In exploring the correlations and cycles of past Industrial Revolutions, we learned that innovation yields both disruption and opportunity. During the first three industrial revolutions, opportunity from economic reconfiguration was a key driver of social mobility and inclusivity. While the cycles of Industrial Revolutions appear to be immutable, this time, as we’ll discover throughout our research, the rules for success have changed. This time, it is different.
“Increasingly, an individual’s chances in life are determined by their starting point, resulting in economies and societies that too often reproduce rather than reduce historic inequalities.” - World Economic Forum (WEF)
Today, let’s briefly inspect #4IR innovations, disruptions and opportunities.
What Is #4IR? Innovation
4IR introduces new ways for technology to insert itself into society - “The Fourth Industrial Revolution is the unfolding age of digitalization - from the digitally connected products and services we consume, to advancements in smart cities and factories. But #4IR is more than technology - as it gradually shapes how we live and work (and even play), it also ushers in a revolution of experience.” - PwC
Innovations in transportation, governance and automation technologies are transforming the nature of work by furthering task substitution, changing employment opportunities and enabling new use-cases for businesses. Every business and industry is impacted by #4IR innovation. According to the WEF, “...it seems clear that our future will be increasingly digital. When it comes to technology, digitalization across industries and societies is becoming a matter of course.”
While certainly not an exhaustive list of all #4IR technologies, this Industrial Revolution can be best characterized by advancements in:
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Augmented and Virtual Reality
Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies
IoT and Smart Cities
What Is #4IR? Disruption
Unfortunately, digital technologies are introducing new vulnerabilities faster than they can be secured, cyberattacks on critical infrastructure are becoming common and the burgeoning remote workforce has created a concerning level of unprotected information endpoints.
“Information technologies have reduced the spatial, temporal, and information gap between army and government.” With objectives achievable in a remote, contactless environment, Gerasimov argued that modern war should focus on intelligence and domination of the information space. Information is dangerous - “It is cheap, it is a universal weapon, it has unlimited range, it is easily accessible and permeates all state borders without restrictions.” - Jolanta Darczewska
Beyond industrial disruption and geopolitical tensions, though, #4IR also brings economic disruption. According to an estimate of the World Economic Forum’s 2018 Future of Jobs Report, globally, the labour market transformation brought about by the Fourth Industrial Revolution may lead to the creation of 133 million new jobs and the simultaneous displacement of 75 million jobs over the 2018–2022 period, furthering the polarization of income inequalities as new jobs go to the highly skilled.
“Globalization and the Fourth Industrial Revolution have generated great benefits to society, raising the living standards of billions and lifting millions out of poverty. But they have also exacerbated inequalities in our societies. The threat of unequal opportunity, job displacement and widening income inequality seem ever more present.” - Jeremy Jurgens Managing Director World Economic Forum
Consider the case of Africa, for example. Not only is the continent’s work force expected to be the world’s largest by 2030, it is already re-skilling for #4IR opportunities and the share of workers with at least a secondary education is set to increase from 36% in 2010 to 52% by 2030, according to Brookings. This Industrial Revolution represents a massive opportunity for growth, a “window of opportunity for technological leapfrogging”, according to Badr Jafar, Chief Executive Officer, Crescent Enterprises.
In #4IR we have a chance at a more inclusive economy, an opportunity to recreate the middle-class and redefine prosperity. Although the paths of social mobility are largely closed to the masses, technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrencies usher in an era of financial and political sovereignty. “If we have the courage to take collective responsibility, we can embark on restructuring our economic, social and political systems to take full advantage of emerging technologies.” – Martin Nowak, Professor of Mathematics and Biology at Harvard University
What Comes Next?
By empowering stakeholders, creating sustainable value for all, offering a collaborative ecosystem, maintaining trustworthy data stewardship and aligning the success of Divi with better outcomes for all, Divi plays an essential role in improving economic, and thus social, mobility during this Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“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, Founder of the World Economic Forum
In seeking continuous improvement, Divi embraces innovation while maintaining a focus on community, communication and mutual success. Thank you for being an important part of Divi and don’t forget to join us next time for part 3 of this series!