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Global Research Shows AI to Shape Technology Landscape of 2020s, But Unintended Consequences Pose Big Risks

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The evolving relationship between artificial intelligence, automation and humans is expected to create promising opportunities in the tech workforce while simultaneously presenting sobering concerns for the general public, according to new ISACA research sizing up the tech landscape of the 2020s.

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As ISACA celebrates its 50th anniversary, it is the ideal time to look to the future of technology and how technology-driven innovation will shape the new decade. ISACA surveyed more than 5,000 business technology professionals this year to gather their perspective on how the tech landscape of the new decade--the 2020s--will affect both the enterprise landscape and society more generally. (Graphic: Business Wire)

As ISACA celebrates its 50th anniversary, it is the ideal time to look to the future of technology and how technology-driven innovation will shape the new decade. ISACA surveyed more than 5,000 business technology professionals this year to gather their perspective on how the tech landscape of the new decade--the 2020s--will affect both the enterprise landscape and society more generally. (Graphic: Business Wire)

ISACA’s Next Decade of Tech: Envisioning the 2020s survey of more than 5,000 business technology professionals comes during ISACA’s 50th anniversary year as the global professional association continues its commitment to helping its members navigate the future of technology. The research shows that respondents are significantly more optimistic about how technology advancements in the new decade will impact their career (59%) than they are about how it will impact society as a whole (40%).

From a workplace standpoint, respondents are optimistic that technological sea changes will both position their organizations for success and bolster their paychecks:

  • Nearly 9 in 10 respondents (87%) say AI/machine learning will have a major or moderate impact on enterprises’ profitability.
  • Fifty-eight percent expect that the evolving technology landscape will result in pay increases for tech professionals.

Most technology roles are expected to be recalibrated by AI and increased integration of technology in the workplace, with 93% of respondents expecting an augmented workforce—or people, robots and AI working closely together—to reshape how some or most jobs are performed.

“The pace of technology-driven change will continue to accelerate, so it’s more important than ever to be always learning,” said ISACA CEO David Samuelson. “Both as individuals and in our companies, we will need new skills and frameworks to be equipped to navigate the inevitable change ahead. As the next decade quickly approaches, our human potential, combined with these advancing technologies, will ensure an era of positive technology breakthroughs, and a future where we all thrive.”

AI’s Potential Pitfalls Counterbalance Enthusiasm

While AI/machine learning is identified as the most important enterprise technology of the next decade, followed by cloud platforms and big data, only 50% of respondents think it is likely or very likely enterprises will give the ethical ramifications of AI deployments sufficient attention.

Whether through malicious or errant uses of AI, the potential consequences of misuse could be severe, with respondents most concerned about AI attacks involving:

  • Critical infrastructure (73%)
  • Social engineering (58%)
  • Autonomous weapons (56%)
  • Attacks targeting the healthcare sector (56%)
  • Data poisoning (55%)

Additional notable findings from ISACA’s Next Decade of Tech research include:

  • Cybersecurity skills gap remains problematic. Only 18% of respondents expect the cybersecurity skills gap to be mostly or entirely filled in the new decade.
  • Rise of digital natives will change enterprise culture. As digital natives, or those who grew up with mainstream digital technology, increasingly ascend into leadership positions, 72% of respondents expect cybersecurity will become a higher priority for enterprises while 56% say enterprises will become more proactive about deploying emerging technologies.
  • Many everyday activities could be phased out. Respondents expect technological innovations of the new decade to make several routine activities and necessities less commonplace, including using cash (75%), physical keys (60%), physical IDs/boarding passes (58%) and going to physical office locations (58%). Respondents are more mixed about the future of autonomous vehicles, with 48% saying it is likely or very likely that driverless cars become mainstream by the end of the decade.

For more resources related to this research, visit www.isaca.org/next-decade-of-tech.

Contact information

Emily Van Camp, evcamp@isaca.org, +1.847.385.7223

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