Technology. Where would we be without it? We use technology every day to do the most basic of functions. We are steadily moving towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a time of unprecedented technology. We don’t know exactly what it will look like, but we know it will be momentous. It will alter life as we know it.
What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
The Fourth Industrial Revolution will be characterized by digital innovation, much like the 3rd, except on a much larger scale as it will see a combination of technologies. It will blur the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. Despite their similarities, however, the fourth industrial revolution is not a simple continuation of its predecessor. There are three key concerns that mark the difference between the third and fourth revolution: velocity; scope; and systems impact. The fourth industrial revolution is evolving at an exponential, rather than linear rate, and impacting virtually every industry. As such, this growth holds the power to immeasurably disrupt and transform entire systems of production, management, and governance. In the fourth industrial revolution, the possibilities are endless for new technological fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will have a profound impact on society, government, and business.
- Job creation: This digital revolution holds many opportunities that can greatly further and strengthen society and the world. Global income levels can raise alongside greater job creation, which can in turn contribute to a greater quality of life.
- Greater efficiency: Any concern or issue you have could be solved at the touch of a button. Consider how our appetites are satiated by food-delivery apps, dating is made easier through Tinder, and long-distance communication is fostered by Skype. The Fourth Industrial Revolution could make practically any task manageable remotely.
- Adaptation: Greater transparency and consumer engagement as a result of society’s mass connectedness forces companies to be more accountable and savvy in the way they design, market, and deliver products and services. Consumers thus become centered in the economy of business.
- Ease of trade: technological innovation will lead to a supply-side transformation, greatly improving efficiency and productivity. As a result, transportation, communication and trade costs will lower, and logistics and global supply chains will have greater efficiency. All of this will open up new markets and encourage economic growth.
- Access: Of course, those that benefit the most from this revolution will be those with access, in the technological, financial and social sense. Thus, people in impoverished areas with little to no access to technology will be left behind by this revolution, arguably creating deeper inequality in the world.
- Job insecurity: As much as new jobs will be created, many old jobs will become obsolete as machines greater infilitrate the workforce. The majority of these jobs will be low-level, which directly targets the uneducated working class. As such, labour markets will be greatly disrupted.
- Social tensions: Inequality will deepen through this revolution. As the demand for highly-skilled workers increases, those with little skills will be left behind and could grow disillusioned with the system. This will deepen the wealth gap and the social environment as tensions rise between those with little skills and little pay and those with high skills and high pay. Furthermore, in the time of mass global communication, this gap will be intensely visible, breeding further discontent.
- Privacy: Boundaries of privacy will be pushed even further, and ethics will be called into question as technology advances even further. What it means to be human will be redefined through the impact of artificial intelligence and biotechnology.
Towards the Future:
Going forward, adaptation is the name of the game. Developing new skills will greatly support workers as the jobs of the future start taking shape. Society must work with technology to shape a future that coincides with our shared values. Furthermore, as people. We need to create a healthy balance in our lives so that technology does not overtake human compassion and cooperation.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below!