THE 4th INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION - PART 4

THE 4th INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION - PART 4

THE CHALLENGE OF POWER

Everything we do is related in some form or another to power.

As with any industrial revolution we can expect significant changes and more specifically to government, civilian organisations, the media and business which have previously dominated our lives in how we function over the last couple of decades.

Contributing to our advancement in this world has been a tendency to grant rewards that are excessive to "performers" i.e. individuals, products and companies through no more than luck or talent.

Coupled to this tendency are those who own global platforms and encourage this distinction.

This in turn has created concerns for exacerbated inequality within countries as well as between countries.

Both public policies and the current development stages of countries will have a huge impact on how gains are realised.

Data and talent will quickly become the highest-value inputs for organisations, cities all around the world are already innovating local ecosystems to rapidly take advantage of the new efficiencies enabled by the Forth Industrial Revolution, to meet the needs of citizens while producing sought-after products and services for global markets.

However, there are countries which lag behind effectively increasing the divide to digital equality and are exacerbated by public policies that inadvertently restrict open flows of data or people and which creates innovation cul-de-sacs losing impetus and missing the opportunity as other initiatives soar ahead.

The effectiveness of trying to catch up is not clear as yet.

The Forth Industrial Revolution needs to be understood in the context of a country's population and developmental stage and how the majority are or, are being, geared to participate.

"There is no doubt that the relative power between government and citizens is being disrupted.

The widespread use of digital communication, cryptography and public sensor networks (such as GPS and satellite imagery) has granted huge power to citizens keen to hold governments to account, while global social media allows new movements to coalesce, organise and innovate alongside government to influence and even co-create public policy."

The flip side is that some governments, in the name of national security, are restricting or even oppressing citizens as they reduce the space of civic participation.

The challenge faced is how there will be a balance of power between the civic and government relationship in this sphere so that inadvertently it does not create unmanageable inequality or critical security risk.

In the South African context the collective skills pool is important to understand here.

While unemployment is currently at around 27.7%, the number of the educated unemployed is not clear.

It is critical to understand the skills landscape of South Africa to understand the best application for the transference of knowledge to even the illiterate unemployed if we are to compete in any market.

Jobs can no longer been seen in isolation to a specific task but need to be multi-disciplined, multi-tasked and continuous learning orientated if we are to encourage identifying the talented for their advancement and provide sustainable work opportunities for an ever increasing unemployed population.

As to luck, well luck is what it is, but at this stage of the Forth Industrial Revolution it is clear that luck as with talent will come with conditions attached.

On this point, lowering the standard of education to push failed students through the system is defeatist in the scheme of things.

It is the writers opinion that the policy currently being practiced is not some sympathetic cause but a cashless policy as the funding to bring better education systems as well as improve the skills of teachers is beyond the ability of the budget.

To this end, communities and parents are going to have to collectively identify ways and means to bridge the gaps that the current education system fails to address.

Mediocrity will be and is to our collective peril – what else could one expect from an underfunded free education?

(To be continued in Part Five.)

Source and acknowledgement:

Nicholas Davis, Head of Society and Innovation, Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum