Steam and water power, electricity and assembly lines, and computerisation. Yes, the three industrial revolutions of the past had shaped our world. However, they will be nothing like the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0 because this revolution will challenge even our ideas about what it means to be human.
The Internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence, automation and more are just some elements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This revolution will undoubtedly change the way we live, work and relate to one another. How do we prepare ourselves and our young people, and what can we do to succeed in this new revolution?
These questions were the highlight at the recent PETROSAINS Ascend Series panel discussion. Titled “Future Proofing You: Thriving in the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, the session was moderated by PETRONAS ICT Chief Operating Officer (COO) Izwan Ibrahim. The panellist comprised Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Co-founder of Naluri Hidup Sdn Bhd Azran Osman Rani, CEO and Co-founder of OpenLearning.com Adam Brimo, and Executive Director of Hong Leong Foundation Quek Sue Yian.
Eager to find out more, the ICT Bytes team caught up with Izwan to get his views and insights from the discussion.
1. Why is this such an important topic and do you think it benefitted the audience?
Firstly, I’m glad PETROSAINS sees the importance of this topic. Clearly, the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0 will impact all of us, especially young people. Discussing this subject, addressing concerns and providing vital insights that can help young people succeed is certainly a worthwhile endeavour. The panellists offered the audience a meaningful discourse on the ever-changing demands brought on by the revolution, and how they can develop an innovative edge to accelerate growth and make headway in this era. So yes, I believe the audience walked away enriched with new insights.
2. What are your key takeaways from the forum?
Personally, I thought each panel member spoke with conviction and care. Adam, for example, talked about the role of education and how it helps prepare the younger generation to embrace Industry 4.0. Given his expertise as a provider of online learning, he brought a fresh perspective to the discussion.
While I agree with his view, I think we need to distinguish and reconsider how education is provided at kindergartens, primary and secondary schools as well as the tertiary level, as these fulfil different but complementary roles for the future.
Similarly, Quek raised concerns about Industry 4.0, particularly the economic imbalances it could bring to young people. Passionate about helping underprivileged children and youth, Quek wants to prepare them, and those who are physically, mentally or emotionally challenged to survive and thrive in the future.
Meanwhile, Azran felt that many people get caught up in technology for technology's sake. People can easily “fall in love” with the solutions or products, but the real test is whether they actually change people's lives.
PETRONAS ICT Chief Operating Officer (COO) Izwan Ibrahim (far left) poses for a photo with Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Co-founder of Naluri Hidup Sdn Bhd Azran Osman Rani (second from left), PETROSAINS CEO Tengku Nasariah Tengku Syed Ibrahim, Executive Director of Hong Leong Foundation Quek Sue Yian, and CEO and Co-founder of OpenLearning.com Adam Brimo.
3. How relevant is the topic to PETRONAS employees?
This topic is very relevant to everyone in PETRONAS because it is aligned with where we are heading. We have embarked on a journey to digitally transform our organisation through upskilling, so gaining insights and different perspectives will foster new ideas. At the same time, we need to be mindful of the evolving challenges and opportunities in a future that is driven by automation, the IoT, big data and artificial intelligence, among others. Understanding these elements and using them to the best of our abilities will unlock new value for PETRONAS and help us grow.
4. What would you add to what the panellists have shared?
The operative word here is “thriving”, which describes growing well, blooming and flourishing. Our youth will have to invest and build on their capabilities because we are now playing on a global stage. Meritocracy allows for a level playing field where everyone with [the right] skill and imagination can aspire to reach the highest level.
5. Being a first-time moderator, how would you describe your experience in moderating the forum?
I was nervous at first but had a good experience [moderating the forum]. I want to thank my team [in the COO’s Office division] for their support and for going beyond the call of duty [to be there that day]. I picked up some pointers from my colleague Varian Ignatius [head of the Communications Management team at PETRONAS ICT's Strategic Communications division] who moderated a ‘Dialogue with our CEO’ session on the morning of the PETROSAINS Forum. So, it was really hands-on learning. I’d advise anyone who aspires to be a moderator to do lots of homework – research and preparation. As the saying goes, “the more you know, the more you don’t know!” [Moderating the forum] was a hands-on learning experience [for me].