What is ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution’?
What is ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution’?
  • Kwak Jae-won Professor
  • 승인 2017.11.01 14:25
  • 댓글 0
이 기사를 공유합니다

‘Softbank’, a Japanese company which is renowned for IT, announced to revise an employment rule to permit outside opportunities for workers from November. Its purpose is to let employees get new ideas and know-hows through outside company activities to inspire regular business. Even though companies that allow moonlighting is increasing, it is the first time for a major firm to make such a decision. Movements that shout out for changing ways of work are all over Japan. A low-birth rate and an aging society are big social issues, and technology and markets are rapidly changing. People think those methods don’t work anymore. However, an era of work that involves employees working for plural companies as regular business is expected in the future. For example, one can work four hours in the morning in the Toyota Motor Corporation and spend rest of the day in Sony. It is the combination of work-sharing and flexibility. Platform workers and freelancers who maximize their expertise are emerging in large numbers. This symbolizes a radical transformation of Japan that was once well-known for their strict and outdated business management.
Then, what about Korea? 1,200 companies are placed in Pangyo, Gyeonggi-do. It is the size of a university campus. 80% of them are small and medium-sized venture enterprises and most of them work in ICT and BT fields. Pangyo can be called an unprecedented compact city that has about 70,000 people (One fifths are female) that commute every day. Annual sales come to 80 trillion won. Samsung, whose gross annual sales is 250 trillion is adjacent to it. Even though the whole Pangyo region cannot be compared to Samsung, there is a point that must not be missed. 500 education programs are in action, and the liquidity of manpower standouts compared to any other place in Korea. The ecosystem for both firms and talented people is well prepared. It is the reason why the World Bank, the Wharton School in Pennsylvania, which is one of the top American MBA schools, Zhongguancun high-tech zone and Skolkovo regions in Russia take notice of Korea. Over 2,000 startups are located in the Teheran valley near Seoul Gangnam station. The Number of startup accelerators which help them is about ten. R&D campuses of major companies like Samsung, LG, KT are Yangjae-dong and newly constructed Magok-dong high tech zone are representative of the innovative heat from Seoul. 18 technology parks, bio centers and industrial complexes aim for an ‘innovative cluster’ that have global competitiveness.
There are two big tendencies to be observed in the world economy. One is the pessimistic part, and the other is an optimistic trend. The former claims that the economy is marching towards stagnation or depression because of a mature economy that lessens investment opportunities. The latter asserts that there will be new investment opportunities due to AI, Internet of Things, robots, and big data. Accordingly, new industries will emerge and people will live new lifestyles. This revolutionary change is called ‘The fourth industrial revolution’.
Through conventional wisdom, the first industrial revolution was triggered by the invention of the steam engine and was the mechanized era that lasted about 100 years. The second one started with electricity in 1879 and the third one began with the appearance of the computer in 1969. This third revolution took the initiative of the information age for about 40 years until intellectualization technology came out. The Intellectualization era has been made aware to people through the term ‘The fourth industrial revolution’ a phrase that was coined in 2016 at the WEF(World Economy Forum) in Davos, Switzerland. It claims that the overall system of nations, industries, society, and quality of life will be affected in a progressive way.
Social networking jobs and the new investment ecosystem of social crowd funding is ready to appear. Banks supporting FinTech (Finance +Technology) and enabling technology and financial services are expected in the near future. It is high time for people to have an‘Awareness of contemporary times’ and to act bold. Several breakthroughs to turn this revolution into chance are sought. Job loss, and the increasing income gap caused by the failure to catch up to new technology are serious concerns for all nations in the world. Citigroup Inc. of America suggests education, start ups, the expansion of R&D and for a revolution in the labor market are solutions for these problems.
On the other hand, there are terrifying news reports that have caused concern and have agitated people. The expected elimination of occupations by half and mass unemployment are an example. However, a more in-depth analysis has pointed out some flaws in these reports that have been published. Let there be a company that introduces automatic machines in making products. Predictions that employee cutbacks in those company will cause severe unemployment, ignore economic interdependence and the emergence of new jobs. Through the logic of economics, we should exclude one dimensional concept merge and distinguish the phenomenon of individual firms and the whole economy.
Klaus Schwab, president of the WEF emphasized that this revolution is processing in a very fast and influential way. The Economist, a weekly journal from England referred to the core of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is the revolution of outstanding individuals. It also asserted that AI entails deep learning, but humans  engage in life-long learning. In this time of talent and life-long learning, college is the most ideal and reasonable place to passionately seize opportunities in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.