Fourth Industrial Revolution and Digital Economy

  • By Kyaw Kyaw Hlaing (SMART)

fourth industrial revolution

Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, has been at the center of global affairs for many years. He is convinced that we are at the beginning of a revolution that is fundamentally changing the way we live, work and relate to one another, which he explores in his new book, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution”.
The word ‘transform’ is different from the word ‘change’. To better understand ‘change’, we can take an example from the chameleons that can change the structural arrangement of their upper cell layer, leading to a change in color, from green to red, or vice versa, from red to green. For ‘transformation’, we can take an example from the caterpillars that can turn into butterflies.To become a butterfly, a caterpillar first digests itself. Within its protective casing, the caterpillar radically transforms its body, eventually emerging as a butterfly that can fly in the air by virtue of transformation.

Early transformation
Google Cloud CEO once mentioned that he had made an attempt to change the way people worked, but after ten years, he found out that it is more important to know how to transform the business enterprises.

The First Industrial Revolution
After the invention of the steam engine in 1760, this transition included transforming from manual to mechanical production, using water and steam power.The transportation sector became one of the major beneficiaries of this revolution.
The Second Industrial Revolution
The First Industrial Revolution evolved into the Second Industrial Revolution in the transition years after 1870, when technological and economic progress was witnessed with an increased use of electricity.

The Third Industrial Revolution
The Third Industrial Revolution, sometimes called the Digital Revolution, involved the development of computers and IT (information technology), and began in the 1960s. The first two industrial revolutions caused humans to become wealthier and more urban.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is still in its evolving stage, but its cyber physical systems are already considered a new era rather than a continuation because of its phenomenal development and a disruptive nature to all that was conventional.
Unfortunately, our country still hasn’t fully enjoyed the benefits of the Second Industrial Revolution. According to a report released by the World Bank, only 38.6 per cent of the Myanmar population have access to electricity. According to the 2014 census, out of about 11 million households in Myanmar, only 4.2 million were fully connected to an electricity grid. The index shows Myanmar scores 105 per cent of mobile density rate and 80 per cent for smart phone usage. Thanks to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Digital Economyis thriving in Myanmar.
Digital Economyencompasses worldwide network of economic activities, commercial transactions and professional interactions that are enabled by information and communication technologies (ICT). It can be succinctly summed up as an economy that is based on digital computing technologies, although we increasingly perceive this as conducting business through markets based on the Internet and the World Wide Web.Digital Economy is also sometimes called the Internet Economy, New Economy, or Web Economy.
The global economy is undergoing a digital transformation as well, and it’s happening at a breakneck speed. It is an economic activity that results from billions of everyday online connections among people, businesses, devices, data and other processes. The backbone of the Digital Economy is hyper connectivity, which means growing interconnectedness of people, organizations, and machines that results from the Internet, mobile technology and the Internet of Things (IoT). Digital Economy is taking shape and undermining conventional notions about how businesses are structured, how firms interact, and how consumers obtain services, information and goods.

The Internet of Things (IoT)
As sensor prices continue to drop, we are on the cusp of an era where everything can be connected — people, businesses, devices, and processes — to each other. The melding of the physical and digital world brings every asset into a digital domain where software dominates. When an organization can understand its physical and digital asset inventory at any given moment, it can operate with precision previously unimaginable, paving the way for the ultimate lean enterprise. The global Internet of Things (IoT) market is expected to consume US$75 billion and the value of IoT would be $6.2 trillion in 2025.

Digital Economy
As Digital Economy improves dramatically, more and more people around the world are participating in it. For digital technologies to impact economic development, however, appropriate policies have to be in place to remove the obstacles that prevent emerging economies from fully engaging in the Digital Economy, while minimizing the risks. With the rise of digital cameras, the 130-year-old Kodak film company is almost obsolete.
The markets ofNikon, Canon, Sony and Fuji cameras are facing decline because smartphone cameras are now amazingly good.Many telephone operating companies are finding it difficult to operate their services because of some mobile applications, such as WeChat, Viber, What’sApp and Messenger.Newsweek, the 79-year-old US current affairs magazine, has transformed itself to an online-only publication, ending its print edition. A disruptive technology is one that displaces an established technology and shakes up the industry or a ground-breaking product that creates a completely new industry.
ASEAN countries and Digital Economy
We are living in an era of technological revolution that is disrupting and transforming businesses, governments and societies alike. All are being challenged to adapt and keep up with the change. This is especially true of governments, which have struggled to deliver growth and prosperity and are trapped in inefficient and obsolete development models, as they now have a responsibility to lead the digital transformation.
Increasing levels of Internet penetration in ASEAN nations provide a strong basis for Digital Economy. Thailand has established the Ministry of Digital Economy since 2016. Singapore has made significant progress in its digital infrastructure, with the Ministry of Communications and Information making concerted efforts to prepare Singaporeans for a more vibrant, innovation-driven Digital Economy, as well as create new jobs in the info communications, media and design (ICMD) sectors. In Malaysia, Digital Economy has been supervised by the Ministry of Science and
Technology.

Youths and digital world
Generation Y is the generation of people born during the 1980s and early 1990s. The name is based on Generation X, which preceded them. Members of Generation Y are often referred to as “echo boomers” because they are the children of parents, who are known as the “baby boomers”. Because children born during this time period have had constant access to technology, including computers and cell phones, they have required many employers to update their hiring strategy in order to incorporate updated forms of technology. Generation Z kids will grow up with a highly sophisticated media and computer environment and will be more Internet savvy and expert than their Generation Y forerunners.
These advances will likely give rise to many opportunities for economic and social development in developing countries in the world. As for Myanmar, it is of vital importance to transform the Fourth Industrial Revolution with the cooperation of Y, Z and Alpha (born since the year 2010 and until the year 2025)generations. Young people use technology for catching up with friends, educating themselves, playing games, watching movies and listening to music. There’s nothing new about the activities this generation is seeking out — it’s just the technology they’re using to do it.

Translated by Win Ko Ko Aung

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