The theme at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year was “Mastering The Fourth Industrial Revolution.” We are facing what experts in many fields are describing as a massive “evolutionary leap” for mankind with far reaching consequences for individuals, society, business and governments. But what is the Fourth Industrial Revolution? Simply put, it’s a revolution that is being created by the convergence of various technologies that have, until now been developing in isolation of each other, but as a result of the digital revolution, can now develop in collaboration with each other.
There are three broad areas that are being impacted:
Our physical world: here we see advances in autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, advanced robotics and new materials.
Our digital world: major breakthroughs are happening with regard to the Internet of Things, sensors, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, digital money and the emergence of the “on demand economy” with services like Uber and Airbnb.
Biological: here we are seeing giant steps in genetic engineering and synthetic biology.
How long before the Fourth Industrial Revolution impacts us? Here is the expected timeline:
One of the major issues discussed at the the meetings in Davos is how prepared we are for the rapidly approaching tsunami of change these technologies are going to bring. If you own a business for example, it would be prudent to begin looking at how these advances will impact your business. If you are a student, it would be prudent to look at what skills are going to be needed in four or five years from now and spend your time acquiring those. We are living in exiting turbulent times and the way we live and work is about to change dramatically. As mentioned in reports that have been compiled after the meetings in Davos “not anticipating and addressing [these] issues in a timely manner over the coming years may come at an enormous economic and social cost for businesses, individuals and societies as a whole.”
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