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Eureka: Succeeding in the fourth industrial revolution
by Jay Gutman
2017-02-21 11:22:41
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There was an old joke. We all received that email a little more than ten years ago that went along the lines of ordering pizza twenty years from now. You try to order pizza but the pizza place has access to your medical records and due to your high cholesterol levels you are forced to order salad instead. That’s not quite the fourth industrial revolution, but it does have some overtones.

industry01_400_01What do you need for a successful fourth industrial revolution?

First, you need to be a good data collector. There are direct ways of collecting data, and indirect ways of collecting data. Direct ways include surveys or interviews, indirect ways include analytics and looking at people’s past search history in internet search engines or in different websites.

Second, you need good data analysts. Smart data analysts. Data analysts are people who look at data and who can see patterns emerge. People who notice that, for example, people wear bright colors in the sun and dark colors in the fog. I mean people who can see the link between variables like the weather, the atmosphere, pollution levels, economic activity, sports game results, children or absence of children in the neighborhood, health factors and say variables like food habits, reading habits, drinking habits or fashion trends. But people who can read data with a grain of salt, or who know that things are relative in life.

In the fourth industrial revolution the second thing you are going to need is good security analysts, because danger is always going to be around. Data can help, as well as presence in the field. You need to be able to stop terror threats, including cyber terror threats and physical terror threats. Because there will always be people with evil intentions, and you want to preserve that data, so you want to keep that data stored and backed up, and the backups need several layers of backing up so you can be sure to find them in case there’s an attempt to steal your data.

Finally, you are going to need a social model or a tribal model if you will. In an age where most tasks can be done automatically, the uber or air b n’b model will apply for most things. An app for plumbers, for food delivery, for handy men to fix broken things, for jewelers for that engagement ring, for custom-tailor suits, for doctors and nurses to care for you and so on. This means a model where apps will have more doctors than hospitals, apps that have more sweaters than malls, apps that have more jewelry than jewelers. This can be a blessing for unemployment, as in I can try my luck learning plumbing and joining the app, and if I fail at that I can my luck at making suits, and if I’m not good at that I can try my luck with an app tutoring students in the neighborhood. You will need good storytellers to help prevent your people from experiencing what Alvin Toffler called “future shock” or the culture shock of the future.  

Good data analysis is a must for security as well as in areas such as health (epidemics prevention) or crime or simply consumer tendencies. If too many people in one area are searching for infections or seem to have flu-like symptoms, or say pregnant women in one area seem to have symptoms that were not known for pregnant women, that probably means you need to take action. The government can also become a smart government, and you can have smart cities as well.

The best way to deal with the fourth industrial revolution is to know that it’s a natural evolution rather than a revolution. It has already started. Many people made a living out of designing their own soap, or their own line of clothes, or their own brand of coconut oil and so on. Uber drivers are trendy, you can find language teachers in language teacher apps, and many people rent rooms on apps specializing in such products. What has slowed the fourth industrial revolution is crime and terrorism, but once safety is no longer a concern the fourth industrial revolution will certainly boom.  

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