How to have a good Fourth Industrial Revolution

Industry 4 Children UN 2018

Worldreader In countries where physical books are hard to come by and illiteracy rates are high, mobile technology is being used to facilitate reading and improve literacy, says UNESCO. Shown, in Kenya, a Masai girl reads on an Android phone.

This article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Michele Wucker, Chief Executive Officer, Gray Rhino & Company

To encourage people to examine the impact of technology on our lives, the artist Lauren McCarthy decided to try to become a human version of amazon.com’s smart home intelligence device Alexa.

McCarthy installed a network of remote-controlled smart devices, from cameras and microphones to light switches and appliances, and invited volunteers to stay in her home. Then she tried to anticipate and respond to their needs – like making a bowl of popcorn when she guessed they were hungry—instead of just responding to commands like Alexa does.

Get-Lauren touches on common anxieties, starting with the questions of what humans can offer that machines cannot, and what control each of us has over our future and even who we are.

“By allowing these devices in, we outsource the formation of our identity to a virtual assistant whose values are programmed by a small, homogenous group of developers,” McCarthy wrote.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution has ushered in new technologies that are changing where and how many of us work, what we buy and how we buy it, what we learn and what we delegate to our devices, and how we connect with each other.

It’s easy for even tech-savvy individuals to feel that we are helpless in face of these tectonic shifts. What can a single person do? What power does anyone have amid massive social and economic changes? What is within our control and how do we adapt to what is out of our hands?

Simply asking those questions is a good start toward managing technology instead of letting it control us. Seeking to understand the changes underway helps us to feel that we are doing something instead of facing complete uncertainty. Assessing how we use technology in the workplace, home, and community helps identify where we are doing well and where we need to do more. That, in turn, gives us the material to create a roadmap for adapting.

Embrace the future of work

All those stories of the “robots coming for your jobs” reflect public anxiety over how automation and artificial intelligence will affect the workplace.

On the good side, new platforms have made it easier for independent workers to connect with clients, diversify their income sources, and keep more of the income they generate instead of sharing it with a corporation with overhead and shareholders to pay.

At the same time, studies from the Oxford Martin School, McKinsey & Company, and others suggest that technology will affect most of the labor force. More than half of of US workers are not confident that the kind of work they do will exist in 20 years, according to a recent survey. Considerably more freelancers – 49 percent versus 18 percent of employees — think AI has already affected their work.

McKinsey concludes that the tasks that are least susceptible to automation involve managing others, decision-making, planning, and creative tasks. Somewhat more vulnerable are stakeholder interactions and unpredictable physical work. Data collection and processing are highly susceptible to automation. Robots are most likely to take over predictable, repetitive tasks.

Considering these changes, take stock of your own skills. Which ones distinguish you and which ones need improving? Focus on the activities at which humans excel where machines cannot – creativity, teamwork, innovation, judgment, empathy – and fields that are least likely to be destroyed by new technologies.

How would your colleagues, friends, and family assess your people skills? Ask them and improve your weak spots. Take a course, find a coach or accountability group, and check in with the people around you to see if they notice changes.

If your job is among the most vulnerable, how can you add skills that fall in a safer category? Where can new technologies help you learn new skills and apply them for much less than it would have cost in the past? What skills are you helping the children around you to nurture?

Review your tech relationships

Along with your work-related assessments, do a personal tech audit. Familiarize yourself with technologies that can help you outside of the office. Ask what is most useful for you, and what is just hype designed to sell you gadgets. Make tech work for you, not the other way around.

What dull tasks can you delegate to technological tools? What things need the human touch? I hate scheduling, so love the idea of an AI personal assistant. But an AI scheduler can’t handle jamming too many appointments into a single day on a trip to a big, congested city, or manage conversations with VIPs.

What technologies do you use already? Robot vacuum cleaners; programmable alarms and coffee makers; automated online tools; wearable technology; smart thermostats; parking assist? Health technologies from telemedicine to record management systems to apps that remind you to take your pills, help you meditate, or monitor your heart rate? Do you rely on social media and networks for searching for jobs; or platforms for sharing rides, homes, or cars?

Now think about how you use each technology and how much it benefits you. Do you change your behavior based on the readings from your wrist tracker, or do you ignore it? Is the amount of time you spend on social media or playing games healthy or a giant time suck? Does it leave you feeling better about yourself? Have you made informed choices about privacy and adjusted your settings appropriately?

Use good tech hygiene. Take vacations from your devices instead of letting your smartphone be an electronic tether. Set boundaries for interactions; don’t tolerate online bullies or trolls. Adjust your privacy settings. Fight the negative physical effects of technology, like hunching over your phone or trouble sleeping because you looked at your device too close to bed time.

Create a roadmap

Neither the utopian or dystopian visions of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is inevitable; the future depends on how each one of us responds.

Regular check-ins at home and work will help you to map a way forward that gives you more control and reduces anxiety.

Used right, technology can empower people by giving access to information and markets, and by increasing transparency and connectivity; creating new business platforms and models; and giving us more control over our environment and health.

Making sure that happens is one thing we cannot automate.

Advertising

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

2014 budget: The EU may prove unable to agree on own resources

‘Deteriorating’ human rights in Belarus amounts to ‘wholescale oppression’: UN expert

How to bring precision medicine into the doctor’s office

Venezuelan crisis: MEPs reaffirm their support for Juan Guaidó

China-EU Summit on 16-17 July 2018: “Work together to address common challenges”, by China’s Ambassador to the EU

This app uses augmented reality to rewrite ‘herstory’

Facebook changes its terms and clarify its use of data for consumers following discussions with the European Commission and consumer authorities

Greece’s Tsipras: Risking country and Eurozone or securing an extra argument for creditors?

EU to lead one more fight against climate change at G7 summit

EU-US Trade: European Commission endorses rebalancing duties on US products

Despite violence, ‘tremendous hunger’ for peace in Afghanistan: top UN official

A ship with containers at the port of Rotterdam. (Copyright: European Union. Source: EC - Audiovisual Service. Photo: Robert Meerding)

US follows the EU in impeding China market economy status in WTO

Nokia wins Commission’s approval for Alcatel-Lucent acquisition: a new way for antitrust cases?

More solidarity and interaction between generations needed to challenge age stereotypes and ingrained ageism

Make no mistake: the purpose of business is to serve society

Top UN court orders Myanmar to protect Rohingya from genocide

India’s economy is an ‘elephant that is starting to run’, according to the IMF

The scheming of Boris: win an election after a no-deal Brexit

A conceptual approach to Violence Against Healthcare in Turkey from SDG’s

Seaweed, enzymes and compostable cups: Can ‘Big Food’ take on plastic and win?

Environment Committee MEPs vote to upgrade EU civil protection capacity

Meeting of top scientists underway to slow coronavirus spread

Young people all over the world come together to demand paid good quality internships

The children’s continent: keeping up with Africa’s growth

UN Chief says ending poverty ‘a question of justice’ on International Day

How India’s new consumers can contribute to a $6 trillion opportunity

Multilateralism’s ‘proven record of service’ is focus of first-ever International Day

Century challenge: inclusion of immigrants in the health system

Humanitarian emergency in Venezuela was central debate of the EuroLat plenary

Promoting Primary Health Care to the Young Health Workforce: a new approach

Fighting for minds of youth in Latvia

Strawberries and child support; a Thai partnership

Guinea-Bissau: Upcoming elections vital to prevent ‘relapse’ into instability, says UN envoy

Earth has more trees than it did 35 years ago – but there’s a huge catch

Here’s how to help India’s rural population go digital

Q&A on the 19th China-EU Summit to be held on 01-02 June 2017 in Brussels

MEPs demand an end to migrant deaths across the Mediterranean Sea

Trade is not a weapon. Let’s not use it as one

One third of poorer countries face both undernutrition and obesity: WHO report

At epicentre of Indonesia disaster, Guterres praises resilience of Sulawesi people

Encouraging progress made in 2018, in ‘zero tolerance’ effort to end sexual exploitation and abuse across UN

Two days left until General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), lots of newsletter opt-outs but does the EU citizen really know?

European Business Summit 2013: Where Business and Politics shape the future

EU Commission announces Safe Harbour 2.0 and a wider Data protection reform

“What a Wonderful World”: the unsettled relationship between Climate Change and Human Health

The influence of the multilateral agreement on migrant health

Across the world, women outlive men. This is why

German stock market is not affected by the Greek debt revolution while Athens is running out of time

How women in developing countries can harness e-commerce

Here’s how tech can help governments fight corruption

What is the Coral Triangle?

UN and African Union in ‘common battle’ for development and climate change financing

The Council of Europe adopts Recommendation on young people’s access to rights

The Europeans with a job diminish dangerously

A new way to teach active citizenship to students?

Senior UN officials call for return to sea rescues, after ‘the worst Mediterranean tragedy of this year’

If you live in a big city you already smoke every day

Coronavirus: Commission stands ready to continue supporting EU’s agri-food sector

‘Eco-shaming’ is on the rise, but does it work?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s