Industries Must Heed the Fourth Industrial Revolution

A recent report from the World Economic Forum shows how businesses across all industries must formulate new strategies to adapt to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterized by a fusion of technologies that blurs the lines between the physical, the digital and the biological. It’s disrupting nearly all industries worldwide. By 2022, 59% of employers surveyed in the report expect they’ll have drastically changed the composition of their value chains. Nearly half expect their geographical base of operations will have changed by then, and half expect automation will lead to a smaller full-time workforce.

Across all industries, certain roles – data entry clerks, payroll clerks, secretaries, auditors, etc. – are expected to become redundant with the emergence of new tech. To reconfigure their workforce, companies will need to create new roles – data analysts, artificial intelliegence and machine learning specialists, big data specialists, service and solutions designers, etc.

This isn’t necessarily bad news. The report finds that while 75 million jobs may be displaced, 133 million new jobs may be created.

And when AI and other technologies take on the more mind-numbing tasks like data entry or factory work, human employees will be free to do more inventive work.

“AI is not going to replace people,” says Peter Schwartz, senior vice president of strategic planning at Salesforce.

“It’s going to make people far more capable,” Schwartz told CNBC at the recent Singapore FinTech Festival, and allow them to focus on creativity and interpersonal skills, rather than “mundane things.”

The Fourth Industrial Revolution invites a promising future for investors as well. Young startups are emerging all the time, building on existing tech, improving old tech and creating new tech. The rapid pace of this revolution’s innovation means investors should stay alert. Technology doesn’t stand still, and neither should you.

Good investing,

Allison Brickell
Assistant Managing Editor, Early Investing