Describing the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, this week’s reading focuses on the megatrends that are shaping our future and the way we live our lives. Written by Klaus Schab; founder of the World Economics Forum and notable engineer, the report segments this revolution into three deeply interrelated clusters. Those being physical, digital and biological innovations.

Schab believes that there will be four main innovations in the physical world. These four innovations will occur:

  1. As advancements in 3D printing and additive manufacturing. With a new generation of ‘self-altering products’ that can respond to temperature.
  2. The creation of autonomous vehicles, who hold the ability to adapt to their environments.
  3. Advanced robotics, with accurate sensors who can access the cloud remotely and communicate with other robots
  4. And the creation of new materials, such as Graphene. A nanomaterial thinner than hair and stronger than steel.

The second notable revolution, he notes; will take place in the digital sphere. As we progress into an ‘on-demand’ or ‘gig’ economy, Schab believes that we too shall bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds via the spread of ‘tech-enabled platforms’. This is most closely resembled in apps such as Uber and Air Bnb. Where ‘underutilized assets’ are successfully being used to ‘match supply with demand in an accessible way’. The resourcefulness of this economy is therefore beneficial for all parties involved.

Finally, he believes that the third notable transformation will occur in biology. With the increase in data allowing for ‘precision medicine’. Personally, I have already been greatly impacted by the major breakthrough in this technology, as I underwent ‘Gamma Knife’ surgery earlier last year. This groundbreaking technology allowed me to be admitted to hospital for focus-beam radiation treatment targeted at a tumour in my brain. After only 4 hours, and with absolutely no pain and minimal side effects I was sent to rest and miraculously returned to work the next day. 

After reading this week’s article I was reminded of some of the personal research I had done into future technologies and the advances of marketing. Two great resources I have found in my searches have been from Hyper Island’s annual trend report; ‘Changes of Tomorrow’ and The Economists/Marketo’s trend report; ‘The path to 2020: Marketers seize the customer experience’. As I am somewhat of a nerd, I also have a subscription to Wired magazine and find their articles and insights very intriguing.


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