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The Fourth Industrial Revolution

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Industrial Revolution

The Fourth Industrial Revolution heralds a series of social, political, cultural, and economic upheavals that will unfold over the 21st century. Building on the widespread availability of digital technologies that were the result of the Third Industrial, or Digital, Revolution, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be driven largely by the convergence of digital, biological, and physical innovations.

Like the First Industrial Revolution ’s steam-powered factories, the Second Industrial Revolution ’s application of science to mass production and manufacturing, and the Third Industrial Revolution’s start into digitization, the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s technologies, such as artificial intelligence, genome editing, augmented reality, robotics, and 3-D printing, are rapidly changing the way humans create, exchange, and distribute value. As occurred in the previous revolutions, this will profoundly transform institutions, industries, and individuals. More importantly, this revolution will be guided by the choices that people make today: the world in 50 to 100 years from now will owe a lot of its character to how we think about, invest in, and deploy these powerful new technologies.

[We all need to become futurist citizens. Julie Friedman Steele explains how.]

It’s important to appreciate that the Fourth Industrial Revolution involves a systemic change across many sectors and aspects of human life: the crosscutting impacts of emerging technologies are even more important than the exciting capabilities they represent. Our ability to edit the building blocks of life has recently been massively expanded by low-cost gene sequencing and techniques such as CRISPR; artificial intelligence is augmenting processes and skill in every industry; neurotechnology is making unprecedented strides in how we can use and influence the brain as the last frontier of human biology; automation is disrupting century-old transport and manufacturing paradigms; and technologies such as blockchain and smart materials are redefining and blurring the boundary between the digital and physical worlds.

The result of all this is societal transformation at a global scale. By affecting the incentives, rules, and norms of economic life, it transforms how we communicate, learn, entertain ourselves, and relate to one another and how we understand ourselves as human beings. Furthermore, the sense that new technologies are being developed and implemented at an increasingly rapid pace has an impact on human identities, communities, and political structures. As a result, our responsibilities to one another, our opportunities for self-realization, and our ability to positively impact the world are intricately tied to and shaped by how we engage with the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This revolution is not just happening to us—we are not its victims—but rather we have the opportunity and even responsibility to give it structure and purpose.

As economists Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee have pointed out, this revolution could yield greater inequality , particularly in its potential to disrupt labor markets. As automation substitutes for labor across the entire economy, the net displacement of workers by machines might exacerbate the gap between returns to capital and returns to labor. On the other hand, it is also possible that the displacement of workers by technology will, in aggregate, result in a net increase in safe and rewarding jobs.

[What happens if 45 percent of all jobs are automated out of existence in the next 20 years? Peter H. Diamandis has a few ideas.]

All previous industrial revolutions have had both positive and negative impacts on different stakeholders. Nations have become wealthier, and technologies have helped pull entire societies out of poverty, but the inability to fairly distribute the resulting benefits or anticipate externalities has resulted in global challenges. By recognizing the risks, whether cybersecurity threats, misinformation on a massive scale through digital media, potential unemployment, or increasing social and income inequality, we can take the steps to align common human values with our technological progress and ensure that the Fourth Industrial Revolution benefits human beings first and foremost.

We cannot foresee at this point which scenario is likely to emerge from this new revolution. However, I am convinced of one thing—that in the future, talent, more than capital, will represent the critical factor of production.

With these fundamental transformations underway today, we have the opportunity to proactively shape the Fourth Industrial Revolution to be both inclusive and human-centered. This revolution is about much more than technology—it is an opportunity to unite global communities, to build sustainable economies, to adapt and modernize governance models, to reduce material and social inequalities, and to commit to values-based leadership of emerging technologies.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is therefore not a prediction of the future but a call to action. It is a vision for developing, diffusing, and governing technologies in ways that foster a more empowering, collaborative, and sustainable foundation for social and economic development, built around shared values of the common good, human dignity, and intergenerational stewardship. Realizing this vision will be the core challenge and great responsibility of the next 50 years .

This essay was originally published in 2018 in Encyclopædia Britannica Anniversary Edition: 250 Years of Excellence (1768–2018).

The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means, how to respond

4th industrial revolution thesis

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4th industrial revolution thesis

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Essay Service Examples History Industrial Revolution

Analytical Essay on Effect of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the World

Us as humans are on the brink of a technological revolution that will greatly change the way we live. a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third which used electronics and information technology to automate production, the digital revolution that has been occurring since late last century. There is one main reason that definitively separates the third and the fourth revolution and that is that the speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent. When compared with previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth industrial revolution is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace and these technological breakthroughs have dramatically changed the way of how entire systems of production, management, and governance and will continue on this path.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Founder and Executive Chairman, Professor Klaus Schwab, the first three industrial revolutions set the stage for the fourth: the early 19th century era of rail, mechanization and steam; the electricity and mass production revolution in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; and the emergence of semiconductors, computers and networks since the 1960s. The exponential acceleration of computing technology that has marked this phase is inflicting massive change on long-established industries, professions and institutions, including the structures of government.

Artificial intelligence is already around us much more than we know it, from self-driving cars and drones to virtual assistants and software that translate or invest. The consumers are those who have gained the most from it. They have been able to afford and access the digital world; new products and services have come to life through technology, products and services that increase the efficiency and pleasure of our personal lives. Ordering a taxi, buying a product, making a payment, booking a flight, watching a movie or T.V show, listening to music, or playing a game, can all be done with little effort.

How does the fourth industrial revolutions new technology work and how does it affect our world?

“This forth industrial revolution uses transformative technologies to connect the physical world with the digital world. Current trends include, advanced automation and robotics (including collaborative robots or ‘cobots’), machine-to-machine and human-to-machine communication, artificial intelligence and machine learning, sensor technology and data analytics. This trend is enabled by four key drivers which are, rising data volumes, computational power and connectivity, emerging analytics and business-intelligence capabilities, new forms of human-machine interaction, such as touch interfaces, augmented and virtual reality systems, improvements in transferring digital instructions to the physical world, such as robotics and 3D printing. The fourth industrial revolution has obvious benefits and opportunities which include better connectivity between customers and supply chains through real-time access to production information, logistics and monitoring, greater flexibility for businesses to produce differentiated products and services to tap unmet consumer demands, compete in global markets and capture emerging opportunities, enhanced workplace safety, production and improvements across the entire value chain.” I am cool.

Positive effects.

The fourth industrial revolution has both positive and negative effects on our world. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing how we live, work, and communicate. It’s forever changing government, education, healthcare, commerce, and most importantly, productivity. Every aspect of our lives. Education and the amount of information that is accessible can improve the lives of billions of people. Through strong computing devices and networks, digital services, and mobile devices, this can become a reality for people around the world, including those in underdeveloped countries. The social media revolution embodied by Facebook, Twitter, and Tencent has given everyone a voice and a way to communicate instantly across the planet. Today, more than 30% of the people in the world use social media services to communicate and stay on top of world events.

Negative effects.

While the Fourth Industrial Revolution can have positive effects on the world, we must be aware that the technologies can have negative results if we don’t think about how they can change us. We build what we value. This means we need to remember our values as we’re building with these new technologies. For example, if we value money over family time, we can build technologies that help us make money at the expense of family time. In turn, these technologies can create incentives that make it harder to change that underlying value. People have a deep relationship with technologies. They are how we create our world, and we must develop them with care. More than ever, it’s important that we begin right. “We have to this race between the growing power of the technology, and the growing wisdom with which we manage it. We don’t want to learn from mistakes.” Max Tegmark, Life 3.0.

4th industrial revolution thesis

What is Australia’s involvement and contribution to the fourth industrial revolution?

The ‘Industry 4.0 Testlabs in Australia report’, released by the taskforce, explores the principles and framework for adopting the fourth revolution in Australia by establishing test labs. Standards Australia published a report on the fourth industrial revolution from an Australian Perspective as part of this work. To strengthen the industry-led nature of the taskforce, it is now called the ‘Industry 4.0 Advanced Manufacturing Forum’ and is hosted by ‘Australian Industry Group’. The forum continues work on, reference architectures, standards and norms, research and innovation, security of networked systems, test laboratories, future of work, education and training.

Investing in future skills development

When comparing the current issues and priorities of Australian enterprises to their global counterparts, we found Australian businesses are more focused on transforming their current business models rather than creating new ones. This is an issue because many opportunities in Industry 4.0 will be heavily based on new and emerging models. The good news is Australian enterprises are aware of this. The bad news is we’ve got a couple of blind spots that must first be addressed. More than half (57%) of Australian business leaders say they know which skills their future workforces will need to thrive in the Industry 4.0 future and, significantly, 60% say they plan to extensively train their current employees to help them close any skills gaps (compared to 43% globally). Australian businesses are also more enthusiastic than their global counterparts that the current education system will sufficiently prepare individuals for Industry 4.0 (Australia 53%, global 43%).

How does the fourth industrial revolution effect government?

Month after month, new systems, applications and business models surface and then explode into the market, offering radical new solutions in domains such as health and transport, even while disrupting long-established businesses and throwing countless people out of work. Historically, such periods of technology-driven upheaval have brought productivity gains, investment, growth, improvements in quality of life, and increases in longevity and health. There’s no reason to believe that the Fourth Industrial Revolution, like the three that preceded it, will fail to deliver these same long-term benefits, especially in a world where billions of people still don’t have electricity. Yet some of these technologies, especially those that automate routine tasks, may trigger job losses. That future is around the corner, in fact. A recent McKinsey & Company study predicts that almost half the time workers spend on their jobs can already be replaced with existing technologies. This change in technology will have an immense impact on workers and the security of their jobs, this is definitely something that needs to be addressed by the government. The alarming job-loss scenarios have also prompted warnings and calls for corrective policy. Tesla founder Elon Musk wants governments and civil society actors to ensure that machine learning systems are deployed ethically. Microsoft founder Bill Gates wants governments to tax robots to compensate for mass worker displacement.

Canada may be better positioned to weather the storms brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Demand for Canada’s natural resources and its excellence in agriculture and mass manufacturing has kept the economy strong. The country’s financial institutions are stable. Its debt-to-GDP ratios are low by international standards. The public still embraces immigration and believes in both the need to reduce inequality and in trade as a means of building wealth. Unlike the US and the UK, Canada’s politics and public institutions aren’t under attack. Yet in other ways, Canada may be vulnerable, with stubbornly low productivity and innovation lagging behind other industrialized countries. Right now, a group of Canadian start-ups are building world-class technology, but they are struggling to find the talent and capital necessary to scale internationally. To survive the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Canada will need to produce, retain and attract more of the right kinds of talent, incentivize corporate Canada to make the same kinds of investments in technology that they have long made in natural resources, and support these companies as they scale into globally competitive businesses. The ability of countries to produce and sustain national champions will be central to their ability to survive the shifts coming at them.

The fourth industrial revolutions impact on education.

Corporate leaders aren’t the only ones who need to consider how to adjust to the new world the 4th Industrial Revolution is ushering in. Educators, schools, government officials, and parents must re-think education and how to prepare the next generation to take advantage of the plethora of opportunities and overcome the challenges enabled by ever-increasing technological change.

STEM (science, tech, engineering, math) education needs to improve across the board regardless of income levels, age, or gender. There’s no doubt every worker in the future will need some technical skills and improvement in STEM education is warranted, but it’s important to note that we shouldn’t adopt an either/or mentality. We still need to help students understand the values that will help us learn how to use this new technology ethically and morally; therefore, humanities training and professionals will still be essential. In fact, according to The Future of Jobs Report 2018 from the World Economic Forum, executives desired employees with critical thinking and collaboration skills even more than those with tech skills. Another way that education could improve given this fourth industrial revolution would be to alter the training of educators. American philosopher John Dewey said, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterday’s, we rob them of tomorrow.” Even though he lived well before the beginnings of the 4th Industrial Revolution, his words are very appropriate today. Rather than teachers distilling information to students that they then memorize, teachers will become guides to help students facilitate their own learning and lines of inquiry. Failure needs to be embraced as an essential step to learning. Additionally, teaching will be much more personalized, which will be supported by bringing in technologies such as AI and machine learning.

To summarise, the fourth industrial revolution can and has had a positive effect on the world the main positive effects being the potential increase in productivity and government. However, this comes at a cost as it could negatively affect our non-material living standards. The fourth industrial revolution has the power to greatly change businesses, how countries are governed, education and the general lifestyle of people through the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

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The Fourth Industrial Revolution Essay

The fourth industrial revolution, changes in technology, adapting to technological changes, challenges posed by the fourth industrial revolution, preparedness in society, real-life examples, recommendations.

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The term the Fourth Industrial Revolution was coined by Professor Klaus Schwab who is an executive chairperson. The definition describes the world where individuals move between digital realms and offline reality by using connected technology. The First Industrial Revolution transformed the lives of people from the handicraft and agricultural economy to the one that was dominated by machines and industries. The emergence of the industrial revolution meant that information technology became the main engine that was used to automate all forms of production. Although scholars classify each industrial revolution differently, the fact is that they comprise a series of events that were built upon the innovations of the previous revolutions (Schwab, 2017). This sequence of innovations led to the advancement of the forms of production in all economic sectors. The Fourth Industrial Revolution was written in 2017 by Professor Klaus Schwab who is an authority in leadership matters. He has a doctorate in economics and a master’s degree in public policy and has received several awards both nationally and internationally for his prominent work. The book contains relevant information because it concerns issues that are pertinent to society. The writer mainly focuses on how new technologies driven by artificial intelligence are changing all social spheres (Schwab, 2017). The way everything is done today has changed drastically due to new technologies that drive governments, individuals and organisations.

The book begins with the discussion of the major revolutionary trends starting with artificial intelligence, the biotechnology of the autonomous vehicles, nanotechnology, the Internet of things and robotics. The author does not emphasise individual technologies but rather the overall changes that the Internet has presented to society (Schwab, 2017). He states that the transformation has not penetrated into society comprehensively because the revolution has just begun (Schwab, 2017). Leaders in different sectors try to institute changes in the structure of their organisations so that they could utilise the benefits of changes. The rest of the book unravels broader opportunities and challenges for society, business, governments, individuals and other institutions globally (Schwab, 2017). The author strives to answer the concerns of the majority of people whether the revolution will lead to massive unemployment or create prosperity (Schwab, 2017). The outcome is predicted to be a balance between technology and human workforce. When one hears the term an industrial revolution, they think of the emergence of railroads and the steam engine invented in the 1800s. When compared with the previous transformations, the current changes are transforming the world but rather in a more common way. It is moving on a larger scale and, at the same time, more rapidly. Such contemporary technologies as self-driven cars are part of the Fourth Revolution. According to Schwab (2017), even those areas that were not touched before have joined the technological advancement, thus producing outcomes which could not be imagined a few years before. Since the revolution marks the start of a new period, everyone needs to have a deep understanding of what it will mean to human life.

This is upon everyone to be privy to the current changes and adapt to them so that no one stagnates. Schwab (2017) does not only highlight the changes the Fourth Revolution will bring to day-to-day operations but goes ahead and gives suggestions on what one needs to do so that they could receive maximum benefits from such transformations. The main message that the author wants everybody to understand is that collaborative growth is vital in this era of new technologies (Schwab, 2017). Schwab (2017) further says that, after leaders have addressed all the obstacles new technology brings, they should utilise them for the advantage of people. Thus, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is a comprehensive and fascinating dialogue highlighting challenges and benefits that the transition to advanced developments will make available (Schwab, 2017). People who are in a dilemma with unanswered questions will have their issues resolved if they read this book because it addresses all the concerns about the uncertainty of new technological territories. The term revolution means a sudden change in the manner of doing things. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, therefore, performs the same functions since it covers the territories that were not known before (Schwab, 2017). At the same time, the previous revolutions mainly concentrated on computer control, mechanisation, automation and mass production while the fourth one entails a range of both existing and new technologies. Furthermore, the changes will be across all the economies and industries, which means that various stakeholders will be affected (Schwab, 2017). The book surpasses being an introduction of a term but goes further and addresses social concerns and what can be done to ensure that this new phenomenon becomes exciting and is embraced by humanity. Professor Schwab has been at the epicentre of the affairs affecting people for more than four decades. Through his book, The Fourth Industrial Revolution , he authoritatively explains that the world is at the beginning of a revolution that will tremendously change the way human beings are currently living, working and relating to one another (Schwab, 2017). The book considers the issues that are relevant today and gives insights on how individuals can handle the future that is unfolding at a high rate (Schwab, 2017). The author gives finer details on how people’s collective responsibility can ensure that everyone accrues the benefits associated with the current changes (Schwab, 2017). Prior industrial revolutions freed humanity from relying on animal power to perform their duties. Through information technology, people developed digital capabilities that made mass production of goods broader and easier. However, according to Schwab (2017), this revolution is profoundly different from the previous one. It consists of several technologies that combine the digital, biological and physical worlds, which affect all the sectors of humanity. Industries and economies will be immensely affected by the transformation to a level where it questions the existence of humanity. Schwab (2017) argues that the revolution has led to changes, disruptions and shifts, which means that individuals live at a time full of great peril and promises. As the author notes, the world is now capable of connecting billions of people to the digital platform, thereby improving the operations of organisations, governments and individuals (Schwab, 2017). Even assets are managed in a manner that engages the natural environment, which undoes all the misdeeds of the preceding revolutions. However, as an ambiguous idea, the hypothesis is presented that some organisations might find it difficult to familiarise to the immense changes introduced by the digital transformation. Schwab (2017) remarks that governments are likely to be unwilling and unable to regulate and employ new technologies to capture the benefits associated with the new beginning. In addition, the shifting power will create unique security concerns; societies will fragment, and inequality will widen (Schwab, 2017). The author goes further to put the recent changes in technology into the historical perspective by outlining the most important technologies that drive the Fourth Revolution (Schwab, 2017). He discusses the impacts of new technologies on civil society, businesses, individuals and the regimes and provides reasoning on how these interested parties should respond (Schwab, 2017). At the core of his analysis, the researcher is convinced that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is under control as long as there is collaboration across all the sectors, geographies and disciplines (Schwab, 2017). Working together is necessary and critical so that the opportunities gained could be easily accepted and exploited for full benefits. Due to the imminent changes and challenges the revolution will bring, cooperation between citizens and leaders is considered beneficial to shape the future that will work for them. Schwab (2017) states that all individuals should be empowered and constantly reminded that new technologies are made by people themselves and for their advantage, which is a good opportunity that needs to be seized. The author argues that the pace at which individuals, organisations and governments embrace changes is crucial (Schwab, 2017). If they are slow to adapt, their very existence will be in jeopardy. The technological changes have prompted the author to raise the issue at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting that was held in 2016 (Schwab, 2017). At the meeting, one of the main agenda was to learn the current technological advancements and how people can benefit from the transformations brought by the revolution. Schwab further explains that modern technological progress will have immense impacts on society (Schwab, 2017). The effects include inequalities because the labour market is biased towards people who have technical skills. Another impact is the emergence of society referred to as self-centred (Schwab, 2017). The belief that one belongs to society will be defined by personal interests and values rather than work and family norms. The author argues that the Fourth Revolution is different from the previous revolutions in terms of complexity, scope and scale. (Schwab, 2017). The idea is promoted that individuals have ample opportunities to shape the revolution because there is no another way humanity can go without adjusting. The book says that artificial intelligence is already in use and ranges from the operation of drones, supercomputers, 3D printing, virtual assistants, wearable sensors, DNA sequencing and minute microchips to smart thermostats. These are systems that control the way businesses and operations are run. Therefore, Schwab (2017) explains that the changes in technology are already in operation, although most people have not seized an opportunity to capitalise on this (Schwab, 2017). The author outlines his ideas boldly on how transformations can be harnessed to shape the future for the benefit of humanity (Schwab, 2017). He remarks that one of the advantages of technology is empowering individuals rather than replacing them, as most professionals argue (Schwab, 2017). Technology makes societies progress rather than disrupts them, and innovators of such changes respect the ethical and moral norms of introducing transformations. Therefore, the thesis is offered that everyone has a chance to make contributions to the development of society due to new technologies.

In the book, the framework is offered, which leaders in any sector can use to meet the challenges posed by the changes and maximise on the profound adjustments. Schwab (2017) has had a deep understanding of this topic for more than forty years of uniting civil society, the private sector and the government, which gives him hands-on experience on the issue. The author begins a discussion on how each person can ensure that the revolution is for the advantage of humanity (Schwab, 2017). During this revolution, organisations that will survive are those that are driven by values and purposes because this is through these attributes that they can grasp the benefits of economic, social and technological changes. Although there is social excitement due to the changes the revolution will bring in control over countries, industries and companies, history teaches that any major disruptions to the economy come with other implications. According to the researcher, some of the effects of the revolution include political and social changes that require different ways of organising, thinking and working (Schwab, 2017). Thus, this is important for the revolution to act as an eye-opener so that nobody could be lagging behind because the consequences of not conforming are dire. In Schwab’s book, the beginning of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is explained comprehensively. This stage of human development is presented as the phenomenon that alters the way goods are manufactured from smart industries, synthetic biology and autonomous operations. The other changes include how people communicate with quantum and ubiquitous computing. Schwab (2017), therefore, proposes that new ways of doing things have to be formulated to guide people through the revolution. Everyone has the responsibility of others to positively contribute to harnessing the benefits of the existing transformations. Intelligence machines play a major role in any conversation regarding the Fourth Revolution. For most people, this is one of the concerns of the new wave of technology. The changes have, therefore, aggravated the already existing fears in society about the role of human beings in the future workforce. Schwab (2017) discusses this topic in detail and tries to dispel the concerns that the workforce in factories will be replaced with robots. He explains that industrial facilities are developing ways in which computer applications will work together with the traditional workforce (Schwab, 2017). The author states that the rapid increase of intelligent machines does not pose a dilemma on whether computers will replace human beings or not (Schwab, 2017). He articulates that contrary to common beliefs, the revolution will enhance workforce capabilities (Schwab, 2017). Thus, leaders should start preparing their employees and cultivate a model where they will work with robots.

The major concern arising from the analysis of the book is whether society will be able to control the new wave or not. Although the revolution has the potential of changing the way people work and live, its success lies in the combined efforts of citizens, governments and organisations. Schwab (2017) argues that if the authorities fail to promptly regulate and employ the revolution technologies, and organisations fail to adapt, society will face severe problems. By considering this issue, the author requests citizens and leaders in different fields to reshape the future by providing the conditions under which people come first (Schwab, 2017). To ensure that individuals are given priority, they should be empowered and reminded constantly that new technologies are for the common good. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is majorly driven by the levels of development in science, biology and digital technology. The First Industrial Revolution changed the world, particularly the means of production, by replacing humans with mechanical power driven by a steam engine. The Second Industrial Revolution made mass production possible through the invention of assembly lines and electricity. The Third Industrial Revolution was mainly powered by the Internet and digital computing, which automated the production process. According to Schwab (2017), the Fourth Revolution advances these technologies but does not eliminate their use. Therefore, the existing and new developments will be utilised alongside each other. The book is a worthwhile toolbox that can help governments and individuals to manoeuvre this endeavour. The Fourth Industrial Revolution clearly describes how innovations in technology have shaken societal and industrial fundamentals. Schwab (2017) explains the main 23 shifts that every human is going to face. Although the author talks about technological changes in society, the book is not about technology since the information in the author’s mind is about people, their intelligence and the qualities that are needed to utilise the revolution (Schwab, 2017). The researcher makes clear points on how diversity is essential because this is one of the most vital resources for everyone (Schwab, 2017). He states that good leadership, including contextual intelligence and personal health during this transformational period, is pertinent (Schwab, 2017). Schwab (2017) further explains that the treasure trove of data, the powerful visions for humanity and unique insights will be highly required to meet the challenges of the revolution. One of the theses is the idea that for any individual or organisation to remain relevant, massive adjustment is required.

The fact that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is moving at lightning speed is understood because today, the world is closely interconnected and rich in technology. The transformation has an exponential evolvement; however, this does not happen linearly. For instance, Schwab (2017) offers to consider a smartphone: the iPhone was invented in 2007, but by 2016, a mere nine years later, there were more than two billion users of smartphones. Within the same period, the smartphone technology developed to unprecedented levels that would not be thought of in 2007 when it was invented (Schwab, 2017). Thus, technologies are transforming the world at a rate that was not expected. In his book, Schwab (2017) takes readers on a tour of the economic, social and technological revolutions. The writer explains the opportunities and challenges that humans can face in the near future. The book is written in bullet points, which is the method that is commonly used by think tanks when presenting their reports. The author does not provide many discursive arguments, opinions and illustrations. Schwab (2017) utilises the executive jargon that is specifically meant for those leaders who wish to know how to navigate the period of rapid disruptive changes. As an essential argument, the suggestion is made that for people to overcome the challenges of disruptive changes, they should avoid linear thinking. The best approach that may help people overcome the difficulties is to formulate new forms of employment and social contracts. Schwab (2017) makes his position known when he challenges individuals and organisations that face the revolutions to design news ways that will accommodate the adjustments. The journey will require the honesty and flexibility of organisations to inculcate agility and speed in their operations. To understand the aim and purpose of this book, one needs to consider the work of Davos. Most of his writings have a holistic approach to what is currently happening in society and what challenges are anticipated (Schwab, 2017). The book enlightens readers so that they could have a deep understanding of the fourth revolution. This is a book that is recommended for reading because it offers readers to assess different benefits and challenges that people are expected to encounter during this revolution. It shows that the Fourth Industrial Revolution leads society to unfamiliar territories. Therefore, one needs to be prepared by having a deep understanding of what the current transformations entail and how one can capitalise on it (Schwab, 2017). Leaders need to know how to cushion society from this new disruptive technology because it will change the way people live today.

The book in question is useful to read to understand how society will adapt to the changes that are taking place today. Other forms of transformations will occur at the workplace and at the family level, thereby proving Schwab’s (2017) assumptions about the implications of the revolution on everyone. Therefore, one should read this book to understand the scope of changes and the measures to mitigate some potentially negative implications. In addition, the economic and political scopes of people will be affected, and the book contains relevant discussions. As Schwab (2017) notes, after one gets equipped with this information, they will be better placed to design strategies that will prevent them from the negative effects of transformations. Therefore, the book may be of interest to those who are eager to know where they are heading to as both individuals and society members. The book is valuable for policymakers, corporate leaders and citizens who want to gain the skills on how to navigate the challenges ahead, which have been brought by the changes in technology. Schwab (2017) argues that the profound transformation explained in the book will affect all the sectors of society handled. The information in the book reminds society that through collective power, the revolution is sustainable and inclusive. The digital tools applied will define how individuals conduct their businesses and identify global issues, for instance, climate problems (Schwab, 2017). Technology will be the key factor in determining how humanity will live. As a result, for a good understanding of how society is changing technologically, this is the best book to read. Schwab (2017) uses a language that is easy to understand, and the examples given are relevant to contemporary society, which makes the book a useful source of information. The author is an authority in the field of leadership and has been dealing with governments, civil society and the private sector for more than forty years. Therefore, most of the information is based on Schwab’s (2017) personal experience. If one wants to enter the future while informed comprehensively, they should read this book.

The book addresses pertinent transformational matters that have already begun affecting individuals, organisations and governments. Therefore, all the social sectors need to adjust the way they operate so that they do not find themselves in a situation when they cannot function properly. If all the spheres get prepared in advance, this may simplify the transformation process, and technological changes can bring essential gains to utilise for the benefit of human development.

Schwab, K. (2017). The Fourth Industrial Revolution . Broadway Business.

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The impact of the fourth industrial revolution on managers’ sense of coherence.

4th industrial revolution thesis

1. Introduction

1.1. mental health in the fourth industrial revolution, 1.2. the effect of the fourth industrial revolution on the organisation and workforce, 1.3. salutogenesis and sense of coherence, 1.4. salutogenesis in the fourth industrial workplace, 2. materials and methods, 2.1. research design and approach, 2.2. sample, 2.3. data collection and data analysis, 2.4. quality criteria, 2.5. ethical considerations, 3.1. theme: comprehensibility.

“Uhm, and actually quite disruptive, I think we hear about stuff like water, you know, self-driving cars, and maybe household appliances being interconnected, everything…” (Participant 2, Male). Hence the participant is describing the 4IR by proving examples of the new technologies of the 4IR namely self-driving cars.

3.2. Theme: Manageability

3.3. theme: meaningfulness, 4. discussion, 5. conclusions and recommendations, author contributions, institutional review board statement, informed consent statement, data availability statement, acknowledgments, conflicts of interest.

Share and Cite

Mayer, C.-H.; Wegerle, C.; Oosthuizen, R.M. The Impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on Managers’ Sense of Coherence. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021 , 18 , 3857. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18083857

Mayer C-H, Wegerle C, Oosthuizen RM. The Impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on Managers’ Sense of Coherence. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health . 2021; 18(8):3857. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18083857

Mayer, Claude-Hélène, Cemonn Wegerle, and Rudolf M. Oosthuizen. 2021. "The Impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on Managers’ Sense of Coherence" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 8: 3857. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18083857

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What Is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

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From AI to Web3, these are the technologies catapulting business and society into the next phase of humanity.

4th industrial revolution thesis

Devon McGinnis

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What exactly is the Fourth Industrial Revolution — and why should you care?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is a way of describing the blurring of boundaries between the physical, digital, and biological worlds. It’s a fusion of advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), Web3, blockchain, 3D printing, genetic engineering, quantum computing, and other technologies. It’s the collective force behind many products and services that are fast becoming indispensable to modern life. Think GPS systems that suggest the fastest route to a destination, voice-activated virtual assistants such as Apple’s Siri, personalized Netflix recommendations, and Facebook’s ability to recognize your face and tag you in a friend’s photo.

As a result of this perfect storm of technologies, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is paving the way for transformative changes in the way we live and radically disrupting almost every business sector. It’s all happening at an unprecedented, whirlwind pace (and it’s why Salesforce built Customer 360 to help companies keep up with changing customer expectations).

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4th industrial revolution thesis

Here’s everything you wanted to know about the Fourth Industrial Revolution (but were afraid to ask).

Where did the term ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ come from?

While the Fourth Industrial Revolution (sometimes called the 4IR or Industry 4.0) is set to change society like never before, it builds on foundations laid by the first three industrial revolutions . The advent of the steam engine in the 18th century led to the first industrial revolution, allowing production to be mechanized for the first time, and driving social change as people became increasingly urbanized.

In the second industrial revolution, electricity and other scientific advancements led to mass production. A third industrial revolution, beginning in the 1950s, saw the emergence of computers and digital technology. This led to the increasing automation of manufacturing and the disruption of industries including banking, energy, and communications.

The changes are so profound that, from the perspective of human history, there has never been a time of greater promise or potential peril. Klaus Schwab

The person who labeled today’s advances as a new revolution was Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum and author of the book The Fourth Industrial Revolution . In a 2016 article, Schwab wrote that “like the revolutions that preceded it, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world.”

He continued: “In the future, technological innovation will also lead to a supply-side miracle, with long-term gains in efficiency and productivity. Transportation and communication costs will drop, logistics and global supply chains will become more effective, and the cost of trade will diminish, all of which will open new markets and drive economic growth.”

It’s not all good news, however. Schwab also suggested the revolution could lead to greater inequality, “particularly in its potential to disrupt labor markets.” Furthermore, the job market may become increasingly segregated into “low-skill/low-pay” and “high-skill/high-pay” roles, which could escalate social tension.

According to Schwab, “the changes are so profound that, from the perspective of human history, there has never been a time of greater promise or potential peril.”

What are the technologies driving change?

The easiest way to understand the Fourth Industrial Revolution is to focus on the technologies driving it. These include the following:

Artificial intelligence (AI)

AI describes computers that can “think” like humans. They can recognize complex patterns, process information, draw conclusions, and make recommendations. AI is used in many ways, from spotting patterns in huge piles of unstructured data to powering the autocorrect on your phone.

Web3 is the third iteration of the internet. Web1 allowed people to access and read information on websites, like Yahoo. In Web2, blogs, wikis, and social media like Twitter and YouTube got introduced, giving people more control over the information they created and shared. In Web3, the decentralized world puts ownership into the hands of the community. Web3 comprises blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, and token-based economics, like NFTs .

Blockchain is a secure, decentralized, and transparent way of recording and sharing data, with no need to rely on third-party intermediaries. The digital currency Bitcoin is the best known blockchain application. However, the technology can be used in other ways , including making supply chains traceable, securing sensitive medical data anonymously, and combating voter fraud.

Faster computer processing

New computational technologies are making computers smarter. They enable computers to process vast amounts of data faster than ever before, while the advent of the cloud has allowed businesses to safely store and access their information from anywhere with internet access. Quantum computing technologies now in development will eventually make computers millions of times more powerful. These computers will have the potential to supercharge AI, create highly complex data models in seconds, and speed up the discovery of new materials.

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)

What’s the difference? VR offers immersive digital experiences (using a VR headset) that simulate the real world, while augmented reality (AR) merges the digital and physical worlds. Examples include L’Oréal’s AI-powered virtual try-on tool , which allows users to digitally experiment with makeup products before buying them, and the Google Translate phone app, which allows users to scan and instantly translate street signs, menus, and other text.


Biotechnology harnesses cellular and biomolecular processes to develop new technologies and products for a range of uses, including developing new pharmaceuticals and materials, more efficient industrial manufacturing processes, and cleaner, more efficient energy sources. Researchers in Stockholm , for example, are working on what is being touted as the strongest biomaterial ever produced.

Robotics refers to the design, manufacture, and use of robots for personal and commercial use. While we’re yet to see robot assistants in every home, technological advances have made robots increasingly complex and sophisticated. They are used in fields as wide-ranging as manufacturing, health and safety, and human assistance.

The Internet of Things

The IoT describes everyday items — from medical wearables that monitor users’ physical condition, to cars and tracking devices inserted into parcels — connected to the internet and identifiable by other devices. A big plus for businesses is they can collect customer data from constantly connected products, allowing them to better gauge how customers use products and tailor marketing campaigns accordingly. There are also many industrial applications, such as farmers putting IoT sensors into fields to monitor soil attributes and inform decisions such as when to fertilize.

3D printing

3D printing allows manufacturing businesses to print their own parts, with less tooling, at a lower cost, and faster than via traditional processes. Plus, designs can be customized to ensure a perfect fit.

Innovative materials — including plastics, metal alloys, and biomaterials — promise to shake up sectors including manufacturing, renewable energy, construction, and healthcare.

Energy capture, storage, and transmission represent a growing market sector, spurred by the falling cost of renewable energy technologies and improvements in battery storage capacity.

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How will the fourth industrial revolution affect business.

As these technologies change what’s possible, they’re also transforming customers’ expectations. A 2022 global survey from Salesforce Research reveals that 88% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its product or services — up from 80% in 2020.

With technology enabling businesses to offer greater personalization and more valuable, connected experiences across bricks-and-mortar and online channels, customers already have more options than ever, and they’re not afraid to switch brands for a better experience.

As data becomes the currency of our digital lives, companies must ensure the privacy and security of customer information Marc Benioff

The research shows nearly three quarters of people expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations, and that 71% have switched brands they buy from at least once in the past year.

Among the expectations customers have for the companies they buy from are that the company should “anticipate my needs” (62%) and “always provide personalized offers” (56%). This means businesses must focus more than ever on delivering a customer experience that differentiates them from competitors. Get it wrong and they risk losing more than just the sale, but losing their future business.

Because customers today expect personalized experiences, collecting quality data is more important for businesses than ever. Unfortunately, the research also found that 64% of customers say most companies aren’t transparent about how they use personal information. Nearly 80% are more likely to trust a company with their information if its use were clearly explained.

To keep customers’ loyalty, companies need to not only deliver exceptional sales and service in brick-and-mortar stores and online, but also prove they have customers’ best interests at heart.

Customers today expect personalized experiences; collecting quality data is more important for businesses than ever. 

“Deploying AI will require a kind of reboot in the way companies think about privacy and security,” Benioff wrote for the World Economic Forum. “AI is fueled by data. The more the machine learns about you, the better it can predict your needs and act on your behalf. But as data becomes the currency of our digital lives, companies must ensure the privacy and security of customer information. And, there is no trust without transparency — companies must give customers clarity on how their personal data is used.”

How will the Fourth Industrial Revolution affect the future of work?

Nowhere is the upheaval of the Fourth Industrial Revolution more likely to be felt than the workplace. As with previous industrial revolutions, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will profoundly affect people’s lives as AI and increased automation see many types of jobs disappear. At the same time, entirely new categories of jobs are emerging.

Strategic business and technology advisor Bernard Marr said computers and automation will come “together in an entirely new way, with robotics connected remotely to computer systems equipped with machine-learning algorithms that can learn and control the robotics with very little input from human operators.”

He added, “Industry 4.0 introduces what has been called the ‘smart factory,’ in which cyber-physical systems monitor the physical processes of the factory and make decentralized decisions.”

As the Fourth Industrial Revolution reshapes the future of work , businesses must prepare their people for the new world that lies ahead. This often means an increased focus on continual learning, upskilling to new types of jobs, and a commitment to diversity.

What should businesses do to future-proof their workforces?

Businesses will need to ensure they have the right mix of skills in their workforce to keep pace with changing technology. In the Salesforce State of Marketing report , one in three marketers reported talent gaps as a top challenge. Similarly, 50% or more of service professionals say the 2020 pandemic exposed moderate or greater gaps or shortcomings across a variety of factors, including technology and staff skill sets.. Workers will more than likely need to update their skills, not just once but many times throughout their careers. Many senior executives are already asking how all this will be achieved.

As AI begins to impact the workforce and automation replaces some existing skills, we’re seeing an increased need for emotional intelligence, creativity, and critical thinking. Zvika Krieger

Ebony Beckwith, chief business officer and chief of staff to Benioff, addressed the issue as part of a panel discussion at Dreamforce ’18, where she said businesses and governments need to share responsibility for upskilling workers. In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, she said, it will be important to create nontraditional pathways for building skills. One example is Salesforce’s Pathfinder training program , created in 2017 in partnership with Deloitte.

According to Tom Puthiyamadam, transformation consulting leader at PwC, it’s imperative that businesses build their capacity to innovate and be agile. “Think about it as a sort of ‘no-man-or-woman-left-behind’ policy,” he said. “Don’t just hire new talent — because if you don’t create an internal environment where they can thrive, they’ll fail. Instead, build a holistic solution.”

“Companies need to be thinking about enabling their employees to code in new languages, but also to change their mix of soft skills,” added Zvika Krieger, responsible innovation consultant and former co-leader of the World Economic Forum’s Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution .

“As AI begins to impact the workforce and automation replaces some existing skills,” Krieger said, “we’re seeing an increased need for emotional intelligence, creativity, and critical thinking.”

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How do we ensure the fourth industrial revolution is good for everyone.

With the Fourth Industrial Revolution presenting both immense opportunities and challenges, it’s up to all of us to work together to ensure it benefits everyone.

Humans must be proactive in shaping this technology and disruption,” said Bernard Marr . “This requires global cooperation and a shared view of how technology is reshaping our economic, social, cultural, and individual lives.”

With businesses at the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driving both innovation and social disruption, they must also play a pivotal role in ensuring the needs of all stakeholders are met, and not just those of shareholders.

With fears about job security and how personal data is used creating a crisis in trust , businesses need to demonstrate to consumers their values and intentions are trustworthy. As Nick Davis, co-director of the Human Technology Institute, and Simon Mulcahy, former chief innovation officer at Salesforce, have written , “Solving the dilemma depends on a company’s ability to convince its customer that it’s using technologies in responsible and trustworthy ways that will benefit them.” Benioff has said business is the greatest platform for change, and wrote that every business leader can have a direct role in creating economic opportunity for millions of people by investing in education and training programs for existing and potential talent.”

Every business leader can have a direct role in creating economic opportunity for millions of people by investing in education and training programs for existing and potential talent.” Marc Benioff

Pointing to companies such as Dow, IBM, and Siemens, which are already investing in programs to help people to acquire new skills, Benioff called on CEOs to do more to “build the workforce of the future, while bringing along the workforce of today.”

“In the coming decades, we need to establish guardrails that keep the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on a track to benefit all of humanity. We can all individually have a direct role in shaping our future, and creating economic opportunity for millions of people by investing our time and resources in helping others.”

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The Impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on Financial Services Regulation and the Realisation of Socio-Economic Rights


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  4. Klaus Schwab: The 4th Industrial Revolution (Part 3)

  5. EP7: What's Smart Manufacturing and how Kubernetes is used there?

  6. President Hage Geingob pays tribute to late former MP Ambrosius Kandjii


  1. The Fourth Industrial Revolution

    The Fourth Industrial Revolution heralds a series of social, political, cultural, and economic upheavals that will unfold over the 21st century.

  2. The Impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on Potentially

    Master´s Thesis in Economic History with specialization in Global Political Economy ... will lead to a “fourth industrial revolution” (Industry 4.0)

  3. The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means and how to respond

    The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production. Now a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third, the

  4. Analytical Essay on Effect of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on the

    The Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing how we live, work, and communicate. It's forever changing government, education, healthcare, commerce, and most

  5. The Fourth Industrial Revolution

    The term the Fourth Industrial Revolution was coined by Professor Klaus Schwab who is an executive chairperson. The definition describes the

  6. The Fourth Industrial Revolution

    complexity, what I consider to be the fourth industrial revolution is ... philosopher Isaiah Berlin in his 1953 essay about writers and thinkers, to be.

  7. The Impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on Managers' Sense

    The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) disrupts the world of work, ... Ph.D. Thesis, University of Pretoria: Research Output, Pretoria South, Africa

  8. What Is the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

    From AI to Web3, the Fourth Industrial Revolution introduces technologies that's moving business and society into the next phase of

  9. The Impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on Financial Services

    How to cite this thesis The impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on financial services regulation and the realisation of socio-economic rights by

  10. DISSERTATION o Attribution

    Fundamental research was utilised in analysing the introduction of the fourth industrial revolution and the social impact it would have not only on women