Learning has evolved over the years and taking digitization and technology into consideration is very critical. Open online courses and free online platforms now provide digital and easier access to learning and education for millions of people globally with platforms like Coursera, Udemy, Udacity, Google, Wikipedia, etc. We no longer need to cram what we have learned; we now have tools, gadgets, platforms and AI to help us solve complex problems at the touch of a button.
Why do you need to memorize the 12 times table when you have a calculator, or when you can simply ask Google or Siri to give you the answer to 12 x 2000?
Learning, education or knowledge acquisition today is now on-demand and on the go, so why place so much emphasis on going to traditional and very expensive schools like Harvard, Yale, Oxford, etc. The way we are learning today will drastically change tomorrow, people are no longer learning to acquire and store knowledge, but for skill and application in real-time and on the go.
Application and soft skills are the new currencies. The beauty of these new currencies is that traditional educational models, where we are taught, instructed to watch videos, listen to audios, read, cram and then be made to take tests and exams will no longer be relevant. We will have to transition towards new digital learning models. The world as we knew it decades ago has changed drastically for digital and technological reasons, Google is the number 1 information, knowledge provider and learning platform in the world, and it’s free.
Facebook is the world’s biggest online community with 1.59 billion daily active users. As of September 2018, the Facebook ‘Like’ button had been pressed 1.1 Trillion times. Facebook now owns Instagram and WhatsApp, and a combined average of more than 2.1 billion people now use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger daily, accounting for approximately 1/3rd of the world’s population.
Over 3.2 billion people i.e. about 50% of the world’s population are currently connected via the internet globally. Today, you can learn anything online, and get degrees up to PhD level without visiting the four walls of a physical classroom.
So how will the fourth revolution affect our learning, work, and lives?
According to an IDC (2015) report, over 1.3 billion people were working remotely. The world’s demand for remote services and solutions will keep increasing and the skills required to deliver excellent work via these digital and mobile platforms will change drastically over time.
Currently, there is digital accounting software, so will there be a need for accountants or auditors in the future? AI using AutoCAD can design your home for you in 3D, who will need a civil engineer or architect once you have an idea of what kind of house you want to build?
Specific jobs and roles will go extinct, and new jobs and roles will be in high demand soon. For example, there’s now a serious demand for data analysts, mathematicians, computers scientists, specialized salespeople with skills in online, social media and digital sales and marketing, product designers, project managers, organizational HR specialist, psychologists, life coaches, career coaches, executive/leadership coaches, relationship coaches, diversity and creativity coaches, wellness and fitness coaches, technology and digital lawyers, digital intellectual property lawyers, online TV and digital content creators, software developers, mobile app and website developers, online brand influencers, drone operators and pilots.
So be very careful what you insist your children study in those expensive traditional universities because by the time they graduate those jobs may not be relevant anymore.
Bookkeepers, accountants, and auditors will soon be irrelevant, and so also will:
Car drivers, with self-driving cars
Postal workers, with emails and messaging platforms
Newspapers and the print industry, with digital publishing and reading devices
Supermarkets and shops (cashiers and attendants), with self-service machines and online shopping
Travel agents, with online travel booking
Bank tellers, with ATMs, POS terminals and internet banking
Photography labs, with digital photography
Typists, with voice recognition software
Librarians and physical libraries, with online libraries
Architects, with 3D modelling
Pilots, telemarketers, and journalists, with AI
Another critical game-changer will be smartphones with its daily rising penetration rates. With the current rapid adoption of 4G+ and 5G, things will be done faster and more effortlessly in real-time and from the convenience of one’s home or car.
Learning will cease to be just about formal education, but about experiential and practical learning, skills acquisition and coaching in real-time. Over 50% of today’s ageing workforce will require upskilling or reskilling if they want to stay relevant and gainfully employed because of the millennials and the succeeding generations who are born into this revolution and know how to navigate new technologies seamlessly and effortlessly.
Furthermore, artificial intelligence, robots and machines are going to take about 50% of traditional jobs and they will be much cheaper and more efficient. AI, digitization and technology will be favoured by future business owners, because at the end of the day businesses are set up to meet the needs of customers, through excellent service. On the other hand, it will also help to save cost and boost revenue so that they can deliver more value to their shareholders.
Human resource personnel and talent managers need to wake up to the reality of what’s coming and begin to develop strategies across businesses, governments and training/coaching providers to maximize the available opportunities for capitalizing on the transformational trends of the Fourth Digital and Technological Industrial Revolution.
My next article will focus on the critical life and work skills that will be required to survive and succeed in this industrial revolution.
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