When the first industrial revolution came about, many were taken by surprise, as people witness a plethora of opportunities opening up. The first industrialisation marked the shift towards powered, special-purpose machinery and factories of mass production.
In the beginning, the fascination was around the ability to create goods in high volumes at never before seen numbers and quantities. The result of this was immense. Not only did the industrial revolution cause a transformation in the job market, but it also shifted people’s way of conceptualising, bringing about the age of materialism and consumerism.
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Now, we are witnessing yet another marker in history: the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0). We see another major shift on the horizon with the power to affect our approach to work and to everyday life. Industry 4.0 is coming. While there are bound to be people and voices opposing this change, it is inevitable, as the needs and the desires of the society move us closer towards this new era.
What is the 4th Industrial Revolution about?
In reality, the fourth industrial revolution has already begun. It is a shift towards smart digital thinking, further merging technology with the physical. Our most recent article, regarding Tencent’s plan to invest in Carrefour, perfectly depicts this idea of connecting the online with the offline.
In the coming years, we will see even greater scales of integration, integrating technology through supercomputing and analysis, with artificial intelligence and robots, bringing automation to a whole new level and really fusing technology with everyday, not just influencing the way we act and behave, but also the way we think.
As we move into this new era, it is helpful that we recognise the fundamental difference that is present in the fourth industrial revolution from that of the others. The latest industrial revolution is one impacting all disciplinaries, stepping into the cognitive and automating tasks that is more cognitive intensive, as opposed to just manual labour. It will influence the way people are connected and redefine the meaning of being human.
The fourth industrial revolution will not only change the way we live, or the way we act, but also the way we are as people.
Who will be affected the most?
So what can we expect from the fourth industrial revolution? With so much happening, from artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency, hyper personalisation, to genetic editing and more, Industry 4.0 will be affecting our sense of privacy, ownership, everyday behaviour and our way of conceptualisation, a shift that will affect us all.
We are at a time where we can’t yet fully understand or predict the full impact of this change. Similar to when we first had access to internet, we are at a time of endless possibilities, as people of different backgrounds try to properly utilise and perhaps monetise on the shift that is currently happening.
What we can expect is a change in our values, as we move into a time of implementing quality into quantity, and shifting away from the chase for abundance. We’ve included an infographic below indicating the jobs that will be affected by the fourth industrial revolution.
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How will this affect the world as we know it?
Industry 4.0 will open up a new understanding towards the idea of self. Through a sophisticated use of analytics, we will be living a life where our actions are measured and quantified to create greater insight and understanding, which means hyper-personalisation will be key. We are already experiencing this to an extent over social media, with examples like the Facebook ads seen during the 2016 US presidential election, tailoring personal feeds to the views of the individual.
For now, we don’t see traditional careers disappearing just yet. Instead, what we will see in the near future is a further melding of digital technology into people’s jobs and a refining of tasks, minimising “boring” and laborious work that requires simple processing.
While blue-collar professions were affected the most in the previous industrialisations, this time people holding white-collar professions are seeing the most drastic impact. Repetitive tasks by low-level white-collar workers, such as document review and legal research, will be taken over by smart automation. For the time being, we foresee people with law professions to be affected the most, with AI technology vastly elevating the type of work that will be required from people.
In our 2018 Asia Salary Snapshot, we also talk about the shift in manufacturing industry that is expected from Industry 4.0. Industrial companies across the region will be looking for talent that can bring revolutionary changes, encouraging the growth of sub-sectors, such as high-end CNC machines, robots, new energy vehicles and energy-saving or environment protection sectors. For more in-depth insights into Asia’s job market this 2018, check out our Asia Salary Snapshot.
(Image by CareerBright)