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Our Fourth Industrial Revolution Has No Precedent, Part III

The impact on government and people

Overview

The private and public sectors need to adapt quickly to the sweeping Fourth Industrial Revolution transformation. Unfortunately, ideology/belief systems and policies most always lag behind real world developments. Delayed reform is inevitable.

The Impact On Government

We’re experiencing a growing polarization between those who believe we need much less government contrasted with those who want stronger government to counter the growing global influence of the super rich. Above all, government needs to be more responsive to the needs and expectations of citizens. In other words, it needs to develop qualities it’s seldom been recognized for–agility, policy customization and rapid response to challenges. To achieve that transformation, governments need to learn to collaborate better with business and civil society.

There are two counterposing developments–First, growing tech-driven power, including new surveillance systems, giving government the potential to control their populations. For example, the Russian and Chinese governments are among those moving to create a segmented internet, where their citizens see only what they want them to see. Second, new social media platforms are making it easier for citizens to voice their opinions and circumvent government authorities, thereby threatening to undermine government authority.

The Impact On People

The Fourth Industrial Revolution will transform what it means to be human. Issues of privacy, consumption patterns, careers, personal relationships and even ownership are in rapid flux.

Will related changes undermine our ability to cooperate with and feel compassion towards others? The evidence thus far supports the conclusion that a (largely false) sense of Internet anonymity is one of the factors resulting in our having less empathy towards others. There’s also concerning research evidence that our attention span is diminishing with the constant barrage of Internet stimuli.

Impact

Other Changes To Personal Life

  • On the positive side, advances in biotech promise to increase lifespan, improve health, and cognition. Yet these changes will increasingly expand moral and ethical boundaries, leading to new debates over issues like genetic enhancement, AI physical implantation and inequalities in health care delivery.
  • According to a recent release, developments in the fields of AI, robotics, genetics, 3D printing and nanotechnology will result in the loss of as many as 7.1 million jobs. That estimate needs to be reduced, however, by 2.1 million because of jobs emerging with the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  • Where jobs can’t be outsourced to machines, prospects are much better. This accounts for the rapid rise in jobs related to senior care, education, coaching and in-person (as opposed to Internet) translation. Higher paid job opportunities in IT, communication, media and entertainment will also increase.
  • Industries projected to experience initial job loss include financial, industry and health care. The latter is a turnabout from recent trends.

City

“A growing polarization between those who believe we need much less government contrasted with those who want stronger government to counter the growing global influence of the super rich.”

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