Will the Fifth Industrial Revolution make the world a ‘better’ place to live?
Faria Zafar
When Boston Consulting Group released its 13th annual report defining the world’s most innovative companies in 2019, it was evident that use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is growing. Most of the companies ranked in top 50, and all the top 10 companies in the report used AI platforms and ecosystems to launch new products, services, and to pursue new ways of working. Around the same time, WEF meeting at Devos had an event titled “Blockchain+AI+Human = Magic”.

The event signaled a shift toward the 5th Industrial Revolution (5IR). While 4IR is all about elegant technologies and making certain almost everything is automated and connected, 5IR is about how to make the world ‘better’ rather than just ‘more efficient or productive’? 5IR drives the focus of businesses from “for-profit to for-benefit”.

5IR will focus on greater partnership between technology and humans. AI and robotics are modifying the way one works, plays and lives by replacing cyclic, complex tasks and assisting with decision-making. Humans get to rise to a new echelon of efficiency. Humans will eventually have ample time. So what do they do with that time? Humans get more time to enhance their skills and chart strategic initiatives, leading businesses to higher levels of success.

Champions of 5IR advocate that it will be an era with more women at the forefront; with free energy, transport, communication; with ordinary people having access to powerful technologies. 5IR is still in its infancy. It remains to be seen how it will affect the lives of humans at its tipping point.

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