“The future depends on what you do today”. The best moment to act is now, so what’s your next move?
Did you know that back in the 17th century, the word “computer” was used to refer to “a human being who calculates”? It is a far cry from our understanding of the word today. And like how the meaning of “computer” has changed over the years, the definition of work is also undergoing a rapid shift with the arrival of Industry 4.0. Question is, how can we keep our career growth on track regardless of the changing times?
Actually, the phenomenon of change is nothing new. Over the course of history, human beings have continuously designed and produced machines to take over our work; the machines then went on to do the work of human beings. Accordingly, various predictions were made about the number of jobs that would be lost during each industrial revolution. Yet, human ingenuity has always resulted in the creation of more new jobs than the amount of workers displaced.
So even as we look at the shifts – both past and present – as disruptions, we should also learn to appreciate the demonstration of human resilience. Entering Industry 4.0, we can expect history to repeat itself – except, possibly at an increasingly faster pace.
Sure, we can choose to do nothing and simply look on as transformation unfolds, hoping that we will not be displaced. But why take the back seat when we can be in the driver’s seat to explore the many exciting new opportunities Industry 4.0 presents?
UNDERSTANDING THE FUTURE OF WORK AND ITS COMPLEXITIES
Importantly, we need to understand the complex changes that are unfolding in the world right now. And these changes are not just about using computers to complete tasks faster. One example is the proliferation of artificial intelligence in recent times. Machines have started to take over problem solving and analytics tasks.
Human-machine partnership is here to stay. Instead of fearing the change it brings and rejecting its adoption, why not use humankind’s best skill – adaptability – to embrace and move forward with it together.
Commonly, there are two extreme views to the changes that are happening – pessimistic with a quasi- certainty that we will all end up unemployed; or optimistic, that AI will solve most of our socio-environmental problems. The truth is likely to be somewhere in between.
Human-machine partnerships have existed since the machine age. The difference is that the current pace of technological innovation has increased human reliance on technology more than ever. Fortunately, our ability to adapt to new technology has also been evolving. We have gotten better at leveraging machines and new technology to help us in our day-to-day tasks. With all things in perspective, what’s next for the human-machine partnership? And how will it affect our work lives, careers, and jobs?
RECOGNISING THE VALUE OF DIGITAL DISRUPTORS
Looking into the future, workplace success is likely to be dependent on our ability to build systems which are well integrated with mega digital ecosystems. As it stands now, major cloud service platforms like Amazon Web Services, Azure and Google Cloud are already disrupting businesses in ways that were unimaginable a few years ago. In the same vein, they are also accelerating hybrid human-machine experiences at an unprecedented rate.
Notwithstanding quantum leaps in data centre server computing power and data management capabilities as well as the mass proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT), rapid maturing on the augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technological fronts also offer powerful and interactive human- machine collaboration.