CIO 100: 4th industrial revolution; for better or for worse?

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We’re on the cusp of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0). It’s quite different than the three Industrial Revolutions that preceded it; steam and water power, electricity and assembly lines, and computerization because it will even challenge the ideas about what it means to be human!

It is disrupting almost every industry globally and it creates massive changes in a non-linear way at unprecedented speed.

During a panel discussion curated by CIO East Africa at Enashipai Resort Naivasha, the hyped Fourth Industrial Revolution emerged as a super promise to better or maybe just transform humanity.

Nikki Summers, the Regional Manager for Sage East Africa, responding to a question on whether robots would overtake humanity in future seemed to have an optimism about humanity and machines adopting to symbiosis where the machines actually come in to compliment the human work force. She said, “Robots are not here to take away jobs but instead to help human with their mundane day to day activities.”

World governments should however, adequately plan for and regulate the new technology capabilities to ensure security. There might be increased social tensions as a result of the socioeconomic changes brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution that could create job market segregation into “low-skill or low-pay” and “high-skill or high-pay” segments. As Anna Collard, MD Popcorn Training put it, The Revolution has its share of pessimism.

“Technology has enabled for the ease of access to personal data which can be used for malicious reasons. Data from Identity documents or just credit cards is confidential but can make people very vulnerable with the ease of access, thanks to Technology.” Anna Collard

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is a disruptor of ages and was meant to improve the quality of life for the world’s population and raise income levels. It calls for leaders and citizens to “together shape a future that works for all by putting people first, empowering them and constantly reminding ourselves that all of these new technologies are first and foremost tools made by people for people.

Over and above, the Fouth Indusrial Revolution comes with a maybe equal pack of disadvantages as its advantages. Some jobs will become obsolete, meaning more people unemployed. Additionally, the changes might develop so swiftly, that even those who are ahead of the curve in terms of their knowledge and preparation, might not be able to keep up with the ripple effects of the changes.

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