The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Are we ready?
Our planet has been in constant motion since the dawn of civilization. Change is nothing new to earth — it has been rapidly and continuously evolving since its creation. The only significant difference is that for the past centuries the biggest catalyst of change has been the humankind.
Always pursuing improvements, the human invented steam engines, locomotives, telegraphs and telephones, electricity, and light bulbs. We led industrial revolutions, developed new technologies, and on the way, polluted lands, rivers, and oceans. Thus, it is hard to deny that being social creators does not have as many drawbacks as it has advantages.
“Cooperation is the only true solution to many of our problems.”, said Milton S. Hershey
In my 20 years of work in the field of civil society and business, I had the unique opportunity of visiting more than 60 countries, and of meeting and working with people from all over the world. Thanks to the tools of non-formal education and long-life learning, I was able to understand how cooperation helps people to overcome a lot of cultural, linguistic, and economic challenges.
Borders, visas, cultures, age, gender, skin color, erect walls only in our imagination. Good will, trust, creativity, and cooperation are keys that can open all doors, especially nowadays, with our lives being empowered by new technologies such as smartphones and the Internet.
The World Economic Forum says of the new industrial revolution, one “that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before.”
I remember the first time I heard about the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It introduced me to new ideas and perspectives, especially about the new possibilities to develop ourselves. It also raised new questions and interrogations: Are we ready? How fast would it come? Will we have time to prepare ourselves and our societies? What will happen to others who are not ready yet?
All these questions are realistic, especially when we are talking about people from different backgrounds, who had different levels of education, and are of different ages and come from different cultures. It makes even more sense when we check our dictionaries, where revolution is described as some sudden and great change, which often led to violence or unpredicted outcomes.
We needed to start yesterday, in order to prepare our societies to embrace new technologies and new forms of this upcoming life. Yet, the reality is different. In many countries, governments are sinking in daily problems; organizations are limited by funds, and the private sector prioritizes profit over sustainability.
So what could be done to change this situation? First of all, we have to build the foundations for universal common values, which could be found in the International Declaration of Human Rights. Second, we should all support the Sustainable Development Goals.
We have new technologies and social networks, we have possibilities to adopt education on a personal level. What we we are still lacking for the moment is trusting in each other and cooperating together, and the Paris Peace Forum is as the ideal place to work on all these questions.
Views expressed in this publication are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Paris Peace Forum.
Andrius Bečys, Co-Founder & Executive Director of the
Crypto Economy Organisation.
Andrius experience formed during 20 years of active work with nongovernmental and business organizations; coordination of national and international CSO networks between Arab, Asian and European countries. Previous work experience — adviser to the Director-General for
Creative industries in Lithuanian Confederation of Industrialists; head of the national network of Anna Lindh Foundation; expert on human rights education in the Council of Europe. Topics of interests — Sustainable Development, Human Rights educations, intercultural cooperation, integration of new technologies into societies.