THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

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“We are at the beginning of a revolution that is fundamentally changing the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope and complexity, what I consider to be the fourth industrial revolution is unlike anything humankind has experienced before. … We are witnessing profound shifts across all industries, marked by the emergence of new business models, the disruption of incumbents and the reshaping of production, consumption, transportation and delivery systems. On the societal front, a paradigm shift is underway in how we work and communicate, as well as how we express, inform and entertain ourselves. Equally, governments and institutions are being reshaped, as are systems of education, healthcare and transportation, among many others. New ways of using technology to change behavior and our systems of production and consumption also offer the potential for supporting the regeneration and preservation of natural environments, rather than creating hidden costs in the form of externalities. … Shaping the fourth industrial revolution to ensure that it is empowering and human-centered, rather than divisive and dehumanizing, is not a task for any single stakeholder or sector or for any one region, industry or culture. The fundamental and global nature of this revolution means it will affect and be influenced by all countries, economies, sectors and people. It is, therefore, critical that we invest attention and energy in multistakeholder cooperation across academic, social, political, national and industry boundaries. These interactions and collaborations are needed to create positive, common and hope-filled narratives, enabling individuals and groups from all parts of the world to participate in, and benefit from, the ongoing transformations.” – Introduction, The Fourth Industrial Revolution, p1-4

A PRIMER ON THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION CHARACTERISED BY SCOPE, SCALE AND SPEED

It’s just a few years ago that the world started talking about the Third Industrial Revolution. The Economist’s article in 2012 (http://www.economist.com/node/21553017), highlighting especially on 3D printing and manufacturing going digital, discussed on various disruptive forces and stated we’re in the Third Industrial Revolution. Jeremy Rifkin’s The Third Industrial Revolution published in 2011 probably left a strong mark on this subject. Now, however, it seems we are moving far beyond the third industrial revolution and riding on the next wave.

The founder of the World Economic Forum, based on extensive surveys from and conversations with world leaders from all boundaries, wants to define and discuss on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and raise awareness to build the future on cooperative and common ground. This book is intended as a primer on what it is, what it will bring, how it will impact us, and what can be done to harness it for the common good.

My book summary will start with the characteristics of what makes the fourth industrial revolution followed by historical context, megatrends, impacts on key areas such as economy and business. I appreciated the author’s leadership concerns in each chapter, so for each subject, I have closed with leadership implications. Also, to help see the big pictures and for easier grasp, I have created tables and charts with essential features where necessary. Hope readers enjoy them too.

Also, this book is rather a primer in which it delivers key features and information, I will close my book review with rather a short contemplation without much elaboration.

  • Why the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
  • Definition and Historical Context
  • Drivers (Megatrends)
  • Impact Map: Five Levels
  • Impact on Economy
  • Impact on Business: Profound Shift

WHY THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION?


Despite some academics’ and professionals’ claim that we are in continuation of the Third Industrial Revolution and the developments we see are simply part of it, the author is convinced that we are in a distinct fourth industrial revolution in terms of three aspects – velocity, breadth and depth, and systems impact as below.

Velocity(Speed): Contrary to the previous industrial revolutions, this one is evolving at an exponential rather than linear pace. This is the result of the multifaceted, deeply interconnected world we live in and the fact that new technology begets newer and ever more capable technology.

Breadth and Depth(Scope): It builds on the digital revolution and combines multiple technologies that are leading to unprecedented paradigm shifts in the economy, business, society, and individually. It is not only changing the “what” and the “how” of doing things but also “who” we are.

Systems Impact(Scale): It involves the transformation of entire systems, across (and within) countries, companies, industries and society as a whole.

Leadership Implication

The changes are so profound that, from the perspective of human history, there has never been a time of greater promise or potential peril. However, decision makers can be too often caught in traditional, linear (and nondisruptive) thinking or too absorbed by immediate concerns to think strategically about the forces of disruption and innovation shaping our future.

Two primary concerns are highlighted about factors that may limit the potential of the fourth industrial revolution to be effectively and cohesively realized. First, the author perceives that the required levels of leadership and understanding of the changes under way, across all sectors, are low when contrasted with the need to rethink our economic, social and political systems to respond to the fourth industrial revolution. As a result, both at the national and global levels, the requisite institutional framework to govern the diffusion of innovation and mitigate the disruption is inadequate at best and, at worst, absent altogether.

Second, the world lacks a consistent, positive and common narrative that outlines the opportunities and challenges of the fourth industrial revolution, a narrative that is essential if we are to empower a diverse set of individuals and communities and avoid a popular backlash against the fundamental changes under way.

DEFINITION AND HISTORICAL CONTEXT


The author defines revolution as ‘abrupt and radical change’ and states revolutions have occurred throughout history when new technologies and novel ways of perceiving the world trigger a profound change in economic systems and social structures, with its abruptness of changes taking years to unfold.

Using this frame, the author identifies five revolutions – profound shifts – occurred throughout human history. According to the author, the third began in the 1960s and lasted till the end of the 20th century. The fourth started from 2000. Below is a table I have created for easy reference. Please note the time-line of tipping points of the fourth industrial revolution.

historical context

It is the fusion of multiple technologies and their interactions across different domains that make the fourth industrial revolution fundamentally different and unique. Also, the diffusion is much faster and major technical breakthroughs will reach their inflection point by 2025, fuelling momentous change throughout the world. The shift is fast approaching.

What enables this speed, scale and scope of the fourth industrial revolution? The author notes digitization’s returns on scale. Compared to the traditional business, digitization doesn’t incur diminishing return on scale: digital businesses have the marginal costs that tend towards zero. Also, the information goods provided by new businesses require virtually nil costs in storage, transportation and replication. Some disruptive tech companies seem to require little capital to prosper as well.

Leadership Implication

These are all fundamental changes affecting our economic, social and political systems that are difficult to undo, even if process of globalization itself were to somehow be reversed. The question for all industries and companies, without exception, is no longer “Am I going to be disrupted?” but “When is disruption coming, what form will it take and how will it affect me and my organization?” It’s our responsibility to ensure that we establish a set of common values to drive policy choices and to enact the changes that will make the fourth industrial revolution an opportunity for all.

DRIVERS (MEGATRENDS)


drivers

The author notes that all new developments and technologies have one key feature in common: they leverage the pervasive power of digitization and information technology.

He identifies the megatrends and categorizes technological drivers into three clusters. I have simplified the lists in the table above. The most critical aspect to note is these three are deeply interrelated and the various technologies benefit from one another based on the discoveries and progress each makes.

While many in the lists have been already much discussed for the third industrial revolution, I consider a few features especially worth taking note for the fourth industrial revolution as below.

First, 3D printing (also called additive manufacturing) that is primarily limited to applications in the automotive, aerospace and medical industries, will become more pervasive. Researchers are already working on 4D, a process that would create a new generation of self-altering products capable of responding to environmental changes such as heat and humidity.

Second, advanced robotics are increasingly used across all sectors and for a wide range of tasks from precision agriculture to nursing. Rapid progress in robotics will soon make collaboration between humans and machines an everyday reality. Moreover, because of other technological advances, robots are becoming more adaptive and flexible, with their structural and functional design inspired by complex biological structures (an extension of a process called biomimicry, whereby nature’s patterns and strategies are imitated). Advances in sensors are enabling robots to understand and respond better to their environment and to engage in a broader variety of tasks such as household chores. Contrary to the past when they had to be programmed through an autonomous unit, robots can now access information remotely via the cloud and thus connect with a network of other robots. When the next generation of robots emerges, they will likely reflect an increasing emphasis on human-machine collaboration.

Third, the blockchain will play an important role as part of digital revolution, creating radically new approaches that revolutionize the way in which individuals and institutions engage and collaborate. Often described as a “distributed ledger,” the blockchain is a secure protocol where a network of computers collectively verifies a transaction before it can be recorded and approved. The technology that underpins the blockchain creates trust by enabling people who do not know each other (and thus have no underlying basis for trust) to collaborate without having to go through a neutral central authority – i.e. custodian or central ledger. In essence, the blockchain is a shared, programmable, cryptographically secure and ­­­therefore trusted ledger which no single user controls and which can be inspected by everyone. If, at the moment, blockchain technology records financial transactions made with digital currencies such as Bitcoin, it will in the future serve as registrar for things as different as birth and death certificates, titles of ownership, marriage licenses, educational degrees, insurance claims, medical procedures and votes – essentially any kind of transaction that can be expressed in code. Some countries or institutions are already investigating the blockchain’s potential. The government of Honduras, for example, is using the technology to handle the titles, while the Isle of Man is testing its use in company registration.

Fourth, technology-enabled platforms make possible what is now called the ‘on-demand economy'(referred to by some as the sharing economy). These platforms, which are easy to use on a smartphone, convene people, assets and data, creating entirely new ways of consuming goods and services. They lower barriers for businesses and individuals to create wealth, altering personal and professional environments. Digital platforms have major implications for business and society in that they have dramatically reduced the transaction and friction costs incurred when individuals or organizations share the use of an asset or provide a service. Each transaction can now be divided into very fine increments, with economic gains for all parties involved. In addition, when using digital platforms, the marginal cost of producing each additional product, good or service tends toward zero.

Last, genetic engineering has been progressed so breathtakingly reducing cost and increasing the ease of genetic sequencing and in activating or editing genes. But the science is progressing so fast that the limitations are now less technical than they are legal, regulatory and ethical. The list of potential application is limitless but when used for even human such as the advent of designer babies, the greatest challenges are to be faced for both social norms and appropriate regulations. Also, we are confronted with new questions around what it means to be human, what data and information about our bodies and health can or should be shared with others, and what rights and responsibilities we have when it comes to changing the very genetic code of future generations.

megatrends

IMPACT MAP: FIVE LEVELS


Regarding the potential impacts it will have on us, the author states the scale and breadth of the unfolding technological revolution will usher in economic, social and cultural changes that are almost impossible to envisage. He analyzes the potential impact it will have on five levels – the economy, business, governments and countries, society and individuals.

I have created a table for easy grasp of the author’s discussion points as below. Due to their importance, I will mainly focus on economy and business in my summary.

fiveimpacts

IMPACT ON ECONOMY


1. Growth

So, will the fourth industrial revolution, with its technological advances and breakthroughs, have a positive impact on growth? What does your instinct say? Yes? Or No? The author brings up a noteworthy subject related with this.

There’s a logical expectation that as technology advances, so should productivity, hence growth. However, what the world has experienced over the past decade was stagnation, which means the exponential growth in technological progress and investments in innovation has not contributed to improved productivity. The author states that ‘the productivity paradox’ – the perceived failure of technological innovation to result in higher levels of productivity – is one of today’s great economic enigmas that predates the onset of the Great Recession, and for which there is no satisfactory explanation.

However, despite pessimists’ argument that the digital revolution’s contribution to productivity is over, and despite acknowledging the potential ‘deflationary impact’ of technology in terms of capital favored over labor, and the squeeze of wages, the author stands as a pragmatic optimist.

He sees that, while the productivity gains from the third industrial revolution may well be waning, the world has yet to experience the productivity explosion created by the wave of new technologies being produced at the heart of the fourth industrial revolution. He feels strongly that we are only just beginning to feel the positive impact on the world that the fourth industrial revolution can have.

He also introduces another insightful, and rightly apt in my opinion, argument in an attempt to reconcile the paradox – declining productivity with the expectations of higher productivity that tend to be associated with the exponential growth of technology – and to reinforce his optimism on the fourth industrial revolution.

The argument suggests that innovative goods and services created in the fourth industrial revolution are of significantly higher functionality and quality, yet are delivered in markets that are fundamentally different from those which we are traditionally used to measuring. Many new goods and services are “non-rival,” have zero marginal costs and/or harness highly competitive markets via digital platforms, all of which result in lower prices. Under these conditions, our traditional statistics may well fail to capture real increases in value as consumer surplus is not yet reflected in overall sales or higher profits. Therefore, measuring inputs and outputs and hence discerning productivity need to be different and so changed. I consider this as a very apt and good point in understanding the whole economic dynamics in the fourth industrial revolution.

2. Labor and Employment

We need, however, to also recognize and manage the negative impacts it can have, particularly, with regard to inequality, employment and labor markets.

The author notices four trends regarding employment and labor aspects. Firstly, he clearly sees that new technologies will dramatically change the nature of work across all industries and occupations. Secondly, he points out the extent to which automation will substitute for labor as one fundamental uncertainty in the fourth industrial revolution. Thirdly, he states that the fourth industrial revolution seems to be creating few jobs in new industries than previous revolutions. Lastly, there will be greater polarization in the labor market. Employment will grow in high-income cognitive and creative jobs and low-income manual occupations, but it will greatly diminish for middle-income routine and repetitive jobs.

What do these all imply when it comes to impacts on ‘skills’ and on ‘developing markets’ that rely on their abundant low-cost labors as major economic growth, which are now prone to be replaced by automation?

The author claims that in the foreseeable future, low-risk jobs in terms of automation will be those that require social and creative skills; in particular, decision making under uncertainty and the development of novel ideas. Complex problem solving, social systems skills will be far more in demand in 2020 when compared to physical abilities when compared to physical abilities or content skills. But on the other spectrum, there is a risk that personal services and other currently female dominated job categories will remain undervalued, leading to further divergence between men’s roles and women’s. He points out this gender inequality is something we need to work out.

Also, the author notes a possible re-shoring of global manufacturing to advanced economies in the fourth industrial revolution may become challenging for low-income countries in case access to low-cost labor no longer drives the competitiveness of firms. If this happens, many countries will have to rethink their models and strategies of industrialization.

3. Leadership Implications

On growth and productivity:

Two important statements for leaders to recognize. First, the ‘competitiveness rules’ of the fourth industrial revolution economy are different from previous periods. To remain competitive, both companies and countries must be at the frontier of innovation in all its forms, which means that strategies which primarily focus on reducing costs will be less effective than those which are based on offering products and services in more innovative ways. Second, the combination of structural factors (over-indebtedness and aging societies) and systemic ones (the introduction of the platform and on-demand economies, the increasing relevance of decreasing marginal costs, etc.) will force us to rewrite our economic textbooks. The fourth industrial revolution has the potential both to increase economic growth and to alleviate some of the major global challenges we collectively face.

On labor:

In thinking about the automation and the phenomenon of substitution, we should resist the temptation to engage in polarized thinking about the impact of technology on employment and the future of work. It does not mean that we face a man-versus-machine dilemma. In fact, in the vast majority cases, the fusion of digital, physical and biological technologies driving the current changes will serve to enhance human labor and cognition, meaning that leaders need to prepare workforces and develop education models to work with, and alongside, increasingly capable, connected and intelligent machines.

On skills:

In tomorrow’s world, many new positions and professions will emerge, driven not only by the fourth industrial revolution, but also by non-technological factors such as demographic pressures, geopolitical shifts and new social and cultural norms. Today, we cannot foresee exactly what these will be but the author is convinced that talent, more than capital, will represent the critical production factor. For this reason, scarcity of a skilled workforce rather than the availability of capital is more likely to be the crippling limit to innovation, competitiveness and growth. This may give rise to a job market increasingly segregated into low-skill/low-pay and high-skill/high-pay segments, leading in turn to growing inequality and an increase in social tensions unless we prepare for these changes today. Such pressure will also force us to reconsider what we mean by “high skill” in the context of the fourth industrial revolution. Traditional definitions of skilled labor rely on the presence of advanced or specialized education and a set of defined capabilities within a profession or domain of expertise. Given the increasing rate of change of technologies, the fourth industrial revolution will demand and place more emphasis on the ability of workers to adapt continuously and learn new skills and approaches within a variety of contexts.

On developing economies and global stability:

Does the fourth industrial revolution risk reversing the narrowing of the gaps between economies that we have seen to date in terms of income, skills, infrastructure, finance and other areas? Or will technologies and rapid changes be harnessed for development and hasten leapfrogging? These difficult questions must be given the attention they require, even at a time when the most advanced economies are preoccupied with their own challenges. Ensuring that swaths of the globe are not left behind is not a moral imperative; it is a critical goal that would mitigate the risk of global instability due to geopolitical and security challenges such as migration flows. The danger is that the fourth industrial revolution would mean that a winner-takes-all dynamic plays out between countries as well as within them. Unless public- and private-sector leaders assure citizens that they are executing credible strategies to improve people’s lives, social unrest, mass migration, and violent extremism could intensify, thus creating risks for countries at all stages of development. It is crucial that people be secure in the belief that they can engage in meaningful work to support themselves and their families.

On the nature of work:

The challenge we face is to come up with new forms of social and employment contracts that suit the changing workforce and the evolving nature of work. We must limit the downside of the human cloud in terms of possible exploitation, while neither curtailing the growth of the labor market nor preventing people from working in the manner they choose. If we are unable to do this, the fourth industrial revolution could lead to the dark side of the future of work, increasing levels of fragmentation, isolation and exclusion across societies.

swotnew

IMPACT ON BUSINESS: PROFOUND SHIFT


1. Sources of Disruption

The author discusses about multiple sources of disruption in both supply and demand side.

On the supply side, notable characteristics are the new technologies creating entirely new ways of serving existing needs and thereby disrupting existing values chains. New storage and grid technologies in energy, widespread adoption of 3D printings, real-time information and intelligences are some of the examples. Also, agile, innovative competitors – i.e. start-ups – are taking over well-established incumbents faster than ever, by accessing global digital platforms for R&D, marketing, sales and distribution, and as a result, by improving the quality, speed or price at which they deliver value. Lastly, digitization enables large incumbents to cross industry boundaries by leveraging their customer base, infrastructure or technology.

On the demand side, disruptions come from empowered consumers in the form of increasing transparency, consumer engagement and new patterns of consumer behavior (increasingly built upon access to mobile networks and data), forcing companies to adapt the way they design, market and deliver existing and new products and services.

2. Four Forces in Disruption

The author elaborates on four main effects that the fourth industrial revolution has on business across industries: Firstly, customer expectations are shifting, secondly, products are being enhanced by data, which improves asset productivity, thirdly, new partnerships are being formed as companies learn the importance of new forms of collaboration, and lastly, operating models are being transformed into new digital models.

Out of four aspects, I consider the new operating models have the most significant implications to businesses because the other three disruptive aspects ultimately forces companies to rethink their operating models. Strategic planning is being challenged by the need to operate faster and with greater agility. The author mentions two major operating models and elaborates on what they mean to businesses in transforming their organizations accordingly. “Platform strategies”, combined with the need to be more customer-centric and to enhance products with data, are shifting many industries from a focus on selling products to delivering services. Secondly, “data-powered business “ create new revenue sources from their access to valuable information on customers in a broader context and increasingly rely on analytics and software intelligence to unlock insights.

3. Combining the Digital/Physical/Biological Worlds

All in all, the author sees the impact of the fourth industrial revolution on business as an inexorable shift from the simple digitization that characterized the third industrial revolution to a much more complex form of innovation based on the combination of multiple technologies in novel ways.

What’s required for business leaders and senior executives is they understand that disruption affects both the demand and supply side of their business as elaborated above. Therefore, they must challenge the assumptions of their operating teams and find new ways of doing things, and innovate continuously.

As mentioned in the earlier part of the book, the fundamentally unique feature of the fourth industrial revolution is fusion and interaction of technologies across different domains – physical, digital, biological. The author sees especially the appearance of global platforms intimately connected to the physical world as a hallmark of the fourth industrial revolution: They combine multiple dimensions – digital, physical and biological – and succeed in disrupting an entire industry and their related systems of production, distribution and consumption.

For a holistic view, I have created a chart describing how disruptions are affecting the five forces using Michael E. Porters’ model. Externally and internally, nothing remains safe from disruptions in the fourth industrial revolution. Leaders in business should indeed be on alert and should be always in beta, keeping in mind these forces in disruption.

fiveforces

4. Deep Shifts from Disruptions

The author sees the disruptions these combination-based business models can have in several aspects. I have summarized them in bullet points.

  • It makes a notable shift from ownership to access. In these business models, no company owns physical assets.
  • By matching demand and supply in a rapid and convenient manner, they sidestep the business models of the incumbents.
  • This marketplace approach progressively erodes the long-established position of incumbents and dismantles the boundaries between industries, leading to industry convergence. In almost all industries, digital technologies have created new, disruptive ways of combining products and services – and, in the process, have dissolved the traditional boundaries between industries.
  • These fast-moving competitors provoke a disaggregation of the more traditional industry silos and value chains.
  • They disintermediate the existing relationship between businesses and their customers.
  • New disruptors can rapidly scale at a much lower cost than the incumbents, generating in the process a rapid growth in their financial returns through network effects.

5. Regeneration and Preservation of Natural Environment

Lastly and most importantly, business has to see significant opportunities that the fourth industrial revolution offers via this convergence of the physical, digital and biological worlds. That is, to achieve huge gains in resource use and efficiency. It’s not just that individuals, organizations and governments can have less impact on the natural world but also that there is great potential to restore and regenerate our natural environment through the use of technologies and intelligent systems design.

At the heart of this promise is the opportunity to shift businesses and consumers away from the linear take-make-dispose model of resource use, which relies on large quantities of easily accessible resources, and toward a new industrial model where effective flows of materials, energy, labor and new information interact with one another and promote by design a restorative, regenerative and more productive economic system.

6. Leadership Implications

In conclusion, the author highlights that the companies that survive or thrive will need to maintain and continually sharpen their innovative edge. Businesses, industries and corporations will face continuous Darwinian pressures and as such, the philosophy of “always in beta” (always evolving) will become more prevalent. This suggests that the global number of entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs (enterprising company managers) will increase. Small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) will have the advantages of speed and the agility needed to deal with disruption and innovation.

This also reinforces an underlying theme, namely, that the deluge of information available today, the velocity of disruption and the acceleration of innovation are hard to comprehend or anticipate. They constitute a source of constant surprise. In such a context, it is a leader’s ability to continually learn, adapt and challenge his or her own conceptual and operating models of success that will distinguish the next generation of successful business leaders.

Lastly, companies need to adapt to the concept of “talentism.” This is one of the most important, emerging drivers of competitiveness. In a world where talent is the dominant form of strategic advantage, the nature of organizational structures will have to be rethought. Flexible hierarchies, new ways of measuring and rewarding performance, new strategies for attracting and retaining skilled talent will all become key to organizational success. A capacity for agility will be as much about employee motivation and communication as it will be about setting business priorities and managing physical assets.

CONTEMPLATION: A BOOK CALLING FOR COLLABORATIVE LEADERSHIP IN ALL DIMENSIONS

This compact book contains the most essential features and trends of the fourth industrial revolution. In some cases, I saw one paragraph delivering a key message of one whole book out there. I believe at least twenty more books were squeezed in this one book. As the author states, this book is intended as a primer on what’s to come and as an opportunity for discussion between leaders to shape our future.

Positive outcomes aside, there is another reason this fourth industrial revolution is distinct and unique due to the fact that considerably negative outcomes have a potential to become out of control because of the very speed, scale and scope. I haven’t much elaborated on potentially negative outcomes in my summary but the author considerably shares them and discusses his concerns throughout the book, mainly because he wants to raise awareness and seek cooperation to shape the future with positive outcomes.

For this reason, I have concluded that this book is rather a leadership book than anything else. Standing as a practical optimist himself who doesn’t lose sight of the possible negative outcomes in case we don’t act or prepare together, he constantly reminds leaders or multistakeholders of opportunities as well as potential perils so that they can contemplate on and get prepared for the fast approaching future. To achieve this goal, he delivers knowledge and insights in a concise but clear manner throughout the book, which I have enjoyed greatly.

I have appreciated a few aspects of this book.

First, as I defined this book as a leadership book, the author’s ability to balance out the positive outcomes with the potentially negative ones is impactful. I loved his consistent efforts to remind leaders from all dimensions of what to look and what not to miss in terms of opportunities as well as threats especially related with social equity issues. His concerns about the disappearance of the middle class, about potentially intensified gender inequality in the labor market, about possible human labor exploitation in the form of human cloud, a dark aspect of a platform model that may dominate in the fourth industrial revolution, about further divide between countries and so on, continuously remind leaders of how important it is to increase the understanding of the revolution we experience, to raise the awareness, to build a common and constructive narrative. This is what I consider as the most meaningful aspect in reading this book.

Second, I appreciated the author’s optimism on the future despite pessimistic arguments out there on economic growth, productivity and labor substitution issues arising from automation due to AIs, algorithms, and machine learning. It’s a leader’s role to be constructive by any measure despite seeming challenges. In this sense, despite his acknowledging negative outcomes that can be realized, his practically optimistic stance toward the future is meaningful. Set the tone first, and the rest will be followed based on the positive tone he set.

Lastly, this book also provides a chance for a necessary philosophical discourse on what it is to be a human. First, facing rapid technological development of biological engineering that enables gene sequencing, gene editing, and thereby design babies, which can become out of control if we don’t work on ethical and regulatory issues, the author is issuing timely warnings to all of us. Secondly, facing the disappearance of repetitive manual jobs due to robot’s automation, the question of what it is to have a meaningful job and thus life in the future raises proper awareness to readers. Therefore, I believe his insight and defining on the required skills and talents are carrying great weight to all the readers as well as leaders.

CLOSING

Not so difficult to read but having lots of information in concise narrative, this compact book is a must read to all the people who are eager to participate in the future and to gain insights on opportunities. Especially so when we expect the tipping points of major technological breakthroughs in less than a decade! Speedy world we are in and agile and attentive we need to be!

—————————————-

 

WHO SHOULD READ THIS BOOK:

Economists, Academics, Policy-Makers, Leaders from Governments and Public Institutions, Business Leaders, Entrepreneurs, Start-ups, Anyone who wants to maximize opportunities from the fourth industrial revolution

RATING: 4 out of 5

RECOMMENDED CATEGORIES:

Business, Leadership, Economics, Strategy, Technology, Entrepreneurship

ABOUT THE BOOK

Author(s): Klaus Schwab

Published: 2017, Switzerland

Publisher: Portfolio Penguin

Paperback, 172 pages

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