Think of them as the four technology superpowers: cloud, mobile, AI and edge computing. And while each is a powerful and transformative idea in its own right, the real magic happens when they are used in unison.

That’s the message VMWare CEO Patrick Gelsinger imparted onto delegates at VMWorld in Las Vegas this week as he spoke of the need to build bridges across technology silos.

“We have tremendous issues to bridge across incompatible clouds,” Gelsinger said.

Mobile, he said, offers unprecedented scale. “Literally, your application can reach half the humans on the planet today. We know that among the half of humanity in the lower income brackets, is less than 5 per cent penetrated.”

He also described how he and his colleagues in an early part this career (during the 1990s) wanted to build a chip that would be a real boon for artificial intelligence. “What happened? Nothing. AI is today, a 30-year overnight success because the algorithms and the data. We can bring intelligence to everything. We’re seeing just dramatic breakthroughs in areas like healthcare, radiology, new drugs, diagnosis tools and designer treatments,” he said.

Gilsinger said companies were barely scratching the surface with AI.

“AI has so many gaps yet. We don’t even know why it works in many cases. They call that explainable AI.”

With edge and IoT, the physical and the digital worlds are being connected as never before, he said. “We’re bringing technology into every dimension of human progress. Today we’re largely hooking up things. We have so much to do that to make them intelligent networks, secure, automated and patch free, world-class IT to IoT. But it’s not just that these are superpowers.”

While each is viewed as a superpower in its own right, they’re making each other more powerful as well. “Cloud enables mobile connectivity. Mobile creates more data. More data makes things AI better. AI enables more edge use cases and more edge requires more cloud to store the data and do the computing. Like they’re reinforcing each other and with that, we know that we are speeding up.”

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