In the 1700s, we had the first industrial revolution. It ushered in urbanization and work for people in factories. The second industrial revolution improved transport and communication and gave us the gift of automation. The third revolution brought forth the rise of electronics, telecommunications and of course computers. The fourth one, in which we find ourselves presently, improved communication and connectivity further, and continues to make advancements in artificial intelligence, robotics and augmented reality. In the last 100 years, the technological landscape has changed like never before.
Few would dispute that this period of profound change has sharply accelerated in the last 2 months with Covid-19 transforming everything. The pandemic has not only dramatically changed the way we work, but also sped the adoption of new technology, leading companies across industries into a more mature state of IoT technology and workflow. It has also accelerated our progress to the 5th industrial revolution.
Adoption of new technology, however, only defines the tip of the impact the 5th Industrial Revolution will have on the world. Many of us are already getting used to the idea of becoming digital natives, but as the fourth and fifth revolutions work in parallel, this way of being is set to expand even further.
The days of the typical 9 to 5 are numbered. Regardless of whether you live in New York or New Delhi, technology will allow you to work from where you live. This, even as AI and robotics drive a move towards automation, forcing governments to rethink labour laws and economics.
Some of this change is already underway. Just think about it, unlike our parents, or those from a generation ago, who stuck it out at a single job for their whole lives, most people currently prefer switching jobs in the interest of better pay and prospects. The gig economy has allowed millions to become their own bosses, working on specific projects in their area of expertise.
The Fifth Revolution will change this even further. Research already predicts that half of the jobs in the US – equivalent to around $15 trillion in wages (£11.8tn) – have the potential to be automated. Businesses around the world have already started looking at ways to make things more efficient, delegating routine tasks to bot technology and simple AI.
As we are finding out, this is a time of great disruption. In contrast to trends in the previous revolutions that resulted in dehumanization of labour, experts say the fifth industrial revolution will help re-establish business’s connection to humanity and social good, by centering it’s mission towards purpose, instead of profit.
We are however in many ways still unprepared to ride this new wave. According to The Future of Jobs Report 2018, nearly 50% of companies expect that automation will lead to some reduction in their full-time workforce by 2022. Among the range of established roles that are set to experience increasing demand are Data Analysts and Scientists, Software and Applications Developers, and Ecommerce and Social Media Specialists, roles that are significantly based on and enhanced by the use of technology.
To be equipped for the times ahead requires a paradigm shift in the way we think about the future of work. On an individual level, it means recognizing the challenges and preparing for it. At the level of the individual, it requires choosing a career of the future, or being future ready for it by investing in the right skills..
It’s clear that tech skills are more valuable today than they ever have been. They’ll continue to play a huge role when it comes to fighting the COVID-19 crisis, as well as any future crises.
At Mission Ready HQ, it is our mission to train people in skills of the future. If a pivot into tech interests you, or you want to start a career in it , check out the accelerators we offer here.
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The world currently is in a disruptive stage, as the fifth industrial revolution unfolds to impact our lives—for better or for worse. Now we wait and observe what the future has in store for us.