Table of contents
- How does the fourth industrial revolutions new technology work and how does it affect our world?
- Positive effects.
- Negative effects.
- What is Australia’s involvement and contribution to the fourth industrial revolution?
- Investing in future skills development
- How does the fourth industrial revolution effect government?
- The fourth industrial revolutions impact on education.
Us as humans are on the brink of a technological revolution that will greatly change the way we live. a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third which used electronics and information technology to automate production, the digital revolution that has been occurring since late last century. There is one main reason that definitively separates the third and the fourth revolution and that is that the speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent. When compared with previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth industrial revolution is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace and these technological breakthroughs have dramatically changed the way of how entire systems of production, management, and governance and will continue on this path.
According to the World Economic Forum's Founder and Executive Chairman, Professor Klaus Schwab, the first three industrial revolutions set the stage for the fourth: the early 19th century era of rail, mechanization and steam; the electricity and mass production revolution in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; and the emergence of semiconductors, computers and networks since the 1960s. The exponential acceleration of computing technology that has marked this phase is inflicting massive change on long-established industries, professions and institutions, including the structures of government.
Artificial intelligence is already around us much more than we know it, from self-driving cars and drones to virtual assistants and software that translate or invest. The consumers are those who have gained the most from it. They have been able to afford and access the digital world; new products and services have come to life through technology, products and services that increase the efficiency and pleasure of our personal lives. Ordering a taxi, buying a product, making a payment, booking a flight, watching a movie or T.V show, listening to music, or playing a game, can all be done with little effort.
How does the fourth industrial revolutions new technology work and how does it affect our world?
“This forth industrial revolution uses transformative technologies to connect the physical world with the digital world. Current trends include, advanced automation and robotics (including collaborative robots or ‘cobots’), machine-to-machine and human-to-machine communication, artificial intelligence and machine learning, sensor technology and data analytics. This trend is enabled by four key drivers which are, rising data volumes, computational power and connectivity, emerging analytics and business-intelligence capabilities, new forms of human-machine interaction, such as touch interfaces, augmented and virtual reality systems, improvements in transferring digital instructions to the physical world, such as robotics and 3D printing. The fourth industrial revolution has obvious benefits and opportunities which include better connectivity between customers and supply chains through real-time access to production information, logistics and monitoring, greater flexibility for businesses to produce differentiated products and services to tap unmet consumer demands, compete in global markets and capture emerging opportunities, enhanced workplace safety, production and improvements across the entire value chain.” I am cool.
The fourth industrial revolution has both positive and negative effects on our world. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing how we live, work, and communicate. It’s forever changing government, education, healthcare, commerce, and most importantly, productivity. Every aspect of our lives. Education and the amount of information that is accessible can improve the lives of billions of people. Through strong computing devices and networks, digital services, and mobile devices, this can become a reality for people around the world, including those in underdeveloped countries. The social media revolution embodied by Facebook, Twitter, and Tencent has given everyone a voice and a way to communicate instantly across the planet. Today, more than 30% of the people in the world use social media services to communicate and stay on top of world events.
While the Fourth Industrial Revolution can have positive effects on the world, we must be aware that the technologies can have negative results if we don’t think about how they can change us. We build what we value. This means we need to remember our values as we’re building with these new technologies. For example, if we value money over family time, we can build technologies that help us make money at the expense of family time. In turn, these technologies can create incentives that make it harder to change that underlying value. People have a deep relationship with technologies. They are how we create our world, and we must develop them with care. More than ever, it’s important that we begin right. “We have to this race between the growing power of the technology, and the growing wisdom with which we manage it. We don’t want to learn from mistakes.” Max Tegmark, Life 3.0.
What is Australia’s involvement and contribution to the fourth industrial revolution?
The ‘Industry 4.0 Testlabs in Australia report’, released by the taskforce, explores the principles and framework for adopting the fourth revolution in Australia by establishing test labs. Standards Australia published a report on the fourth industrial revolution from an Australian Perspective as part of this work. To strengthen the industry-led nature of the taskforce, it is now called the ‘Industry 4.0 Advanced Manufacturing Forum’ and is hosted by ‘Australian Industry Group’. The forum continues work on, reference architectures, standards and norms, research and innovation, security of networked systems, test laboratories, future of work, education and training.
Investing in future skills development
When comparing the current issues and priorities of Australian enterprises to their global counterparts, we found Australian businesses are more focused on transforming their current business models rather than creating new ones. This is an issue because many opportunities in Industry 4.0 will be heavily based on new and emerging models. The good news is Australian enterprises are aware of this. The bad news is we’ve got a couple of blind spots that must first be addressed. More than half (57%) of Australian business leaders say they know which skills their future workforces will need to thrive in the Industry 4.0 future and, significantly, 60% say they plan to extensively train their current employees to help them close any skills gaps (compared to 43% globally). Australian businesses are also more enthusiastic than their global counterparts that the current education system will sufficiently prepare individuals for Industry 4.0 (Australia 53%, global 43%).
How does the fourth industrial revolution effect government?
Month after month, new systems, applications and business models surface and then explode into the market, offering radical new solutions in domains such as health and transport, even while disrupting long-established businesses and throwing countless people out of work. Historically, such periods of technology-driven upheaval have brought productivity gains, investment, growth, improvements in quality of life, and increases in longevity and health. There’s no reason to believe that the Fourth Industrial Revolution, like the three that preceded it, will fail to deliver these same long-term benefits, especially in a world where billions of people still don’t have electricity. Yet some of these technologies, especially those that automate routine tasks, may trigger job losses. That future is around the corner, in fact. A recent McKinsey & Company study predicts that almost half the time workers spend on their jobs can already be replaced with existing technologies. This change in technology will have an immense impact on workers and the security of their jobs, this is definitely something that needs to be addressed by the government. The alarming job-loss scenarios have also prompted warnings and calls for corrective policy. Tesla founder Elon Musk wants governments and civil society actors to ensure that machine learning systems are deployed ethically. Microsoft founder Bill Gates wants governments to tax robots to compensate for mass worker displacement.
Canada may be better positioned to weather the storms brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Demand for Canada’s natural resources and its excellence in agriculture and mass manufacturing has kept the economy strong. The country’s financial institutions are stable. Its debt-to-GDP ratios are low by international standards. The public still embraces immigration and believes in both the need to reduce inequality and in trade as a means of building wealth. Unlike the US and the UK, Canada’s politics and public institutions aren’t under attack. Yet in other ways, Canada may be vulnerable, with stubbornly low productivity and innovation lagging behind other industrialized countries. Right now, a group of Canadian start-ups are building world-class technology, but they are struggling to find the talent and capital necessary to scale internationally. To survive the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Canada will need to produce, retain and attract more of the right kinds of talent, incentivize corporate Canada to make the same kinds of investments in technology that they have long made in natural resources, and support these companies as they scale into globally competitive businesses. The ability of countries to produce and sustain national champions will be central to their ability to survive the shifts coming at them.
The fourth industrial revolutions impact on education.
Corporate leaders aren’t the only ones who need to consider how to adjust to the new world the 4th Industrial Revolution is ushering in. Educators, schools, government officials, and parents must re-think education and how to prepare the next generation to take advantage of the plethora of opportunities and overcome the challenges enabled by ever-increasing technological change.
STEM (science, tech, engineering, math) education needs to improve across the board regardless of income levels, age, or gender. There's no doubt every worker in the future will need some technical skills and improvement in STEM education is warranted, but it's important to note that we shouldn't adopt an either/or mentality. We still need to help students understand the values that will help us learn how to use this new technology ethically and morally; therefore, humanities training and professionals will still be essential. In fact, according to The Future of Jobs Report 2018 from the World Economic Forum, executives desired employees with critical thinking and collaboration skills even more than those with tech skills. Another way that education could improve given this fourth industrial revolution would be to alter the training of educators. American philosopher John Dewey said, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.” Even though he lived well before the beginnings of the 4th Industrial Revolution, his words are very appropriate today. Rather than teachers distilling information to students that they then memorize, teachers will become guides to help students facilitate their own learning and lines of inquiry. Failure needs to be embraced as an essential step to learning. Additionally, teaching will be much more personalized, which will be supported by bringing in technologies such as AI and machine learning.
To summarise, the fourth industrial revolution can and has had a positive effect on the world the main positive effects being the potential increase in productivity and government. However, this comes at a cost as it could negatively affect our non-material living standards. The fourth industrial revolution has the power to greatly change businesses, how countries are governed, education and the general lifestyle of people through the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI).