As machines take over many of our duties, the Fourth Industrial Revolution seems poised to amplify companies’ productivity at the expense of our own.

Industry 4.0’s challenges seem to primarily focus around two concerns:

  1. We won’t be needed anymore.
  2. We won’t be required to work and will lose all productivity.

How to prepare for the fourth industrial revolution

It might seem like the future of production involves us being replaced by robots and that Industry 4.0 will have a drastic impact on employment. The reality is a lot more mundane. In a good way.

Machines will optimise production, which means some will lose their jobs. Yes, some careers will be fully automated. However, this will create other jobs, and companies will be able to invest money and time into areas that they otherwise could not. One of these will be employment and innovation.

The jobs most at risk will be those who live in developing countries. These are people that work for low wages on a mass production basis. However, people in this position don’t necessarily have to suffer. Countries must position themselves to be ahead of the curve in the Future of Production. This means bringing in new policies and different solutions to manufacturing problems, and demonstrating successful implementations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The World Economic Forum (whose executive chairman, Klaus Schwab, coined the term ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’) suggests that government bodies and institutions implementing strategies that prepare countries the future of industry.

There are jobs that AI can’t replace

Unfortunately (or, perhaps, fortunately) machines won’t do everything for us. Robots will not take over work entirely. This is because:

  • In its current state, AI lacks integral capabilities that would allow it to entirely replace humans and function on its own.
  • There are some jobs AI and automation can’t currently do alone, such as many creative, therapy-based or managerial careers.

infographic 'jobs that are at risk/jobs that are less at risk'

Source: Oxford.

These are essentially ‘emotional’ careers that are not based purely on data processing or manual labour. So, a machine cannot merely make a calculation or enact a certain movement to do the job. Instead, it needs to be able to make decisions and conduct conversations with human intelligence. AI is not currently at this stage.

Life without work is unlikely

While Industry 4.0 might lessen some of the burdens of laborious or boring work, it is likely that there will still be many jobs – and many of them will be new jobs – out there. While it’s happening quickly, digital transformation won’t all happen at once. There will be time to transition workers into different positions and prepare for a new economical standard, if we start now.

People will still be working. However, they will be in more thought-intensive and less laborious and boring positions. This will allow people to position themselves in roles that require problem-solving and emotional intelligence.

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