Introduction - Study the last 3 revolutions to understand and estimate the impact of this revolution
We are at the doorstep of the 4th industrial revolution. During the previous three industrial revolutions, the world that entered the beginning of each revolution ended up looking different on the other side, particularly with respect to technology, socioeconomics and culture. Each revolution resulted in massive disruptions. For example, the emergence of mass-production factories created changes for businesses or people who were "producing" their product through a massive amount of labour. This created a whole range of remarkable outcomes, including leaps ahead in terms of the standard of living and life conveniences as well as the standardisation of the number of hours worked in a week. However, we also struggle with the negative impact of each revolution. For example, the first industrial revolution, in the late 1700s, led to widespread use of coal, which has contributed to much of human-caused climate change and air quality problems we are experiencing today – problems that have triggered a set of secondary issues such as health woes, etc.
In addition, the past three revolutions often resulted in an uneven distribution of winners and, sad to say, created a large number of losers. We can view the 4th industrial revolution through the lens of the first three, though the characteristics of the 4th industrial revolution are vastly different from those of the first three in terms of Speed, Scope and Impact. For example, telephone, radio, television, Facebook and Angry Birds took 75 years, 38 years, 13 years, 3.5 years and 35 days, respectively, to reach 50 million users. Also, when we shift from automatic-transmission cars to autonomous driving cars, this movement will have a greater impact on the way we travel, design our cities and create our jobs than the shift from manual to automatic transmission did.
So, What Can You Do to Position Yourself to Ride This Wave of Revolution?
With the way that social media and news articles talk about how AI is taking away or automating our jobs, it is understandable that many people with whom I have spoken are nervous about their future and job security. Following are some of the points I have shared with many people, from sales professional to marketing professionals, about how to position themselves to be relevant – and, hence, successful – in the midst of this gigantic wave that is crashing upon us.
You are more likely to be replaced by another human who leverages technology and performs better than you do than you are to be replaced completely by a machine/robot. So, STOP worrying and EMBRACE technologies that help you to do better
Worry is like a rocking chair, it feels like you are moving, but you are not going anywhere. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner mentioned that there are still many areas in which AI cannot replace humans, especially those areas that require social interaction. It is important to take note of this and stop wasting your energy worrying that your IT or digital colleagues will swallow your job.
Upgrade yourself by learning new skills. Most importantly, BE YOURSELF.
Many people think that data science jobs will be the "future" and want to pivot their careers in this direction. They ask me to recommend courses so that they can receive training in R or Python or data science. If they have the passion and commitment to learn data science, this is fine. However, it might not be a good idea to switch to data science simply because you think it’s going to be best for the future. Instead, it would be better to continue doing what you are passionate about while considering how technology or data science can help you perform better in your current position. Learn new skills, or upgrade existing ones, so that you can leverage technology to be more efficient. Go to Coursera or Udemy to pick up skills in digital marketing or something else that you are interested in. Be yourself and you will be much happier!
Go out, network and speak to more people or subject matter experts to get their opinions.
To gain a better understanding of what the 4th industrial revolution is and how it will transform the world, you must network and speak to subject matter experts, government officials, start-ups, commercial, sales and marketing executives, etc. It is impossible for one person to know everything and be an expert at everything. You will be surprised to discover that getting out there to talk to these people is very important, as their opinions about their own areas of expertise will help you better understand the landscape of the digital revolution. The more knowledge and understanding you seek, the less fearful you will be when going through this digital wave
We live in a digital world, where everything is much more connected than ever before. Last year, I started the “Coffee Break With Andy” initiative, through which, over a cup of coffee, I get to connect with, speak to and chat with people from different industries. If you’re interested, drop me an IM or connection request. While I might not be able to meet you face to face to have a cup of coffee, a chat over LinkedIn IM might be a good start.