You've heard this before — the rate of technological change is accelerating. It's unpredictable and unprecedented. As the World Economic Forum acknowledged in its Future of Jobs report, we’re entering a fourth industrial revolution:
Developments in previously disjointed fields such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing and genetics and biotechnology are all building on and amplifying one another . . . On average, by 2020, more than a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will be comprised of skills that are not yet considered crucial to the job today.
The key to surviving this new industrial revolution is leading it. That requires two key elements of agile businesses: awareness of disruptive technology and a plan to develop talent that can make the most of it.
10 technologies that will transform the global economy by 2025
With so many technologies emerging on so many fronts, it’s a challenge to keep up. Every advance is billed as “the next big thing.” Combining a report by The McKinsey Global Institute and knowledge of Pluralsight’s subject-matter experts, we’ve compiled a list of 10 technologies that will lead the fourth industrial revolution. As the Institute notes, “Not every emerging technology will alter the business or social landscape – but some truly do have the potential to disrupt the status quo, alter the way people live and work, and rearrange value pools.”
Wildcard: Quantum computing
The application and adoption of quantum computing is unclear, but the technology is moving beyond the hype. Google’s Quantum AI Laboratory predicts that small quantum technologies will be commercially available in five years and will help businesses increase revenue, reduce costs and lower investments in infrastructure.
The 2025 workforce: Enterprise learning required
These technologies could have huge benefits for many companies – but they will also create big challenges. The McKinsey report includes a few suggestions to prepare for those challenges, emphasizing anticipating future needs through employee training: “The nature of work will continue to change, and that will require strong education and retraining programs.”
The World Economic Forum concurs: “Across nearly all industries, the impact of technological and other changes is shortening the shelf-life of employees’ existing skill sets. . . . The talent to manage, shape and lead the changes underway will be in short supply unless we take action today to develop it. Businesses will need to put talent development and future workforce strategy front and center to their growth. Firms can no longer be passive consumers of ready-made human capital. They require a new mindset to meet their talent needs.”
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