Monthly Archives: January 2016

Fourth Industrial Revolution by Klaus Schwab

A fourth industrial revolution began at the turn of this century building on the digital revolution, according to Klaus Schwab, German engineer and founder of the World Economic Forum. [i] The transition to agriculture from hunting and gathering occurred around 10,000 years ago, the first industrial revolution evolved from about 1760 to 1840, the second was the mass production that began in the late 19th century, and the third was the information age enabled by computers in the 1960s. The new revolution depends on smart technology: mobile devices that can connect billions of people, AI (artificial intelligence, self-driving vehicles, robotics, drones and virtual assistances like Apple’s Siri), 3D printing that can manufacture a new liver or a gun, quantum computing, new materials, and IoT (the internet of things such as chips in household appliances). Nanotechnology and biotechnology will change medical practices, permit gene engineering, implanting memories in brains and designer babies. As futurist Alvin Toffler predicted, each revolution occurs faster than the previous one. The iPhone was only launched in 2007 but there were about two billion smart phones in use by the end of 2015 (Sub Saharan Africa is the fastest growing area), and Airbnb, Uber and Alibaba (China’s online sales service) are even newer. Buyers can get virtual books and music online and arrange car rides without needing to own a car. Technological tipping points such as most people connected to the Internet are listed in Schwab’s book.[ii]

Schwab is concerned about traditional leaders’ low level of preparedness for the rapid changes the fourth revolution is bringing, changes in entire systems, and the increased inequality and social unrest that can result from failure to collaborate. Talent is now the basis for success, requiring flexible networks rather than hierarchies. He thinks there’s never been a time of greater promise or potential danger due to the following problems. With growing economic inequality, half of all assets are controlled by the richest 1% and the lower half owns less than 1% of wealth, according to Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Report 2015. The authors of The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger show that more equal societies have higher well-being, less violence and stress, and better health.[iii] Nearly 1.3 people still don’t have electricity, half the world’s population doesn’t have mobile phones and 60% don’t have Internet access.[iv] New industries are creating fewer jobs than in the previous technological revolutions and with “on demand” economies more employers are using the “human cloud” of temporary workers called the precariat. Millennials set the tone for these consumer trends in a “now world” of peer sharing and user-created content, where 87% of young people in the US report their smart phone is always with them.[v] Progress towards gender equity is slow and possible stalling. The global population is ageing, requiring changes in retirement practices and other issues. Schwab observed that North American companies remain the most innovative, along with the EU, but China and other countries are catching up.

Governments will need to adapt to the fourth revolution by using more digital sharing of information in e-governance, adapt to loose networks replacing old hierarchies, and the growing importance of globally connected cities and regions as “hubs of innovation.” (Among the most innovative cities are New York, London, Helsinki, Barcelona and Amsterdam.[vi]) Citizens already have to be vigilant about government electronic surveillance, cyber warfare, and the ability of terrorist groups like ISIS to recruit fighters on social media from more than 100 countries.

The fourth revolution leads to what Schwab believes is a disruptive “transformation of humankind” in a global civilization. Some of the changes in identity are people are willing to be mobile as in moving for work, families may be separated by these moves in a “trans-national family network,” and people are more comfortable with “multiple identities” that come from exposure to other cultures. A “me-centered” society creates “new forms of belonging and community.”[vii] Spending so much time being interrupted by multiple electronic messages can impact ability to concentrate and relax. More polarization can result between those digitally connected and those not connected. Schwab’s book is a plea for leaders to adapt to the fourth revolution so that too many people don’t get left behind.

[i] Klaus Schwab. The Fourth Industrial Revolution. World Economic Forum, Geneva, 2016.

[ii] Ibid., p. 26.

[iii] Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. The Spirit Level Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger. Bloombury Press, 2011.

[iv] Klaus, p. 77.

[v] Ibid, p. 54.

[vi] Ibid., p. 78.

[vii] Ibid., p. 94.

film about sex roles in Turkey today

The clash between modern and traditional values is displayed in a Turkish film, Mustang (2015), where most people are Muslim. It takes place in a village in Northern Turkey where five teenage sisters play on the beach along with their male classmates. A neighbor woman complained about the co-ed playfulness to the girls’ family, similar to what the director actually experienced as a girl and similar to the US film The Virgin Suicides. Director Deniz Gamze Ergüven travels back and forth from Turkey to France. When she returns home, “I feel a form of constriction that surprises me” so she wanted to explore the status of girls and women in contemporary Turkey in the film.[i] “Everything that has anything to do with femininity is constantly reduced to sexuality,” as when high school principals prohibit boys and girl from using the same stairways. Women are viewed as babymakers “good only for housework.” The family reacted by removing all “instruments of corruption,” like cell phones and computers, removing the girls from school and keeping the girls at home teaching them to be housewives. When the older sisters are married off, the younger ones rebel and plot to stay independent and unmarried. Ergüven described the young actors who played the younger sisters as empowered, “They are also crazily plugged-in; they know everything about everything. It’s amazing. They really are light years ahead of me and their parents.”



Hooking Up

Any thoughts on this?
When Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe was asked why people his age find it so easy to hook up but love is difficult, he replied in 2014:
Right. I think people around my age, and younger, are the generation that has grown up using technology for everything. The Internet is very quick and efficient. And that’s the world in which a lot of young people are living, in terms of the speed with which things happen. Like other things on the Internet, the longevity of [love] always comes into question. But I think love is generally difficult to achieve.

History of sexist ads

Sexist ads from the 1930s to 1960s. Additions?

Sexist Vintage Ads Illustrate Why The World Needs Feminism

Volunteer for Syrian refugees needs $

In March I am heading to Lesvos, Greece to work with Syrian refugees that are fleeing violence and war back home. I’ll be volunteering for a month. Before I go, I am raising money to pay for supplies (medical aid, food, etc.) for the refugees. To learn more about what I’m doing and to show your solidarity and support, please check out my YouCaring page and share it widely. Thank you! heart emoticon

US high schoolers bored, need purpose

In conversations with thousands of teenagers visiting over 100 high schools around the US, educator Patrick Cook-Deegan found they were bored or very pressured and stressed. Most didn’t feel their high school education is relevant so he advocates changing 19th century teaching methods to engage students’ passion and purpose. Students would collaborate with their peers instead of competing with them, provide adult mentoring, and includes developing the inner live of students and real world activities. They need to understand why they are in school rather than just aiming to get into the best universities to insure a good job. Cook-Deegan is developing a purpose-based curriculum at Stanford University’s demonstration school.

Patrick Cook-Deegan, “Seven Ways to Help High Schoolers Find Purpose,” Greater Good, January 11, 2016.

Young leaders’ views: Global Shapers Survey 2015

The Global Shapers survey of over 1,000 young activists garnered responses from 125 countries, with the most from Latin America and the least from China.[i] Their mean age was 28 and 60% of the respondents were male. They reported the top three issues facing the world are inequality (56%) climate change and the environment (42%), and access to education (33%). They support local businesses over imported ones. The top issues facing their cities are inequality, youth unemployment, and lack of government transparency. When asked which sector will require the most change to adapt to Millennials, they replied government (54%), education (42%), and agriculture (24%). Few trust government, religious leaders (only 15%), news media, or multinational corporations. However, 85% said they vote in national elections. They only trust their employer (68%) and NGOs (46%). The living world leaders they most admire are all men: Pope Francis, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Barack Obama, Richard Branson, Mohammad Yunus, Narendra Modi, and Warren Buffett. When asked what are the most important things they look for in a job, they said the opportunity to make a difference (65%), opportunities to learn (51%) and career advancement (40%). Similar to other studies, they identify globally willing to move to another country.