Since the dawn of the humanity, civilization has been changing period to period. As agrarian economies switched into industrial base, the world has experienced so far three industrial revolutions & is going through the fourth one in 21st century. To the last one, all the past three- 18th’s steam engine discovery, 19th’s electricity invention & 20th’s internet revolutions- are as trivial as child’s play & it’s tough to imagine where the current civilization would go.
Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the “World Economic Forum”, terms 4th IR that it’s now a major concern around the world. It covers automation, artificial intelligence, robotics, blockchain, augmented reality, internet of things,etc. The power of the digital revolution has also emerged in a recently published report by the World Bank on ‘Digital Dividends’. It says; in a single day, internet now sends 25,000 e-mails to the world and Google searches for 120 million different things.
There are two different views on how this industrial revolution will affect the quality of lives of people around the world. Experts say, it will improve income and standard of living. Digital technology will bring massive changes in the process of supply of goods. The cost of exports from one country to another will be largely minimized, with a positive impact on international trade.
But another group of economists believes that the digital revolution will take the world inequality and poverty into a more difficult phase. The more the investing countries of digital technology benefit from it, the more the others will be deprived of it. With the increase in the use of digital technology, much of the work done by humans would then be accomplished by robots and machineries, thereby making people jobless. Additionally, the labor market will shrink the demand for the less skilled & semi-skilled workers. Thus, it sponsors the notorious proposition of Social Darwinism; ‘’survival for the fittest’’. The unfit, the majority don’t even matter.
The revolution has also impact on business. Apart from providing regular product services, corporate organizations have to achieve maximum efficiency in utilizing technology to sustain the ever-changing customer needs. We know that international companies like Kodak,Fuji had to shut down in last century as they failed to compete in global market.
The World Economic Forum in its 2018 flagship report forecasted that 133 million new jobs will be created while 75 million jobs will be replaced by robots, AI and automation. To sum up, 4th IR will make 60 million new jobs. The report highlighted that only skilled workers who are best fit according to the market demands will land these new jobs.
Moreover, it is claimed that one machine can lay off 10 workers. In the last century, when computer was invented experts stressed that many people will be jobless. But now the scenario is upside down. Just over a decade ago, no one thought that social media manager would be hired to ‘keep an eye on Facebook’ at a commercial establishment!
The World Economic Forum (WEF) said that approximately 800 million people in the world might lose their jobs by 2030, while nearly 5.7 million unskilled Bangladeshis at home & abroad would be sacked, lacking technological know-how. For instance, the RMG sector in Bangladesh employed nearly 4.4 million workers in 2013, a figure that significantly fell down to 3.5 million in 2018. Source; medium.com
The World Economic Forum (WEF) said that approximately 800 million people in the world might lose their jobs by 2030, while nearly 5.7 million unskilled Bangladeshis at home & abroad would be sacked, lacking technological know-how. For instance, the RMG sector in Bangladesh employed nearly 4.4 million workers in 2013, a figure that significantly fell down to 3.5 million in 2018.
This storm will be mainly on labor-intensive jobs and labor-intensive economies like ours will be in danger.Though, it’s quite challenging for all the countries, Developed economies would perhaps be able to make up of it due to their advancement, skilled labor-force with better technological know-how & training. But,what about the developing ones?
How prepared is Bangladesh for this industrial revolution?
It turns out that the state agencies & policy makers of the country sometimes care less of it. Government intervention sometimes hamper the services of various websites, including Google-Facebook-YouTube.
With the help of AI(Artificial Intelligence),while IBM Watson provides 85 percent of perfect legal support, there is still no technology in our courts to show video footage as evidence.We are habituated to lift the dips of contentment. 3G network is not yet available in all parts of the country, but most of the campaign is done with 4G. People are excited with Sofia’s ‘chatbot’ robots! But better robots are regularly made by our university-graduates.
The ancient laws of this country have yet to be written that without hiring the ‘square foot’ office, no one would be allowed to attain business certificate. However, by registering online business with national identity card and opening a bank account, global business can be done even much faster & efficiently. These laws also need to be changed.
Tom Goodwin, renowned innovation analyst quotes perfectly
“Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.”
Among all these, there is also ray of hope for us. In our medical entrance exams,’Bondstein’ through IOT has been successfullly using as the smart tracking devices for last four years for pulling off medical questionnaires. Meanwhile, the government has taken a few significant initiatives. Of which, highlighting 4th IR in “7th Five Year Plan”,the 2011 “National Skill Policy”, the 2017 “National Youth Policy’’ are noteworthy.
Utilizing demographic dividend, Bangladesh will have to walk directly and indirectly through the transformation processes of this fourth revolution or its effects. This requires versatile strategic, technical and infrastructure preparation. With this new industrial revolution, Bangladesh will have to take advantage of productivity, take up domestic and foreign employment & increase remittance flow & foreign export income.
Falling behind in this direction means boiling the benefits. That means any other country will take the opportunity and we will lose our employment sectors. So if we want to take advantage of the room, human resource management needs to be taken strategically. That is, the existing low-skilled labor market will need to be developed by training and employment of new skills. If we do not get down to this challenge, the new industrial revolution will leave us.