At the crossroads of technological innovation

At the crossroads of technological innovation

At the crossroads of technological innovation

Rahul Bhandari, IAS

We are standing at the crossroads of technological innovation where the Fourth Industrial Revolution will change the way we live, we think, we work and even our social relationships. The first IR used water and steam to mechanize production, the second one used electric power, the third Electronics and IT to automate productions. Now, on the base of third revolution, the Fourth IR is budding with Artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, Internet of things, 3D Printing, Nano-technology, Quantum computing and related innovations. From booking a cab, flight tickets, payment systems, listening to music, watching movies to even shopping for grocery- any of these can be done with utmost precision.

Reducing Costs

These innovations have miraculously reduced the transportation, communication and logistics costs, which will in turn open new markets and drive economic growth to new levels. To harness these innovations we need to develop our human resources accordingly through skill enhancement, training and re-training.

India had lagged behind in the first three Industrial Revolutions but the government today is making efforts to keep up with the pace of developed nations in order to make sure that the advantage of demographic dividend be utilized and assimilated within the folds of Fourth IR. Various Skill development schemes like PM Kaushal Vikas Yojna have been started by the government to train the youth and have the technological preparedness for the new revolution.

Revolution and Middle Class

It is also true that very big changes like these are accompanied with certain apprehensions, particularly among the working class who are fearful of losing their jobs. Technology is one of the main reasons why income for this group of people has stagnated or decreased, particularly in the developed nations that, more or less, have a higher rate of average income. The jobs for highly skilled workers are increasing but for those with basic educational qualification and low vocational skills, job opportunities have swooped dramatically low.

This is why the middle class is feeling the heat and discontent that seems to be triggered due to an overload of complex misinformation on social media. The real beneficiaries will be the providers of intellectual and physical capital - the innovators, shareholders, investors, who further aggravate the sense of inequality among the working class.

IR to Change the Way we Live

What is there to look forward to? The new Industrial Revolution will definitely impact business, governance, manufacturing industry and the people themselves. It will enable citizens to interact with the government in an efficient way, voice their opinions and influence the policy making. The new customer experience through data analytics will change the requirements and thus, relevant productions will be enhanced, surely clearing the cloud over job loss in the market. Debates about fundamental issues like control over our lives, privacy issues, declining value system and lower reliance on self cognitive function will only intensify in the coming years.

It totally depends on how humanity takes forward these technological innovations because virtues and vices of any system are to be balanced by the creator himself (humans in this case). Let us hope that instead of replacing us, the Fourth IR will be complementary to our existence.

Share it !
Have something to say? Post your comment