The Fourth Industrial Revolution is upon us and the pandemic just accelerated the use of its technologies. But what does it really mean for us?
According to definition, the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0 is the automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices using modern technology with no need for human intervention. It was coined by the executive chairman of the World Economic Forum in 2015. Today, it is included as a solution to rebuild the world economy in the post-pandemic world via the Great Reset.
For the past year, technology has changed the way we work (remote work), the way we shop (digital stores), the way we learn (online education), the way we socialize (social media), and the way we get our medical needs (telemedicine). The use of Artificial Intelligence and data analytics is becoming in demand. Likewise, the need for tech and digital skills is rising in the global workforce. Tech positions are being considered the jobs of the future.
Looking back at the start of the pandemic, we can say that the main driver of this change is digitization. The integration of value chains, products and services, as well as business models and customer access have all become digital. Everything and everyone has gone online. What else can we expect this year and beyond? Here are a few things that Industry 4.0 aims to achieve:
Closing the gaps in digital access
As mentioned, tech has played a big part in the acceleration of the Fourth Industrial Revolution during the onset of the pandemic. But the problem is the provision of digital access to everyone. This includes addressing the need for connectivity (broadband and 5G), the use of mobile technology (apps and websites), and the demand for devices (smartphones and other gadgets).
Going digital is a long process and there are still a lot of people around the world who struggle to gain access.
Stopping cybercrime and ensuring data privacy and security
Just as everything and everyone goes online, so do the crooks and criminals who target companies and businesses transitioning to digital. They also prey on unsuspecting people who are new to the online world. Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a lot of cyberattacks and issues with data fraud. Phishing through email and other apps is rampant as well.
As much as the world relies on technology, data privacy and security should be the topmost priority if we want to protect the integrity of the digital products we are using.
Good governance in technology
World leaders and their respective national governments should be able to maximize the use of emerging technologies for growth and innovation. Implementing good governance in tech means exercising political, economic, and administrative authority in the development and operation of technology in societies. It’s not just the leaders but businesses, NGOs, and other sectors that should help uphold good governance in order to minimize the risks.
Some issues in emerging tech include the diverse applications, concerns over new capabilities, the need for public engagement, and effective governance. This is a big deal since tech creates opportunities not just among corporate executives, but in entrepreneurial startups as well. They use cloud, mobile solutions, AI and machine learning, social media, and IoT to help their businesses thrive over the next few years.
When you look at it closely, we are already experiencing the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The pandemic made it happen and this time, the expectations lean more towards the improvement of what happened last year at the start of the pandemic. It was chaotic and everything was in a rush. Bridging the digital divide, prioritizing safety of information, and practicing good governance over the use of the available technology can help minimize the chaos from 2020. Slowly but surely, as we ease our way into the post-pandemic world and fully embrace Industry 4.0, we can perfect how we live our digital lifestyle.