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We must ensure the Fourth Industrial Revolution is a force for good

We must ensure the Fourth Industrial Revolution is a force for good  #iot

  • In this Fourth Industrial Revolution, every individual, business, industry and government is being impacted by breakthroughs in computing power, connectivity, artificial intelligence (AI), biotechnology and other innovative technologies.
  • I am honoured to serve as the inaugural chair of the new World Economic Forum Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution advisory board, which just opened in San Francisco.
  • As the innovation capital of the world, with Silicon Valley and outstanding educational institutions, leading researchers and an incredible community of entrepreneurs, business leaders and thought leaders, San Francisco is the natural home for a centre focused on addressing the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  • We agreed that an all-hands-on-deck approach is needed to meet this workforce development challenge, and intend to follow up with future strategies for apprenticeship programmes geared for today’s and tomorrow’s workers.
  • We need to prepare our young people for the workforce of tomorrow, investing in areas such as STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education and in creating apprenticeships as paths to career readiness.

In the coming decades, we need to establish guardrails that keep the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution on a track to benefit all of humanity.

@simonlporter: We must ensure the Fourth Industrial Revolution is a force for good #iot

We are living in a time of extraordinary change. In this Fourth Industrial Revolution, every individual, business, industry and government is being impacted by breakthroughs in computing power, connectivity, artificial intelligence (AI), biotechnology and other innovative technologies.

This is a revolution without boundaries spreading across the world with incredible velocity.

By 2020, more people will have mobile phones than have electricity or running water in their homes or villages.

Cars are becoming intelligent robots on wheels. Factories are automating manufacturing, displacing tens of thousands of workers. Call centres are turning to AI-powered chatbots to manage customer interactions.

We have already outsourced a lot of work to algorithms – managing financial portfolios, qualifying loan applications, reading MRIs, recommending products and optimizing travel routes.

The human genome has become as readable and editable as a text document, transforming precision medicine.

The boundary-less Fourth Industrial Revolution offers boundless possibilities. It also creates a high degree of difficulty for policy-makers and regulators trying to keep up the rapid pace of change.

Ensuring the digital revolution is a force for good

Technology is neither good nor bad – it’s what you do with it that makes the difference. As in previous eras, new technologies also carry negative consequences. AI and genetic engineering in the wrong hands could alter our future in undesirable ways.

For too long we have done our work in isolation, unaware of the effects our innovations have on societies and environment as a whole.

As business leaders, government officials, educators and citizens, we need to create a common set of principles and values that take us to the future that we all want together.

The World Economic Forum, founded by Professor Klaus Schwab in 1971, has played an important role in working with stakeholders across public and private sectors to create policy and governance frameworks for adopting new technologies in ways that have a positive and inclusive impact.

I am honoured to serve as the inaugural chair of the new World Economic Forum Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution advisory board, which just opened in San Francisco.

As the innovation capital of the world, with Silicon Valley and outstanding educational institutions, leading researchers and an incredible community of entrepreneurs, business leaders and thought leaders, San Francisco is the natural home for a centre focused on addressing the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The centre has identified an initial set of priorities, ranging from autonomous vehicles and precision medicine to the internet of things and blockchain. All the priorities are interconnected, and collectively will redefine the nature of work.

AI and increased automation are already having a significant impact on employment, and could lead to a crisis of workforce development, contributing to a growing global inequality gap.

By one estimate, nearly half of jobs worldwide could be at risk over the next two decades due to AI and automation. At the same time, entirely new categories of jobs are emerging to replace those given over to the dramatic shift in work. By one estimate, 65% of children entering primary school today will have jobs in categories that don’t yet exist.

All hands on deck

I attended a roundtable earlier this month at the White House to discuss workforce development with President Donald Trump, Vice Michael President Pence, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the CEOs from IBM, Dow Chemical, BMW, Schaeffler Group and Siemens. We agreed that an all-hands-on-deck approach is needed to meet this workforce development challenge, and intend to follow up with future strategies for apprenticeship programmes geared for today’s and tomorrow’s workers.

In the US alone there are more than 500,000 open technology jobs, but our universities produce only 50,000 science graduates each year. We need to prepare our young people for the workforce of tomorrow, investing in areas such as STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education and in creating apprenticeships as paths to career readiness. And these apprenticeships can be accredited and validated as true educational vehicles.

At the same time, we must create programmes to give today’s workforce the skills they need to succeed and adapt to ongoing technological change. And, in building this workforce of tomorrow, we need to ensure that we achieve gender equality: that women are paid the same as men – equal pay for equal work.

The role of business

I believe that businesses are incredible platforms for change, and that every business leader can have a direct role in creating economic opportunity for millions of people by investing in education and training programmes for existing and potential talent.

This article was republished courtesy of the World Economic Forum.

_Written by Marc Benioff, the chairman and CEO of Salesforce. _

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We must ensure the Fourth Industrial Revolution is a force for good