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Conditions for a 4th industrial revolution

Mar 03,2017
Lately, the fourth industrial revolution is the hottest topic. Every presidential runner makes a promise to prepare for the fourth industrial revolution. The government is making a fuss about making the fourth industrial revolution policies. Companies are no exception. Not just venture and IT companies but also retailers, manufacturers and carmakers talk about the fourth industrial revolution. It seems that everyone knows about the fourth industrial revolution.

But in fact, no one knows what the fourth industrial revolution is about. Aside from the general idea that technologies like AI and IoT would change industries and our way of life, no one can clearly what the fourth industrial revolution is. Dictionaries only give vague definitions. Some even claim that Industry 4.0 — the German government’s future factor project that began in 2012 — is a synonym of the fourth industrial revolution.

The fourth industrial revolution was suddenly mentioned last year at the Davos Forum. A depressing report about 5.1 million jobs disappearing in five year was revealed, and founder and chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab became an evangelist for the fourth industrial revolution. His book “The Fourth Industrial Revolution” became a bestseller.

I don’t mean to say that the fourth industrial revolution is fictitious or exaggerated. Discussing the fourth industrial revolution in a future-oriented sense should not be criticized.

But we don’t need to obsess over the term. It is meaningless to distinguish what technology belongs to the third industrial revolution and what belongs to the fourth.

Park Sang-kyu, head of the Intelligence Information Research Division of the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, said at the National Assembly panel discussion on February 21, “I am concerned that the discussion of the fourth industrial revolution is often exaggerated as if driverless cars will be on the road in a day or two.” After all, what’s important is not the fuss but consistent research and investment. The government and companies need to steadily prepare and invest.