The fourth industrial revolution has arrived, bringing with it a digital cache of untapped potential ranging from artificial intelligence (AI) to virtual reality (VR). Companies, enterprises and institutions across multiple sectors are now gunning to become the first within their industries to adopt, implement and fully utilize these emerging technologies that come with such rapid global digitisation. In addition to AI and VR, the proliferation of new technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, blockchain and biometrics are just some of the emerging game changers that have taken the world, particularly Asia Pacific, by storm.

Read more: The necessity of 5G in the Asian ecosystem

When Steven Spielberg’s “A.I. Artificial Intelligence” first premiered in 2001, it was hailed as an ambitious foray into the unknown, into a dimension that the world had not yet ventured but was not completely unfamiliar with. The project was first conceived by legendary producer-director Stanley Kubrick, who handed over the production of “A.I.” to Spielberg.The idea that artificial intelligence (AI) or machines that exhibit human-like emotions could be a reality in the not so distant future was both intriguing and downright mind-boggling. The film itself is set in the 22nd century in a post-climate change era. In this conception, most of the world’s coastlines have been submerged underwater due to rising sea levels, with humans and humanoid robots living side-by-side with one another.

Read more: Employing AI in the war against Covid-19

As the world becomes more and more interconnected with each generation, the demand for natural resources continues to grow at an alarming rate. Unfortunately, in some cases, human greed has overshadowed the need for providing the global population with its essentials in a safe and sustainable way. Rapid deforestation is one of the ways in which this greed has manifested itself physically.

Read more: Saving the planet one used cellphone at a time

In an attempt to control the spread of the Covid-19, a significant part of the global population which is currently on lockdown has been forced to work and keep its businesses afloat without the convenience of daily workplace communication methods. Staff meetings, business events and travel have all been put on hold or cancelled for the time being, urging many companies to turn to video conferencing platforms such as Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts and Webex to maintain operations and client relationships.

Read more: The surge of video conferencing platforms during Covid-19

As the world continues to grapple with the uncertainty of COVID-19, the consequences of this pandemic, further exacerbated by global lackadaisicalness at the beginning of the outbreak, has driven many economies into recession and created a seismic shift in the job market. According to a report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the pandemic could potentially cost the world economy up to USD$ 8.8 trillion in losses, with the Asia Pacific region (APAC) accounting for 30% of this. If these estimates are correct, this would mean the loss of over 200 million full-time jobs worldwide; 70% of which will come from APAC.

Read more: The rise of pandemic-driven digital services

The 21st century is currently witnessing a technological renaissance unlike anything it has ever experienced before. The proliferation of new technologies like 5G network, Internet of Things (IoT), big data, blockchain and virtual and augmented reality are just some of the emerging game changers that will undoubtedly change our world in more ways than we can imagine. In terms of digital innovation and technological foresight, Asia has proven itself to be at the top of its class. Despite its rapidly growing digital economy, the many advantages that could be reaped by the region may potentially be overshadowed by the rising concerns of cybersecurity threats. In other words, the greater the success of the region’s digital economy, the greater the exposure to increasingly harmful cybersecurity breaches.

Read more: Cybersecurity: The Southeast Asian dilemma

In the past decade, Asia Pacific has achieved tremendous economic progress. Many of the countries in this region have surpassed expectations and dominated a diverse range of industries, specifically tech and telecommunications. Despite its immense success and continued growth in those two fields, the region is still battling one of its most pressing issues; poverty.

Read more: Telecoms access in Asia Pacific: A gateway to poverty reduction

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