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Autism: 4th Industrial Revolution Are you Prepared?

What is the 4th Industrial Revolution?

The 4th Industrial Revolution is a name given to describe the relationship between the biological, digital, and physical worlds. It’s a synergy of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things, 3D printing, genetic engineering, quantum computing, and other technologies. It is this collective group force that products and services will become indispensable to our future.

Future of Jobs

The World Economic Forum produced a report in 2018 that presented information and data indicating the future of jobs. Businesses and workers must proactively plan and implement a new vision for their future. A particular focus of the report is to arrive at a better understanding of the potential of new technologies to create as well as disrupt jobs and to improve the quality and productivity of the existing work of human employees.

Drivers of Change

Four specific technologies are set to dominate between 2018-2022. They include; artificial intelligence, big data analytics, cloud technology, and high speed mobile internet. By 2022, according to companies surveyed, 85% of companies will have adopted these technologies. In addition, machine learning, augmented and virtual reality are set to be a considerable investment by top companies.

Trends in Robotization

The use of robots will take over many types of jobs which were previously performed by humans. These include stationary robots, non-humanoid land robots, and fully automated aerial drone robots. According to the report, 37% of companies are planning for this investment. Companies across all sectors are most likely to adopt the use of stationary robots, in contrast to humanoid, aerial or underwater robots. Leaders in the Oil & Gas industry report the same level of demand for stationary and aerial and underwater robots, while employers in the Financial Services industry are most likely to signal the planned adoption of humanoid robots in the period up to 2022.

What does this mean for people with Autism?

Nearly 50% of companies expect that automation will lead to some reduction in their full time workforce by 2022. Even tasks that have been previously been performed by humans will begin to be automated. Redundant roles that are on the decline include:

Data Entry Clerks

Assembly and Factory Workers

Material Recording

Stock Keeping Clerks

Postal Service Clerks

Cashiers and Ticket Clerks

Mechanics Operator and Machinery Repair

Bank Tellers


ReSkilling Revolution

In order for individuals on the autistic spectrum to be able to sustain in the workforce, they will need to be re-skilled to remain competitive in the job market. For workers, improved productivity may allow them to re-focus their work on high-value activities that play to the distinctive strengths of being human. However, to unlock this positive vision, workers will need to have the appropriate skills that will enable them to thrive in the workplace of the future.

Analytical thinking and innovation

Active Learning and learning strategies

Creativity, originality, and initiative

Technology design and programming

Critical thinking and analysis

Complex problem solving

Leadership and social influence

Emotional intelligence

Reasoning, problem solving and ideation

Systems analysis and evaluation

Agile Learning

Not only will workers need to have the appropriate skills which will enable them to thrive in the workplace, but they will continually need to retrain throughout their lives. The worker should have a mindset of agile learning as they shift from the various routines that will change over time. In addition, schools and agencies will need to play an important role in ensuring that those individuals who are displaced are given the opportunity to retrain and acquire new skills. This will mean increased funding to invest in the development of new agile learners in future workforces. It is crucial that staff be retrained and changes implemented to current systems so that they match the realities of the Fourth industrial Revolution.

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