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Inside Asia


Jan 6, 2018

Some of you will have heard the term “4th Industrial Revolution.” If you haven’t…well…don’t look now, but you’re living though the midst of it.

So what is the 4th Industrial Revolution: it’s an era defined by a mashup of new technological advances; big data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, and yes, advanced robotics. And it’s robotics that lies at the center of it, where innovation meets human substitution.

Here’s the billion dollar question: What happens next? What do you and your business need to do to survive this revolution? And why is now the time to get smart on the subject?

To help us grapple with these questions and more, my guest is Dr. Jing Bing Zhang, Research Director at IDC Asia Pacific Group, a global market research and strategic advisory firm.

He’s a man in high demand these days. Our conversation took place right after he had finished lecturing to a group of senior foreign and Chinese executives representing the automotive, consumer electronics, food, insurance and banking industries. It was an astounding display of how rapidly robotics is rising and displacing tasks once reserved for humans.

Here’s just one of the takeaways from our conversation: By the year 2020 Asia-Pacific will represent more than 70% of worldwide spend on robotic technologies, with China emerging as the global leader in both industrial and commercial applications.

The implications are global. If China is hellbent in driving greater productivity and efficiencies while lowering costs by using robots over humans, the rest of the world will need to do the same. The robots, in short, are on your doorstep.

To help you get ready, here a refresher on Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, a timely reminder of what it felt like for Garry Kasparov to lose to Big Blue, for the nay-sayers out there here’s a list of the seven worst tech predictions of all time, and, finally, my DHR White Paper: “The Rise of Robotics and Its Collision with the Workforce” which I co-authored with Dr. Zhang.