Welcome to the 4th Industrial Revolution.  Like the First Industrial Revolution’s steam-powered factories, the Second Industrial Revolution’s application of science to mass production and manufacturing, the Third Industrial Revolution’s start into digitization, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s technologies, such as artificial intelligence, genome editing, augmented reality, robotics, and 3-D printing, are rapidly changing the way humans create, exchange, and distribute value

Simply put, the Fourth Industrial Revolution refers to how technologies like artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles and the internet of things are merging with humans' physical lives.  It is the blurring of boundaries between the physical, digital, and biological worlds.

The future is defined as the time after the present. Its arrival is considered inevitable due to the existence of time and the laws of physics.   The  Future is always approaching.  The real question is – are we ready for the change and are we ready to adapt quickly?           

The future is always coming and most of the time it happens without us even noticing it.  Let’s take a brief moment to pause and re-cap what just happened in a very short amount of time.    

In 1998, Kodak had 170,000 employees and sold 85% of all photo paper worldwide.  Within just a few years, their business model disappeared and they went bankrupt.

What  happened to Kodak will happen in a lot of industries in the next 10 years and, most employers won't see it coming.  Did you think in 1998 that 3 years later you would never take pictures on film again?

Yet digital cameras were invented in 1975.  The first ones only had 10,000 pixels, but followed Moore's law.  So as with all exponential technologies, it was a disappointment for a time, before it became way superior and became mainstream in only a few short years.  It will now happen again with artificial intelligence, health, autonomous and electric cars, education, 3Dprinting, agriculture and jobs.  

Let’s pause and reflect on a quick snapshot of what is quickly evolving with the 4th Industrial Revolution:

  • Software: will continue to disrupt most traditional industries in the next 5-10 years.
  • Uber: is just a software tool, they don't own any cars, and are now the biggest  taxi company in the  world.
  • Airbnb: is now the biggest hotel company in the world, although they don't own any properties.
  • Artificial Intelligence: computers become exponentially better in understanding the world .  A computer has already beat the best Go-player in the world, 10 years earlier than expected.
  • In the US, young lawyers already don't get jobs.  Because of IBM's Watson, LegalZoom, etc. you can get legal advice within seconds, with 90% accuracy compared with 70% accuracy when done by humans.  There will be 90% less lawyers in the future, only specialists will remain.
  • Facebook and Apple: have pattern recognition software that can recognize faces better than humans.
  • Autonomous cars: in 2018 the first self-driving cars appeared for the public and the complete industry was disrupted. Soon you don't want to own a car anymore.  You will call a car with your phone, it will show up at your location and drive you to your destination. You will not need to park it, you only pay for the driven distance and can be productive while driving.  Our kids may never get a driver's license and will never own a car.  It will change the cities, because we will need 90-95% less cars for that.  Maybe we can transform former parking spaces into parks.  According to these projections, most car companies will probably become bankrupt .  Traditional car companies try the evolutionary approach and just build better cars, while tech companies (Tesla, Apple, Google) will do the revolutionary approach and have built a computer on wheels.
  • Insurance companies: will have massive trouble because without accidents, the insurance will become 100x cheaper.  Their car insurance business model will disappear.
  • Real estate: will change. – think about it - if you can work while you commute, people will move further away to live in a more beautiful neighborhood.
  • Electricity: will continue to become cheaper and cleaner:  Solar production has been on an exponential curve for 30 years, but you can now see the real impact.
  • 3D printing: the price of the cheapest 3D printer came down from $18,000 to $400 within 10 years. In the same time, it  became 100 times faster.  The space station now has a printer that eliminates the  need for the large amount of spare parts they used to have in the past.
  • Business opportunities: If you think of a niche you want to go in, first ask yourself: "In the future, do I think we will have that?" and if the answer is yes, how can you make that happen sooner?  If it doesn't work with your phone, forget the idea.  Most believe that any idea designed for success in the 20th century is doomed to failure in the 21st century.
  • Agriculture: there will be more agricultural robots in the future.  Farmers can then become managers of their field instead of working all day on their fields.
  • Work: 70-80% of jobs will evolve or disappear in the next 20 years. There will be a lot of new jobs, but it is not clear if there will be enough skilled talent in the near future to fill these roles. 

The reason for this pause and reflection is not only to step back and put things into perspective but as employers - are we ready for this level of change is such a short period of time?  How will you begin to retrain existing employees or recruit new one in this new revolution – something we all must think about within our recruitment efforts. 

There has never been a better time to re-invent talent acquisition.

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