17 October 2017

The Fourth Industrial Revolution

In his seminal paper, Computing Machinery and Intelligence, Professor Alan Turing

Image result for FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTIONbegan by posing a deceptively simple question: “Can machines think?” In concluding his paper, he hoped that “that machines [would] eventually compete with men in all purely intellectual fields”, perhaps beginning with “the playing of chess”

During the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, observed:
Previous industrial revolutions liberated humankind from animal power, made mass production possible and brought digital capabilities to billions of people. This fourth industrial revolution is, however, fundamentally different. It is characterized by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human.

The first industrial revolution started in England towards the end of the 18th century with the use of steam power and revamping of the textile industry through mechanisation. The second revolution began a century later and culminated in early 20th century; it was driven by electricity and a cluster of inventions including the internal combustion engine, the aeroplane and moving pictures The third industrial revolution, which was started in early 1970s, was basically digital in nature—it involved application of electronics and information technology to enhance production, and centred around concepts such as mass customisation and additive manufacturing (for instance, 3D printing) whose applications are yet to be explored fully. The fourth industrial revolution is seen as an upgrade on the third one and is noted for a mix of technologies across biological, physical and digital worlds.

Twelve Key Emerging Technologies
3D Printing. Advances in additive manufacturing, using a widening range of materials and methods; innovations include 3D bioprinting of organic tissues.

Advanced materials and nanomaterials. Creation of new materials and nanostructures for the development of beneficial material properties, such as thermoelectric efficiency, shape retention and new functionality.

Artificial intelligence and robotics. Development of machines that can substitute for humans, increasingly in tasks associated with thinking, multitasking and fine motor skills.

Biotechnologies. Innovations in genetic engineering, sequencing and therapeutics, as well as biological computational interfaces and synthetic biology.

Energy capture, storage and transmission. Breakthroughs in battery and fuel cell efficiency; renewable energy through solar, wind, and tidal technologies; energy distribution through smart grid systems, wireless energy transfer and more.

Blockchain and distributed ledger. Distributed ledger technology based on cryptographic systems that manage, verify and publicly record transaction data; the basis of "cryptocurrencies" such as bitcoin.

Geoengineering. Technological intervention in planetary systems, typically to mitigate effects of climate change by removing carbon dioxide or managing solar radiation.

Ubiquitous linked sensors. Also known as the "Internet of Things". The use of networked sensors to remotely connect, track and manage products, systems, and grids.

Neurotechnologies. Innovations such as smart drugs, neuroimaging, and bioelectronic interfaces that allow for reading,communicating and influencing human brain activity.

New computing technologies. New architectures for computing hardware, such as quantum computing, biological computing or neural network processing, as well as innovative expansion of current computing technologies.

Space technologies. Developments allowing for greater access to and exploration of space, including microsatellites, advanced telescopes, reusable rockets and integrated rocket-jet engines.

Virtual and augmented realities. Next-step interfaces between humans and computers, involving immersive environments, holographic readouts and digitally produced overlays for mixed-reality experiences.

[ Source: The 12 emerging technologies listed here are drawn from World Economic Forum Handbook on the Fourth Industrial Revolution ]

Understanding the Technology Risks Landscape

The seeds of the fourth industrial revolution have already been sowed. They are seen by major transformations across spheres of human activities; scientific breakthroughs and discoveries in the fields of artificial intelligence, robotics, 3D printing, big data, the web of things, and biogenetics. These developments bring science fiction to life.

The fourth industrial revolution provides opportunities and threats to our way of life. The benefits are potentially numerous, and in many cases unknown since they will be the result of forthcoming advances in science and technology. However, the changes will not necessarily be linear , the pace of change is even harder to predict, 

The emerging technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) will  transform the world in many ways – some that are desirable and others that are not. The extent to which the benefits are maximized and the risks mitigated will depend on the quality of governance – the rules, norms, standards, incentives, institutions, and other mechanisms that shape the development and deployment of each particular technology.

The fourth industrial revolution is upon us. These developments hold great promise to make life better for everyone and to generate new wealth. However, they also bring along major concerns about transformations in human activity. Given that this industrial revolution would generate profound political, economic and social changes. Many of these are imminent. Some of the concerns are :

How are governments to prepare, manage, and respond to the developments associated with the fourth industrial revolution? 

What will the government of the future look like, how will it fulfill its core functions – broadly defined as, to act for the public good

What will be its role in forging pathways into the next era? 

In the public sector, what sort of impact will these developments have upon the way it is organized and how it functions? 

What will all of these changes mean for government, governance and the concept of democracy?

There is also the possibility, that the new technologies are going to be used, abused, and adapted by political fanatics, terrorists, or criminal organizations. Additionally, the possibility also exists that government itself will use these new technologies towards impinging on the natural right of citizens. There is little doubt that governments are soon going to have to 

grapple with some very serious challenges.

Government Challenges: The Economy and the Labour Force

The development of automation enabled by technologies including robotics and artificial 
intelligence brings the promise of higher productivity (and with productivity, economic 
growth), increased efficiencies, safety and convenience. But these technologies also raise 
difficult questions about the broader impact of automation on jobs, skills, wages and the 
nature of work itself. Many activities that workers carry out today have the potential to be automated. Unemployment and underemployment are high around the world. 

According to MIT Sloan School of Management economists Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, the revolution is likely to increase inequality in the world as the spread of machines increases unemployment and disrupts labour markets. According to Schwab, "in the future, talent, more than capital, will represent the critical factor of production, giving rise to a job market increasingly segregated into low-skill/low-pay and high-skill/high-pay segments, which in turn will lead to an increase in social tensions".

Even while technologies replace some jobs, they are creating new work in industries that 
most of us cannot even imagine, and new ways to generate income. One-third of new jobs 
created in the United States in the past 25 years were types that did not exist, or barely 
existed, in areas including IT development, hardware manufacturing, app creation, and 
IT systems management. Digital technology also can enable new forms of entrepreneurial activity. Workers in small businesses and self-employed occupations can benefit from higher income earning opportunities. A new category of knowledge-enabled jobs will become possible as machines embed intelligence and knowledge that less-skilled workers can access with a little training. 

John Chambers, Chairman CISCO said that about 40% of companies that exist today will cease to be relevant. Replacing humans with robots in manufacturing is a trend that we can’t stop or avoid, but we can be better prepared by being open to learning new skills. Amazon had 30,000 robots working for it. To put that in context, Amazon only has 90,000 humans working in its warehouses. As of today, one in every four full‐time Amazon warehouse workers... is a robot. The creation of new jobsare mainly in more specialised areas such as computing, maths, architecture and engineering There certainly would be an increase in demand for high‐skill jobs. Driverless cars, for instance, will obviate the need for drivers but require a lot of smart coders who can make such cars ply the roads in different parts of the world safely. India would need to look at this issue from both a policy perspective as well as a social perspective keeping in mind to balance both the improvements brought about by the fourth industrial revolution as well as the wants and needs of its own citizens.

More than half the world’s population is still offline, limiting the potential to benefit from digital Rapid technology adoption can unlock huge economic value, even as it implies major 
need for retraining and redeployment of labor. In India, for example, digital technologies provide the foundation for many innovations that could contribute $550 billion to $1 trillion of economic impact per year in 2025. However, the value of digitization that is captured depends on how many people and businesses have access to it. More than four billion people, or over half of the world’s population, is still offline. About 75 percent of this offline population is concentrated in 20 countries, including Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Pakistan and Tanzania, and is disproportionately rural, low income, elderly, illiterate, and female. The value of connecting these people is significant, and as they enter the global digital economy, the world of work will transform in fundamental ways and at an unprecedented pace. Access to the technology alone is not enough; even in countries where a large majority of the population has access, the literacy and skills needed to capture digital gains are sometimes limited.

How to positively affect the future of work

The disruptions to the world of work that digital technologies are likely to bring about 
could pose significant challenges to policy makers and business leaders, as well as 
workers. There are several solution spaces to consider:

Evolve education systems and learning for a changed workplace. 

Determine how the private sector can drive training. 

Create incentives for private-sector investment to treat human capital like other capital. 

Explore public-private partnerships to stimulate investment in enabling infrastructure. 

Rethink incomes. 

Rethink transition support and safety nets for workers affected. 

Embrace technology-enabled solutions. 

Focus on job creation. 

Innovate how humans work alongside machines

Capture the productivity benefits of technology. 

With rapid developments in technology, it is clear that there will be significant impacts on the economy, on the labour force, and on the ways people work within various sectors of activities. The concept of the demographic time bomb, which has now been debated for years, suggests that as the population ages, there is not going to be enough workers to sustain high economic growth. Countries may even experience labour shortages because of ageing demographics of developed countries. At the same time there is an explosion of young population in countries like India, African continent and some other countries. Technological breakthroughs in the fields of artificial intelligence and robotics will potentially lead to firms requiring less human labour. The result of this economic transformation will mean higher levels of unemployment and a larger pool of unused or under used labour. Widespread 3D printing is like to dramatically restructure manufacturing. At its 2016 meeting, the World Economic Forum estimated that five million jobs across 15 major economies would be lost before 2020 because of the fourth industrial revolution The fourth industrial revolution could represent major economic upheavals, with many social consequences unseen by society in decades, if ever. Such consideration warrants further attention, public debate, and possibly eventual action by government.

Other related issues to consider would include education and post-secondary education, labour market training, etc. The fourth industrial revolution raises multiple policy questions, most notably in areas relating to the economy, economic development and the labour force.

The fourth industrial revolution could lead to a more effective, a leaner and cheaper government. Governments may be able toprovide more and better services for less. The fourth industrial revolution could, thus, lead to improved policymaking and policy, increased effectiveness and efficiency and better programs and services for citizens.

There are many risks that challenge this optimistic scenario :

Could put governments and public services under strain

Government services will be needed more, especially to address rising wealth inequalities.

The welfare state will be under heavy pressure due to existing trends such as population ageing and new possible realities such as high unemployment and increased welfare needs. 

Governments will still be relied upon to deliver key services such as healthcare, education and welfare.

The demand for government services will be high, but public authorities may not have the financial capacity to deliver the goods due to slow growth.

What are the likely impacts of the fourth industrial revolution on our institutions, and democratic practices? The fourth industrial revolution, if not managed, has the potential to generate serious political, economic and social upheavals. The fourth industrial revolution could benefit developing countries via technology transfers, but it could also exacerbate many of the political, economic and social tensions that these countries face.

We face a pressing governance challenge if we are to construct the rules, norms, standards, incentives, institutions and other mechanisms that are needed to shape the development 
and deployment of these technologies. How to govern fast-developing technologies is a complex question: regulating too heavily too quickly can hold back progress, but a lack of governance can exacerbate risks as well as creating unhelpful uncertainty for potential investors and innovators. Currently, the governance of emerging technologies is patchy: some are regulated heavily, others hardly at all because they do not fit under the remit 
of any existing regulatory body.

The role of the state will actually become more important even as the center of gravity shifts to the corporate sector. In a world deeply dependent on technology, those who hold a tight grip on it will invariably wield a tremendous amount of power.It is foreseeable that in the era of the fourth industrial revolution, the state’s influence will progressively be eclipsed by those companies A significantly weakened state coupled with a greatly empowered corporate sector can create a serious problem. This is because the corporate sector is accountable only to shareholders and driven foremost by profits. So when technological unemployment hits, it is not incentivized to employ those workers made redundant by new technology. Only the state – through its exclusive use of monetary and fiscal policies – will be able to step in to stimulate demand and generate employment. Even if the state were unable to create jobs, it can at least help the poor and weak through its social programs. While the corporate sector does help the needy at times, only the state retains the policy tools and strategic planning that can prevent the emergence of a persistent underclass.

Apart from that, the state will also be needed to provide security. The fourth industrial revolution has the potential to destabilize societies and unsettle established institutions. Digital vulnerabilities can also lead to a spike in cyber-attacks. Whether it is fending off terrorists or hackers, the state’s role in keeping us safe will actually become more important. While private enterprises do perform a number of ancillary security functions, public safety and national defense still rest principally with the state. There are good reasons why these national priorities are public goods and it is important to bear them in mind as we enter the era of the fourth industrial revolution.


With a population of more than 1.3 billion predicted to become the world’s youngest population by 2022. We have to position ourselves advantageously for new things to come. Historically, in 1600, India contributed more than 22% of the world’s GDP, which plummeted to about 4% in 1990 before economic reforms bought it up to 6.8%. At the time of the first industrial revolution, with the British Empire’s mechanisation of the textile industry, India a British colony, paid a stiff price, as millions of weavers were replaced by machines. India has remained behind the curve on the second revolutions as well. We did much better with the third revolution and should do even better on the fourth. Currently the fourth industrial revolution may be the last thing on the minds of most Indians. India has other issues which it is grappling with ‐ bridging the infrastructure gap, enabling electricity and sanitation in our villages, bridging the digital divide and improving the last mile connectivity across rural areas. We are also working to harness human capital through skill development of the one million youth joining the workforce every month. The Government over the past two years has been on a mission mode with the launch of ambitious initiatives like Make in India, Digital India, Skill India, Smart Cities and Start up India. While such initiatives get under way, and begin to solve some of the big challenges for us namely health, education and skilling, housing and basic amenities like electricity; it is wise to keep a sharp eye on future technologies and adopt those that could significantly accelerate impact.

In India, for example, Google is rolling out the Internet Saathi (Friends of the Internet) program in which rural women are trained to use the Internet, and then become local agents who provide services in their villages through Internet-enabled devices. The services include working as local distributors for telecom products (phones, SIM cards, and data packs), field data collectors for research agencies, financial-services agents, and paratechnicians who help local people access government schemes and benefits through an Internet-based device. Loss of low-end jobs is where India, which is known for a very large low skilled or unskilled youth population, is likely to face severe challenges.

In India, where more than 60 per cent of population still don't have access to basic amenities, lack potable water and toilets, live in one-room huts with no electricity and is exposed to all sorts of pollution, FIR can further unsettle the social fabric, with the rich getting even more richer and the poor becoming more doomed. The country, which still relies a lot on the agricultural sector for a major chunk of its GDP, already faces several crises in farming that include lack of labour, low prices of produce, shortage of water and poor soil. After having seen the immerse perils of being left behind in the first three industrial revolutions, India cannot afford to be a laggard as FIR unravels. However, how to ensure parity among the rich and the poor when it comes to income creation will continue to be a tough nut to crack.

India, like many other Asian states, is struggling to manage cryptocurrencies.

By Aswin Mannepalli

As more consumers and businesses turn to Bitcoin, the Indian government is still studying the issue and has not provided clear regulatory guidance on the payment technology to date.

The internal debate over Bitcoin highlights two competing impulses within the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While officials want to foster innovation in the banking sector, they are wary that such technologies could facilitate cybercrime, bribery, tax avoidance, and money laundering.

Pakistan’s Tactical Nukes: Relevance and Options for India

by Arka Biswas

Pakistan’s introduction of tactical nuclear weapons has raised questions about two elements of India’s nuclear doctrine. While the issue of no-first-use has gathered much of the public attention, that debate is misplaced. It is not India’s NFU policy, but its massive retaliation posture that fails to credibly deter or counter Pakistan’s introduction of tactical nuclear weapons.

India’s Ballistic Missile Defense: Implications for South Asian Deterrence Stability

by Zafar Khan
Source Link

Two high-altitude interceptor tests earlier this year and an ongoing debate about Indian nuclear doctrine raise questions about the rationale for India’s pursuit of a ballistic missile defense shield, potential countermeasures Pakistan could develop, and the strategic implications for South Asian deterrence stability.

The Risks of Pakistan's Sea-Based Nuclear Weapons

Nine days into 2017, Pakistan carried out the first-ever flight test of the Babur-3, it’s new nuclear-capable submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM). A variant of the Babur-3 ground-launched cruise missile (GLCM), this SLCM will see Pakistan’s nuclear deterrent head to sea—probably initially aboard its Agosta 90B and Agosta 70 submarines, but eventually, perhaps even on board new Type 041 Yuan-class submarines Pakistan is expected to procure from China.

Safer at Sea? Pakistan’s SeaBased Deterrent and Nuclear Weapons Security

On January 9, 2017, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) announced that the country had successfully carried out the first-ever flight test of a nuclear-capable, submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM)—the Babur-3, a variant of the Babur-2 ground-launched cruise missile.1 With the introduction of the Babur-3, Pakistan seems headed toward adding a sea leg in the coming decade to complement a nuclear force structure that previously relied solely on land-based missiles and aircraft-delivered weapons.

Russia's Hand Is Visible Everywhere in the Middle East

By Nikolas Gvosdev

Four years ago, my colleagues Tom Nichols and John Schindler warned that U.S. fecklessness in the Middle East was creating conditions where Russia would be able to emerge as the key player in regional security. In responding to critics of their original article, they penned a follow-up days later that laid out the Russian strategy: to present Moscow as a “viable alternative partner” for the states of the region. At the time, they were roundly criticized for their apparent pessimistic assessment that a collapsing “regional power” would be able to diminish the influence of the world’s sole remaining superpower in the Middle East or even that Moscow would have anything it could offer to compete with Washington’s largesse.

The Chinese Dream in Peril: Xi Jinping and the Korean Crisis

With tensions escalating rapidly again on the Korean peninsula, the attention of the world invariably has returned to the question of whether or not the solution to the crisis lies in Beijing. After months of continuing missile tests by North Korea despite sanctions and global condemnation, Kim Jong-un’s regime claims to have tested a hydrogen bomb and once again launched an intercontinental ballistic missile over Japan. North Korea’s march toward wielding a nuclear arsenal against its neighbors and far off enemies.

The Middle Eastern Roots of Nuclear Alarmism Over North Korea

By Rebecca Friedman Lissner
Source Link

Nuclear alarmism is reaching a fever pitch in Washington. President Donald Trump has responded to North Korea’s push toward a nuclear-capable ICBM with paroxysms of bluster: He warned that North Korean threats to the United States would “be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen,” proclaimed Kim Jong Un a “Rocket Man” (and now “Little Rocket Man”) on a “suicide mission,” and averred the North Korean regime “won’t be around for much longer.” Other members of the administration have echoed the president’s rhetoric: National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster suggested that Kim is undeterrable. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley trumpeted “plenty of military options.” The White House has engaged in open discussion of preventive war.



His first volume, The Gathering Storm, recounted many instances of failure among the leading figures of the 1930s to appreciate the growing danger of Hitler’s rise to power. Churchill’s history highlighted how the good intentions and virtuous character of Britain, France, and the United States hindered them from taking actions that could very well have prevented a war that claimed the lives of some 60 million people. He marveled at

Military Stalemate: How North Korea Could Win a War With the US

By Franz-Stefan Gady

North Korea’s defeat in a war with South Korea and the United States is inevitable. At least that’s the consensus among most military experts. The war would be “nasty, brutish, and short” and could cost the lives of up to 20,000 per day even before the use of nuclear weapons. Yet the outcome would never be in doubt: the defeat of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (DPRK). This conclusion is drawn based on analyzing the relative military capabilities of North Korea, primarily seen as a function of its military hardware and munitions stockpile, versus the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the United States.

Minuteman III Replacement: Key to Nuclear Deterrence

In order to deter nuclear aggression against its homeland and vital interests, the U.S. must demonstrate that its strategic arsenal is capable of surviving an attack and then retaliating with devastating force against the aggressor. In other words, the losses an attacker would suffer must demonstrably exceed any potential gains. Thus, the paradox of nuclear strategy is that when weapons are postured effectively, they will never be used. We buy and maintain nuclear weapons in the hope they will remain in their submarines and silos forever.

Infographic Of The Day: The Future Of Artificial Intelligence, According To Pop Culture

It's a science fiction writer's dream: if AI becomes smart enough to create more advanced versions of itself, pretty much every outcome is on the table. Machines could empower humanity to become enlightened and virtuous. On the less optimistic side? Machines could instead ruthlessly enslave all of humankind to tickle their own warped sense of satisfaction.

Strategy, Civil–Military Relations, and the Political Nature of War: #Reviewing Scales on War

For a much shorter version of what follows, one need look no further than a recent tweet by Tom Ricks and response by Jill Sargent Russell. “If light infantry is so vulnerable on the battlefield,” Ricks wondered, “why is [it] that we are unable to decisively defeat adversaries who only have that?” Russell, quoting Ricks, replied, “Because war is political, not tactical.”[1]

Britain’s Defence Planners Face Hard Questions

By James Goldrick

In the last few days, the British press and social media have been rife with reports that the Royal Marines are to be reduced by 1000 from their present establishment of 6500. In addition, the amphibious fleet may be similarly reduced with the decommissioning of the landing platform dock (LPD) that is the core of the British ready capability and the possible disposal of both that ship and a sister unit held in reserve. This scheme is one option being considered as part of a ‘mini defence review’ underway in the UK.

Machine Intelligence: We Need a National Strategy

On Thursday, July 20, China’s State Council released the New Generation of Artificial Intelligence Development Plan. Numbering nearly 40 pages, the plan lays out China’s aspirations in impressive detail. It introduces massive investment that aims to position China at the forefront of technological achievement by cultivating the governmental, economic, and academic ecosystems to drive breakthroughs in machine intelligence. To achieve these goals, the council aims to harness the data produced by the Internet-connected devices of more than a billion Chinese citizens, a vast web of “intelligent things.”

Is The NSA At A Tipping Point? Should Its Entire Network Enterprise Be Scrapped? One Has To Assume Putin’s Spies & Beijing’s Collector’s Have Taken Full Advantage Of NSA’s Breaches & Miscues

As you are probably aware by now, there has been yet another breach of NSA’s security, as another contractor supporting the agency’s mission to primarily steal communications secrets of foreign targets — apparently unwittingly revealed our highly sensitive sources, methods, tools, techniques and procedures. One wonders if there is anything left worth stealing from NSA’s classified network. And,one would have to assume at this point that all these leaks has enabled Russia to embed some well-placed implants in NSA’s network enterprise. One has to assume that Putin’s spies took advantage of these miscues. And, the employment of the contracting community by NSA has, for whatever reason, become its Achilles heel.

Integration in Warfare

By Nathan Finney
Source Link

With the announcement of the new iPhone X—at a price only a princess royal could afford—I recalled a metaphor that some peers and I tried to employ to describe the importance of integration to future warfare. With the recognition by most defence thinkers and senior military leaders that potential future adversaries have created and employed capabilities that will negate U.S. and ally advantages, different approaches to contemporary warfare will be required. Enter ‘multi-domain battle’, a concept designed to address the diminishing ability of commanders to wage a joint fight effectively on the future battlefield.

Britain’s Defence Planners Face Hard Questions

By James Goldrick

In the last few days, the British press and social media have been rife with reports that the Royal Marines are to be reduced by 1000 from their present establishment of 6500. In addition, the amphibious fleet may be similarly reduced with the decommissioning of the landing platform dock (LPD) that is the core of the British ready capability and the possible disposal of both that ship and a sister unit held in reserve. This scheme is one option being considered as part of a ‘mini defence review’ underway in the UK.


ML Cavanaugh

Yes, you read that right. The West’s roaring lion, the British Bulldog, he of “blood, toil, tears, and sweat”—Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill—“customarily wore underwear made of pale pink silk.” We’ll come back to that later.

I was recently asked to speak at a Defense Entrepreneurs Forum panel at the US Air Force Academy, which got me to thinking about what that actually means. Some hold the term, “defense entrepreneur,” in contempt: Why isn’t this just innovation? Why do we have to go and create a new word for the same thing?

10 Ways to Start a Conversation About Leadership

Vince Lombardi wisely quipped, “The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.” Success does not happen by accident…and neither does becoming a leader. The road to meaningful influence is marked by deliberate steps to acquire knowledge, gain experience, and engage in ways that specifically relate to leadership. Followers can do this on their own, but leaders have a tacit responsibility to grow other leaders and must find ways to further the leadership development of those around them.