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Government can enhance trust in technology

Written by Christophe Horemans on 20 March 2019 for Clients

The technologies driving the Industry 4.0 (i4.0) have already started to change the way we live, work and interact with each other. Advances in robotics, biotech, and nanotech are blurring the boundaries between biological, physical and digital worlds, fundamentally reshaping our planet. According to Philippe De Backer, Minister of Digital Agenda, up to “two-thirds of people will have to be retrained and reshaped in the next ten to fifteen years.” Here, De Backer explains why he believes that governments must work to enhance public trust in these new technologies.

Industry 4.0 is changing everything

Many trends and technologies are coming together and will change the way we live. But there is no need to be afraid. We need to adapt and we need to embrace these changes. The fourth industrial revolution will be driven by technology, but not technology alone. Industry 4.0 will change everything about how we live, how we interact with each other, how we do business and how governments function. The main driving forces behind this revolution will be innovations like artificial intelligence, robotics, and biotechnology. These technologies will help increase connectivity across the globe. They will shape how we look at the world and will touch many different aspects of our lives.

Businesses need to invest more in innovation

Industry 4.0 will force businesses to evolve. Companies of all sizes will have to continue to invest and move up the value chain in order to survive. Businesses will have to invest in innovation and ensure that technology becomes an integral part of how they operate. Industry 4.0 will fundamentally alter many businesses world vision, and this will necessitate increased investment in i4.0 technologies such as for example Internet of Things (IoT). This increased investment will help to ensure that things are better monitored and data is being better used in order to optimize business processes.

An opportunity for job creation and growth

Many jobs will be impacted by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and an estimated 60 percent of people will have to be retrained within the next ten to fifteen years. Therefore, I look at Industry 4.0 as an opportunity for job creation and job growth. It will help us to shape new jobs but only if we invest in education from an early age. We have to increase young learners’ opportunities to interact with technology. This will help them better understand the nature of the world they will live in tomorrow.

Philippe De Backer - Industry 4.0

Adaptability is key

As a biologist, I believe that adaptability will be an extremely important part of Industry 4.0. Change is happening fast, and people will have to adapt. One of the key messages I want to give is that adaptability and the ability to be retrained and stay curious about the wider world will be the key to success. We will need to build upon continuous education during people’s lifetimes.

The human touch

There’s also the need for creativity – the human touch – in tomorrow’s world. We must ensure that people know how to interact with new technologies and how they can embrace them in order to improve their own lives and the lives of others. The human touch will be an indispensable part of Industry 4.0 and we must prioritize investments in this area.

Besides investing in hard skills, we also have to invest in peoples’ soft skills. This will help ensure that people understand what these new technologies are doing, and how they are changing lives. Communication, an open mind and tolerance towards others will also be essential to thriving in the Fourth Industrial R evolution.

The role of politics

We have to embrace Industry 4.0, not fight against it. It is already here today and politics will play an important role. On the one hand, governments must invest in education and infrastructure but also have to push the public debate and be much more open to the world and connected to their own citizens. Governments must encourage people to trust new technologies by ensuring that there are frameworks in place. For example, privacy should be respected, because at the end of the day, it will be about trust when data is being used.

New opportunities

For me, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is really a story about new opportunities. These opportunities will increase the quality of our lives, making our lives easier. Industry 4.0 will change the labour market and the ways that we think and behave, but ultimately, it will improve our lives tremendously.

If you’re curious about how you can thrive during Industry 4.0, be sure to watch Philippe De Backer’s full interview here.