Is world ready for fourth industrial revolution?
Governments all over the world are facing the same problem: how to adapt to rapid technological advancements shaking up the way we live and work. According to The World Economic Forum (WEF), this change even has a name—the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
As Newsweek writes in an article "IS AMERICA READY FOR THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION?", also known as Industry 4.0, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will see technology burrow further into our society—and even into our own bodies. The WEF says “genome editing, new forms of machine intelligence, breakthrough materials and approaches to governance that rely on cryptographic methods such as the blockchain” are harbingers to this new era.
Apparently, it’s already happening—but not everywhere. While some countries are only just getting proper sanitation and mobile phones, trappings of the second and third Industrial Revolutions, small enclaves are experiencing a brave new world of biohacking and bitcoin.
So why does this matter? In a new report, the WEF says the Fourth Industrial Revolution will eventually radically overhaul both governments and businesses everywhere—and some countries are more prepared than others.
The WEF has ranked the nations that are best placed to embrace the hyper-technological future with a competitive economy. “Embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution has become a defining factor for competitiveness,” says Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the WEF.
“I foresee a new global divide between countries who understand innovative transformations and those that don’t. Only those economies that recognize the importance of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be able to expand opportunities for their people,” he said.
The WEF has ranked 140 countries by how competitive their economy is. They considered four main categories: how conducive their environment is to business, human capital, labor markets and innovation.
The rankings reveal stark differences not only between nations but between regions, with North America, Europe and East Asia reaching the top places. African, Caribbean and Southeast Asian countries did less well in the rankings.
The WEF found that the U.S. has the best labor markets and innovation ecosystems in the world. Switzerland has the best human capital and Hong Kong leads the way for its business-enabling environment.
The unevenness of this change could lead to further problems in a world that already suffers from severe inequality. The report notes that this new revolution is creating fewer jobs than the previous three; only 0.5 percent of the U.S. workforce is employed today in industries that did not exist at the turn of the 21st century. That’s far less than the 8.2 percent of new jobs created in new industries during the 1980s.
But if implemented ethically, there is a potential upside to this social change. “The new technology age, if shaped in a responsive and responsible way, could catalyze a new cultural renaissance that will enable us to feel part of something much larger than ourselves—a true global civilization,” says Schwab. These are countries that the WEF feels are most prepared: USA, Singapore, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Netherlands, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Canada, Taiwan, Australia, South Korea, Norway, France, New Zealand, Luxembourg, Israel, Belgium, Austria, Ireland, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Latvia, Russia, Cyprus, Indonesia, Mexico, Oman, Hungary, Mauritius.