpo is the world's most important gathering of CIOs and senior IT executives. This event delivers independent and objective content with the authority and weight of the world's leading IT research and advisory organization, and provides access to the latest solutions from key technology providers. Gartner's annual Symposium/ITxpo events are key components of attendees' annual planning efforts. IT executives rely on Gartner Symposium/ITxpo to gain insight into how their organizations can use IT to address business challenges and improve operational efficiency. Additional information about Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando is available at www.gartner.com/symposium/us. Video replays of keynotes and sessions are available on Gartner Events on Demand at www.gartnerondemand.com. Follow news, photos and video coming from Gartner Symposium/ITxpo on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GartnerSymposium, and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Gartner_inc and using #GartnerSym. Upcoming dates and locations for Gartner Symposium/ITxpo include: October 15-17, Tokyo, Japan: www.gartner.com/jp/symposium October 21-24, Goa, India: www.gartner.com/in/symposium October 28-31, Gold Coast, Australia: www.gartner.com/au/symposium November 4-7, Sao Paulo, Brazil: www.gartner.com/br/symposium November 10-14, Barcelona, Spain: www.gartner.com/eu/symposium Rich scenarios for smart machine adoption and impacts on business and society plus more detailed analyses are also available in the report "Maverick* Research: Surviving the Rise of 'Smart Machines,' the Loss of 'Dream Jobs' and '90% Unemployment.'" The report is available on Gartner's website at http://www.gartner.com/resId=2594820. The report is part of the Gartner Special Report "Drive Disruptive Innovation with Maverick* Research." This Special Report explores high-impact future scenarios that help companies think differently to uncover opportunity and enable innovation. This collection of research is intentionally disruptive and edgy to help IT leaders get ahead of the mainstream and take advantage of trends and insights that could impact their IT strategy and their organization. The Special Report is available at http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/maverick/. About Gartner Gartner, Inc. (NYSE:IT) is the world’s leading information technology research and advisory company. Gartner delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is a valuable partner in more than 13,000 distinct organizations. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, USA, and has 5,800 associates, including more than 1,450 research analysts and consultants, and clients in 85 countries. For more information, visit www.gartner.com.