We are on the verge of a fourth technological revolution that will change they way we live, work and relate to each other. We have already seen impressive change in physical, digital and biological megatrends in the last decade that will define our future. Physical megatrends as autonomous (self-driving) vehicles , 3D printing, advanced robotics and new materials are all becoming more common place. Digital megatrends like on-demand technologies such as Uber, Air BnB an Netflix have taken the world by storm. Most impressively recent innovations in biology means that synthetic sequencing and the writing of DNA (bioprinting) is on the horizon.
Technological revolution has the potential the raise the quality of life and global income levels with consumers being able to afford new products and services that increase efficiency. However, it may also result in greater inequality with workers being substituted by automated machines. In addition an asymetry of power could occur between the tech savvy who use the technology and those who do not understand.
Many issues will arise as technology advances and new innovative possibilities come to light. There has been much debate over the ethics and legality of Uber with their lack of credentials and its negative effect on the livelihood of licence Taxi Drivers. However, the on-demand service is an affordable and effective option for students like myself. Furthermore, I’ve recieved a higher level of service with Uber due the star rating system. Such an on-demand economy offers flexible working hours and furthers innovation in the workplace, however employees do have reduced job security due to basically being private contractors.
While reading about digital megatrends the newest fad ‘Pokemon Go’ game to mind. It’s fair to think people walking around outside staring at their screens is ridiculous and sometimes dangerous. However, the Augmented Reality of Pokemon Go has the potential to get people outside and socailising who may not otherwise. People have reported that it’s actually helped with their social anxiety and mental health. On the similar note, Vitural Reality is being used as a tool to treat phobias, pains, and even help with surgery. Further it’s being used to improve the standard of life by letting the severely disabled explore the world in which may be difficult or impossible in real life.
For someone who is soon graduating I hope that these innovations in technology leads to job creation and all new industries that have the potential to be a part of my future. As a young person I feel like its important to understand and keep up to date with the technological advancements as the future is coming quicker than ever.
Extracts from Klaus Schwab, 2016, The Fourth Industrial Revolution (World Economic Forum), pp.14-26, 47-50, 67-73, 91-104.
Luke Egan – s3490681