Careers and the 4th Industrial Revolution

 In Entrepreneurship

Do you know that the world is changing with the speed of light, without we as humans really taking notice of it? We take the changes on a stride because we have adapted over time that changes are inevitable, but there are certain things which change slower than what is expected. I suggest that you carry on reading to get a picture what I am talking about.

The World Economic Forum predicts that creativity will be one of the top skills valued in 2020 and that creative industries are on the rise; the time for artists who want to take the plunge to start their own business has never been better.

All evidence points to creativity as being a critical skill needed to thrive in the 4th?Industrial Revolution, says Professor Elaine Rumboll, founder of the Creative Leadership Consultancy and founder and convener of the Business Acumen for Artists at the UCT Graduate School of Business.

This leads us into the 4th?Industrial Revolution and how it will impact you, your family, your career and your business.



A World Economic Forum report predicts that 35% of the skills needed to navigate the world of work will have changed by 2020, regardless of industry. Importantly, in 2015 creativity was ranked as number ten on the list of critical skills ? in 2025 it will be the third most sought after skill, behind complex problemsolving and critical thinking.

?This massive jump in the importance of creative skills reflects not only the changing nature of how we live and work, but that people are inherently curious and creative. Creative skills are future-proof, in that they cannot be automated,??says Rumboll.

Rumboll cites a recent working paper by the Oxford Martin School estimated that 47% of total US employment is at risk due to automation, with a wide range of non-routine cognitive tasks becoming computerised.

However, the psychological processes underlying human creativity are difficult to computerise. The paper shows that the creative process involves linking unfamiliar combinations of familiar ideas, requiring a rich store of knowledge and an understanding of human values, which algorithms cannot replace.


Computerisation and art

?In the wake of massive computerisation, not only is creativity a prised skill set, but people are choosing to spend their attention, and their money, on doing things that are more curated and more artisanal??says Rumboll.

The numbers show that the creative economy is on the rise. World trade in creative services more than doubled in the decade between 2001 and 2011, with the fastest growth seen in developing countries. Interestingly, creative services grew strongly during the global financial and economic crisis of 2008 when many other sectors contracted.


Technological advances

These advantages are only set to grow in the face of accelerating disruption caused by the 4th?Industrial Revolution.

Rumboll says the velocity and scope of technological advances herald a breakthrough for the creative industry.??The time has never been better for artists who want to take the plunge and start their own business,??she says.

?The one tenet of this revolution is that it scales things dramatically and this increases inclusiveness. It provides opportunities for artists to scale their work globally. Technology is democratising access, not only to resources but to a global audience.??says Rumboll.


Changes for GOOD

The 4th?Industrial Revolution is changing how we live, work, and communicate. It?s reshaping government, education, healthcare, and commerce, almost every aspect of life.


Education and access to information can improve the lives of billions of people. Through increasingly powerful computing devices and networks, digital services, and mobile devices, this can become a reality for people around the world, including those in underdeveloped countries.

Social media

The social media revolution embodied by Facebook, Twitter, and Ten Cent and numerous others 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.

Global village

These innovations can create a true global village, bringing billions more people into the global economy. They can bring access to products and services to entirely new markets. They can give people opportunities to learn and earn in new ways, and they can give people new identities as they see potential for themselves that wasn?t previously available.

?The 4th Industrial Revolution, finally, will change not only what we do but also who we are. It will affect our identity and all the issues associated with it: our sense of privacy, our notions of ownership, our consumption patterns, the time we devote to work and leisure, and how we develop our careers, cultivate our skills, meet people, and nurture relationships.??? Klaus Schwab, The Fourth Industrial Revolution

Online shopping

Online shopping and delivery services ? including by drone ? are already redefining convenience and the retail experience. The ease of delivery can transform communities, even in remote places, and jump start the economies of small or rural areas.

Biomedical sciences

In the physical realm, advances in biomedical sciences can lead to healthier lives and longer life spans. They can lead to innovations in neuroscience, like connecting the human brain to computers to enhance intelligence or experience a simulated world. Imagine all that robot power with human problemsolving skills.

Autonomous vehicles

Advances in automotive safety through 4th?Industrial Revolution technologies can reduce road fatalities and insurance costs, and carbon emissions. Autonomous vehicles can reshape the living spaces of cities, architecture, and roads themselves, and free up space for more social and human centred spaces.

Complex work tasks

Digital technology can liberate workers from automatable tasks, freeing them to concentrate on addressing more complex business issues and giving them more autonomy. It can also provide workers with radically new tools and insights to design more creative solutions to previously insurmountable problems.


Changes for WORSE

However, while the 4th?Industrial Revolution has the power to change the world positively, we have to be aware that the technologies can have negative results if we don?t think about how they can change us.

Changes in values

In the future, it can also change the things we value and the way we value them. It can change our relationships, our opportunities, and our identities as it changes the physical and virtual worlds we inhabit and even, in some cases, our bodies.

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 have to develop them with care. More than ever, it?s important that we begin right.

Changes in employment

Artificial intelligence is unleashing a whole new level of productivity and augmenting our lives in many ways. As in past industrial revolutions, it can also be a disruptive force, dislocating people from jobs and surfacing questions about the relationship between humans and machines.

It?s inevitable that jobs are going to be impacted as artificial intelligence automates a variety of tasks. However, just as the Internet did 20 years ago, the artificial intelligence revolution is going to transform many jobs?and spawn new kinds of jobs that drive economic growth. Workers can spend more time on creative, collaborative, and complex problemsolving tasks that machine automation isn?t well suited to handle.

However, workers with less education and fewer skills are at a disadvantage as the 4th?Industrial Revolution progresses. Businesses and governments need to adapt to the changing nature of work by focusing on training people for the jobs of tomorrow. Talent development, lifelong learning, and career reinvention are going to be critical to the future workforce.

Changes in equality

People are asking whether the 4th?Industrial Revolution is the road to a better future for all. The power of technology is increasing rapidly and facilitating extraordinary levels of innovation. And as we know, more people and things in the world are becoming connected. But that doesn?t necessarily pave the way for a more open, diverse, and inclusive global society.

According to the World Economic Forum Global Risks Report 2017, ?the 4th Industrial Revolution has the potential to raise income levels and improve the quality of life for all people. But today, the economic benefits of the 4th Industrial Revolution are becoming more concentrated among a small group. This increasing inequality can lead to political polarisation, social fragmentation, and lack of trust in institutions. To address these challenges, leaders in the public and private sectors need to have a deeper commitment to more inclusive development and equitable growth that lifts up all people.?

Changes in privacy

We value the ability to control what is known about us, and yet we are living in a world where tracking every individual?s personal information is key to delivering more intelligent, personalised services. For example:

  • Facebook tracks what you do so that it knows which content and advertisements are most relevant to you.
  • Smartphones track your location, and you can share that information with apps that recommend places to eat or shop.
  • Retailers analyse your purchase history to recommend products and offer coupons to stimulate more sales.

In the future, you?ll walk into a store and the salesperson will immediately have your name, credit rating, marital status, and past purchases flashed to their augmented-reality virtual screen.

Changes in trust

Public trust in business, government, the media, and even technology is falling. This is a crisis that is dividing societies and creating instability around the world. According to Professor Klaus Schwab, ?the biggest global issue is the continued erosion of trust?

The technologies of the 4th?Industrial Revolution themselves are neutral, but are they being applied in ways that build trust? Are consumers going to trust that new artificial intelligence and robotic systems can make their lives better, or are they going to be fearful of the machines and those who control them? Are citizens going to trust the institutions and service providers who collect and maintain their data?

For the 4th?Industrial Revolution to generate trust, everyone contributing to it (including you) must collaborate and feel a connection to common objectives. More transparency into how we govern and manage this technology is key, as are security models that boost our confidence that these systems won?t be hacked, run amok, or become tools of oppression by those who control them.


Bringing it together

The innovations in artificial intelligence, biotechnology, robotics, and other emerging technologies are going to redefine what it means to be human and how we engage with one another and the planet. Our capabilities, our identities, and our potential will all evolve along with the technologies we create.

In the coming decades, we must establish guardrails that keep the advances of the 4th?Industrial Revolution on a track to benefit all of humanity. We must recognise and manage the potential negative impacts they can have, especially in the areas of equality, employment, privacy, and trust. We have to consciously build positive values into the technologies we create, think about how they are to be used, and design them with ethical application in mind and in support of collaborative ways of preserving what?s important to us.

You, as a person, citizen, employee, employer, entrepreneur, investor, and social influencer, are a critical stakeholder in the 4th?Industrial Revolution. Sharing your thoughts on the technologies and what you value as this revolution unfolds is essential. The world we create through technologies can shape our lives and is the one we pass on to the next generation.

Finally, ?The Fourth Industrial Revolution can compromise humanity?s traditional sources of meaning, work, community, family, and identity or it can lift humanity into a new collective and moral consciousness based on a sense of shared destiny. The choice is ours.??? Klaus Schwab, The 4th?Industrial Revolution


Key points

  • In 2025 creativity will be the third most sought after skill, behind complex problemsolving and critical thinking
  • The 4th?IR is changing how we live, work, and communicate. It?s reshaping government, education, healthcare, and commerce, almost every aspect of life
  • The 4th?IR has the power to change the world positively, we have to 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
  • To generate trust, everyone contributing to it must collaborate and feel a connection to common objectives to build trusting relationships
  • The world we create through technologies can shape our lives and is the one we pass on to the next generation
  • Jobs and careers is in the process of changing


Way forward

I think you have learned that careers in the corporate world is fast changing. The corporate world find it difficult to provide linear development careers for their talented staff and it will become more and more difficult in the future for corporate to provide what we were used to in any case generation Y employees are not suitable anymore for linear career ladders anymore, so where does this leave them. The answer is to start to think like an entrepreneur and to create your own future and not rely on others to create your future for you.

So think what does this mean for you?

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