Food for Thought: Preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

NIT Specialising in IT EducationWith the news on technological breakthroughs in artificial intelligence to nanotechnology, does this mean that we are in a new industrial revolution? How different is it from past waves of technological advancement? What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution? Is it already happening? Let’s get some basic answers from Dr. Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF) as he shed some light on the Fourth Industrial Revolution through his article on Foreign Affairs.

According to Dr. Schwab, the First Industrial Revolution saw the transition from hand-made goods to mechanised production based on water and steam. The Second introduced electricity as a source for mass production. The Third was when production and processes moved towards automation through the use of electronics and information technology. Today, the Fourth has arrived with developments in genetics, artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing, robotics, and many more, which all are contributing to a foundation for a revolution that has great potential in being more advanced and disruptive than what we currently have.

WEF released a report ‘The Future of Jobs’ in January this year sharing interesting insights on how individuals, companies and governments can prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Below is a time frame drawn from the report showing the impacts of the Fourth on current and future industries.The fourth industrial revolution's impacts on industry and business model

As we have witnessed, past advancements of technology and demographic change have led to increased productivity, overall wealth and job creation. Transitions come with risks and difficulties and therefore it is imperative to anticipate and prepare for the transition to be successful. To illustrate this, the Fourth will see advanced technological change, therefore re-training and upskilling of workers has to be act on to mitigate future problems including talent shortages, mass unemployment and growing inequality. Individuals, organisations as well as governments should all take an active and creative role towards the promotion of reskilling, upskilling and lifelong learning.

In the next post, we will take a closer look at the top 10 skills required to succeed in Fourth Industrial Revolution.

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