The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is an idea on the minds of the world’s top thinkers, from corporate leaders to government officials. And with good cause: it’s a huge concept to wrap one’s head around, but one that must be properly understood in order to use it to its highest potential.
4IR is the latest industrial revolution (also called Industry 4.0) and it’s built on the foundations of the previous three industrial revolutions. These were powered by steam, electricity, and computers respectively. 4IR now offers potential innovations based on the very latest technologies to emerge from the previous three, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and super-advanced sensors connected to a worldwide network (aka The Internet of Things).
Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) recently conducted a survey on perceptions around the 4IR by contacting 6 000 consumers and 1 800 corporate technology decision makers from around the world.
The results were fascinating.
For example, 73% of those surveyed from the Asian economic region (China, Japan, South Korea) indicated that they believed 4IR is leading society in the right direction. The West didn’t share their enthusiasm.
Interestingly, Asian respondents also indicated they were more concerned about 4IR’s potential to displace humans from their jobs – India 73%; China 51%; South Korea, 49% – compared to those in Western economies who felt the same – US 42%, UK 37%, Germany 36%.
Business believes in people
Fortunately, PWC also showed that 36% of the business leaders surveyed have identified retaining and upskilling as top priorities within their businesses.
This echoes the Tarsus Technology Group’s sentiments on the matter, as it makes the most sense: don’t get rid of people if a bot can do their job, rather upskill them to do something else and keep their experience and knowledge within the business.
To AI or not to AI?
The biggest question mark anyone seems to have when it comes to the 4IR is on the topic of artificial intelligence: people aren’t quite sure about it yet.
This was reflected in the answer to the question of AI making decisions for people: only 48% of respondents indicated they’d be okay with it.
The PWC survey has plenty more to say; the above is a small selection of the answers provided. If you’d like to read it in full, you can find it here; it’s a very informative read.