The Digital Age, 4th Industrial Revolution

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Future state, future needs

The Internet, Social Media! The Internet of Things, 3D Printing, Cloud Computing, Quantum Computing, Artificial Intelligence. These are all distinct yet inter-related and integrated facilities influencing the future state of the world we shall create and leave behind.

What would life on this planet be in the next five to ten years, with these technologies influencing our daily lives?

I have already written about 3d Printing, Cloud computing etc and their impacts on business, governments and society, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 

Conclusively, the world is being transformed, through these aforementioned technologies, to an advanced integrated, inter-related, and inter- connected global society with demands for new skills, behaviors, products and services. The widespread use of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, the Internet and social media will spawn new lifestyles, opportunities, challenges and risks to traverse. New iterations will brings even greater advancements in these areas. Nothwithstanding these changes, we still have to survive and live in this present and future states and therefore acquiring the necessary skills is preeminent. Focusing on this for a moment throws the spotlight on areas aforementioned, but let’s look at the Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things

Forbes reports General Electric estimating investments in the Industrial IoT to reach 60 trillion by 2025. Business Insider, tracking the growth of the IoT over the last two years, throiugh BI Intelligence, reports astonishing figures. The report forecasts, inter alia:

1. 34 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020

2. Businesses will be the top adopter of the IoT

3. Consumers will lag behind businesses and governments in IoT adoption.

The vast galaxy of opportunities illustrated through those referenced above, and there are other sources not searched, is clearly visible in my mind. The question then, that must be answered by individuals, businesses, governments and civil society, is what are the most important skills needed to survive and live in that future state. 

In today’s world, we accept as commonplace, going to the supermarket or store or some other retail outlet or service center to purchase a product or service. It’s an everyday skill of composing emails, sending text messages, posting on social media. It’s an everyday skill to get into your car and drive to your destination, or maybe cat a flight to paradise. How about cooking or turning on the microwave or cooker, turning on the television or computer or changing a light bulb. How about going to the doctors office or even having new eyeglasses. Of course these are tasks we consider to be quite simple. But what will it be like in the future state?

Google already has driverless cars, Samsung has smart appliances, online check-in systems. How about analytics, artificial intelligence, advance robotics and simple point and click retailing. We can plug into our motore vehicle system and tune electronically and online. We can track realtime, and certainly we can see events occurring in realtime in the home, from the office or anywhere in the worldwide, utilizing wired or wireless connectivity. We can see, talk and listen to others from almost any part of the globe. All here already! In the future, Moores Law ensures innovation and advancement, technologically. 

The point really is that we already are consuming high technology much more than we can imagine, and it is expected to become even more widespread. 

Becoming prevalent in our daily lives means placing control over our daily lives in the hands of technology, and more importantly, control into the hands of those who control the technology! The risks are enormous. 

Reducing those risks means placing the technology more into the control of people who use it. It will mean that programming languages must be learnt and understood as an everyday skill. It may mean that new skills must be learnt in design and creation as 3d Printing becomes a household technology. It may mean repairing a household appliance requires a minor adjustment to a line of code, or that a person can build an appliance suiting his or her need. Maybe 3d Printing can help to reconstruct badly fractured or broken bones, or maybe a part for an appliance can be designed and 3d’d at home.

All of these things are possible, however what is clear is that new skills sets are to be acquired for living in the future state. This of course bring us to the point where we either need to retrain ourselves, or must star teach these skills in programming languages that are most necessary for future living. Certainly, we need to learn to read, and write, and develop logic, but must we really teach history, or geography, or grammar or Spanish or French or Hindi, when the the lingua Franca of the Internet is really one language. 

It would seem much more practical and indeed important to teach little ones what they will need to survive in the future state of driverless cars, lechnological governance, artificial intelligence, robotics, healthcare and delivery, design, creativity and allow them to shape the world they live in when it’s their turn!

What is certain is that there are tremendous opportunities for work and lifestyles far greater that my generation has ever known. Yes new skills will replace old ones, but that is the reality of life, in which the new replaces the old, everytime! 

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