The Hidden Piece in the Fourth Industrial Revolution [4IR]

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is the future anchored on connectivity. It’s upon us to harness the power of this new frontier.”

Industrial Revolutions have been part of our conversations over time as we narrate the sequence on human civilization, economic development and social integration. Now in the third industrial revolution, we’ve witnessed the power of technologies in connecting the world to a global economy. Geographical silos have been disrupted and as we venture into the fourth industrial revolution, technology is aiding the disruption of sectoral silos to a point that we’ll be in an interconnected system. That’s the power of human civilization and I aspire to experience this future like anyone would but I believe I can do better. Try to create it in some way or form.

In the past couple of days I have been on a trance in some way thinking through the rhetoric, arguments and narratives coming about on the 4IR which I believe is timely. I’m however mesmerized by the fact that as much as people are hailing technologies behind this transition, they are not looking at the basic driver of the same. On my account, I believe the main piece of the 4IR is data, information and knowledge in that order. Before we argue over this, take a moment to hear me out.

As IT specialists are working on these technologies, they are making use of available data to inform their practices which means without the data these technologies are as good as nothing. Unfortunately, this is not being fronted as a key driver.

Secondly, the advancements and some of the great achievements we are seeing even with telemedicine where a smartwatch records your heartbeat and shares this data with your physician who then uses this to develop a treatment plan. This treatment plan is then forwarded to the pharmacists who based on your vital measurements will assess whether the medicines indicated for you are suited for you. This leads to a pharmaceutical care plan that is then adopted in dispensing of your medicines. Once you start taking your medication, the smartwatch keeps on with its work of collecting data that informs practice by showing whether you are responding well or not. On the latter, there is then a need to optimize your care based on other variables.

When you look through the whole cycle, there is data being relayed through technologies which is processed and used in making decisions. In this case we need to acknowledge that the main drivers of the fourth industrial revolution is Data -> Information -> Knowledge respectively. As a set these interconnect to guide the design of and optimization of these technologies which then collect data, analyze the same to offer meaningful information which is used by humans to make informed decisions where necessary in the form of knowledge.

Why is it important to appreciate these hidden components of the 4IR? I believe it’s important because by acknowledging the trajectory of our lives we can better prepare for it and get involved in optimizing it. This is be either being knowledgeable to inform the design of these technologies or be key in their operations once established. In short, the fourth industrial revolution is ushering the Knowledge Economy and the key differentiator will be knowledge. The goodness is that even access to this knowledge will be better so it’ll be a matter of taking initiative, being future-oriented and launching into the future. #ThoughtLeadership will be key.

“Thought leadership isn’t about the influence under the prevailing circumstances but the ability to share a vision of the future, backed by data and take lead to guide the realization of the same. The 4IR is for thought leaders. Be one.”

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