What is this Fourth Industrial Revolution?
Professor Klaus Schwab defines it as a way that encompasses technological advances that are making our ability to gather and process data ubiquitous. While we are trying to understand this revolution, we also need to understand the scarcity of resources to successfully implement the changes happening around the world through technology.
The spirit of the 4th industrial revolution is very high hence President Cyril Ramaphosa emphasizes the importance for South Africa in taking leadership in the digital era. As much as we are embracing this change, it is important to also consider the impact it has on the future work and learning institutions. Universities are filled with students who want to be employed after they graduated but how many will be employed since every company is looking into investing in faster production through new and improved technologies? If you have never thought about entrepreneurship, now is the time to do so.
The government has been promoting entrepreneurship and it is up to us as the upcoming professionals to also play our part. With the new digital era, comes new possibilities and opportunities. Many of us are training to join the work environment but the skills we are currently trained for may be easily automated. Therefore, we need to also reskill ourselves through platforms such as online training to better understand the new era and new ways of working. Machines may be replacing some parts of routine work, but the human element is still needed in all organisations. Thus, through new business, we can be able to create a space that allows both humans and machines to coexist.
While an improved education system, starting from the disadvantaged schools and universities, will allow students to prepare themselves for the new world of work, all stakeholders in the country have a role to play. This will allow students from disadvantaged universities a chance to compete fairly in the new world. However, without the fair distribution of resources, not all communities may embrace the new age.
Therefore, while embracing the 4th industrial revolution, we should take a lot of things into considerations. Our paradigm may be the same, our philosophy may be the same, but there are other factors such as scarcity of resources and fair distribution of resources to be considered for all South Africans to benefit from this revolution.
Richard A, Swanson, Elwood F., Holton III (Foundation of Human Resource Development) Watkins: 1989, p427
Sunday Time Article. Skills Development (Professor Klaus Schwab, p.11)