Think about all the innovation and change we’ve experienced in the 20 years since the internet got serious. Now, imagine all of that was just the beginning. A curtain-raiser. A proof-of-concept for the change ahead of us. That’s the potential reality facing all of us today.
We live in an era that the World Economic Forum’s executive chairman, professor Klaus Schwab, has called the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
It is a time when a blinding array of emerging technologies are all converging to reshape our society, organizations and lives. These technologies range from artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language generation and cognitive analysis to the Internet of Things, virtual reality, augmented reality, nanotechnology and many others.
All these technologies will profoundly impact our world by essentially doing one thing: automation. That is, assuming a growing number of both the physical and cognitive tasks we once regarded as “human” and doing them faster, better and cheaper than we ever could.
Automation, our society and our organizations
This automation will deliver enormous benefits to humankind. We know about the innovations emerging in health, transport, communication and many other areas. We’ve all heard about driverless vehicles traversing our roads, nanobots coursing through our veins and robotic bees pollinating our flowers.
At the same time, these new technologies are beginning to help our organizations dramatically improve customer value, talent, innovation, collaboration, agility and productivity.
But, while there are many positives, our journey to an automated future won’t be all smooth sailing.
It will be marked by many challenging moral, ethical and leadership questions. One of the most critical challenges will be the way we lead our people through relentlessly accelerating change, job replacement, restructuring, re-skilling and dramatically changing work practices....
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