Don’t wake up to outcomes you don’t want. Be curious. Speak up.

The Medium community is already one that is curious and continuously sharing. This is a fantastic thing and should be celebrated. The purpose of this blog is to encourage you to extend your curiosity to understand the fourth industrial revolution (FIR), if you haven’t already. I’m asking you to take the time to understand what this revolution will mean for you, your profession, your industry and your community.

So, what is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

“The fourth industrial revolution will create changes that are so profound that, from the perspective of human history, there has never been a time of greater promise or potential peril” Klaus Schwab 2016 Founder and Chairman of the World Economic Forum

Fourth Industrial Revolution

The FIR promises gains in human health, scientific knowledge and economic growth.

This revolution will determine whether the technology surrounding us continues to be a tool that we can identify, grasp and consciously use (like your smartphone) or whether it will become a powerful object that changes our behaviours and affects what it means to be human (artificial intelligence).

Why you should care.

We are in the early stages of the FIR and are presented with a unique opportunity to shape the outcomes to improve the state of the world.

Whilst there is promise this revolution will solve big problems and lay effective foundations for the future, it also opens us up to a plethora of new risks. The biggest of these risks are;

1. Inequality. 
Unequal societies tend to be more violent, have greater numbers of people in prison and greater mental illness.

2. Security
A hyper-connected world provides new cyber battle-spaces that are harder to govern.

3. Identity
In a world with increased connectivity we are also seeing the highest levels of polarisation.

Western societies are the early adopters of this revolution and are already experiencing the benefits and the risks. One of the many plus sides of this revolution is that it is making inequality more visible, which (if people pay attention) will result in inequality being less acceptable. The FIR provides us with the opportunity to unite humanity and provide clean air, clean water and clean energy to millions.

The revolution within the work place.

One of the biggest claims of this revolution is that it is going to redefine the work place. McKinsey has predicted that whilst 5% of occupations globally will be fully automated, 50% of activities within jobs could be automated. Automation could be an awesome thing. It could take away the work we don’t want to do and provide us with hours back in our day. The removal of remedial tasks also has the potential to greatly increase our job satisfaction.

I’m certainly ready to have my day transformed. I’d love time back in my day to focus on rewarding and meaningful tasks. Being curious and seeking to understand how this revolution may affect others has caused me to be cautious when considering how I may implement automation within my workplace. More and more technology does not only mean fewer jobs, it allows us to increase the volume of production at lower costs, which is great for capitalism. But what does this mean for our society?

The revolution within society.

The adoption of automation will impact jobs across all levels of organisations. It will displace people from their current profession and potentially create underemployment. We need to ask ourselves how quickly we want to bring about the changes automation allows. Do we want to provide people with time to up-skill and find new opportunities?

It is important to note that people likely to be impacted by automation aren’t just blue-collar factory workers but the secretaries, administrators, delivery drivers, cashiers and more. The most concerning statistic (for me) is that 57% of jobs due to be automated are currently being performed by women. Are we ready to push women out of the workforce when we have only recently encouraged them to step in?

How to play a role in the fourth industrial revolution.

Consider what is important to you as our world is restructured and economic, social and political systems change.

The steps I have taken;

1. ensure I understand the technology changes and how they will impact my industry,

2. tell my network and organisation about issues are that important to me,

3. leverage social media and collaborate with others on the potential outcomes.

I ask that you take the time to access the channels and platforms that are so readily available to us to understand what the fourth industrial revolution means. Use these same channels and platforms to make your opinions, comfort and preference heard. And most importantly remember — “The new technology age, if shaped in a responsive and responsible way, could catalyse a new cultural renaissance that will enable us to feel part of something much larger than ourselves — a true global civilization… We can use the Fourth Industrial Revolution to lift humanity into a new collective and moral consciousness based on a shared sense of destiny.” Klaus Schwab 2016 Founder and Chairman of the World Economic Forum

I’ve included a few videos and articles below to get you started…

- Putting human beings at the centre of the 4th Industrial Revolution

- The Fourth Industrial Revolution: At a glance

- How to be a leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

- A survival guide for the Fourth Industrial Revolution