Archive for the ‘Industry 4.0’ Category

Preparing job-ready and future-proof graduates

Wednesday, May 1st, 2019
A roundtable discussion in progress on the Future of Work at Bett Asia 2019.NSTP/SALHANI IBRAHIM

THE impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) on the future workforce has been the subject of many discussions.

The concern expressed by many is that jobs that exist today will disappear with the onslaught of technologies like automation and artificial intelligence (AI).

Research from global professional network LinkedIn stated that by 2020, 50 million jobs would be displaced due to automation and AI.

Head of LinkedIn Learning business in Asia Georgina O’Brien said this information should not be perceived negatively, but rather should be met with enthusiasm because of the prospects of new opportunities and the skillsets needed going forward.

“In the 1900s, people had one job for life, but now we are looking at 15 careers in a lifetime for millenials and those belonging to the Generation Z group. Sixty-five per cent of jobs hired in the next generation do not exist today. Some of the areas where jobs will emerge are predicted to be in the commercial drone industry, 3D printing, crypto currencies and future agriculture,” she said.

In such an environment, O’Brien said the shelf-life for skills is five years, while technology-based skills would be valid for only three years.

“For students who graduate from university, many of what they learned in their first year is redundant when they get to the job market. Studies show 87 per cent of students feel they are well prepared for jobs and yet, only 50 per cent of managers feel the same way.

“The question is, how are we going to help set university graduates for success? How can we create agility in their education system so they can be job-ready and future-proof?” she asked.

O’Brien said more than ever, we now have to focus on soft skills, as well as hybrid skills like data analytics and collaborative skills, for example.

She said universities should pay attention to the complex characteristics of the modern learner.

“They (students) live in the Netflix era with an on-demand mindset. They know exactly what they are getting. They are associated with just-in-time learning, and things like mobile access (learning on-the-go),” she said.

Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Mohammad Shatar Sabran said with the emergence of technologies and the impact of IR4.0 on universities, talents as well as society, it was critical for the higher education sector to envision the universities of tomorrow.

“The future generations are technology-savvy. We must ensure our courses, teaching methods and future graduates are equipped with more than just an academic qualification,” he said.

But whatever the technology, Shatar said, nothing could replace the human touch.

“As time passes by, the competition to secure a job becomes stiffer and people are getting worried whether there are any jobs left for the younger generations? Will technology replace human intelligence? The differentiator in those who succeed will be soft skills,” he said.

For example, if a job candidate has the ability to speak more than two languages, is able to work in teams and can think critically compared to his competitors with the same Cumulative Grade point average (CGPA) from university, this would make him the more attractive candidate.

“So, universities and lecturers need to look into building this aspect in students. Having academic qualifications is important, but so is having soft skills that would make students more marketable and able to perform in any job or industry,” he said.

Heriot-Watt University Malaysia chief executive officer and provost Professor Mushtak Al-Atabi believed that developing positive personal qualities such as resilience, happiness, self-awareness and self-motivation, could help students unleash their full potential and prepare them to stand out and create an impact in a highly-uncertain world.

“In the 1800s, during the First Industrial Revolution, technology replaced physical labour undertaken by humans. Now, with IR4.0, humans seem to be losing their superiority to machines in terms of cognitive skills.

“What we have left is precision working; ie. skills that football players and piano tuners have, as well as creativity and critical thinking. In the human domain, we have ethics, purpose, empathy and awareness. These are what machines cannot do,” he said, adding that employers needed the above skills in their workforce.

“What universities should do is to instill a sense of purpose in students for a lifelong journey and have them make academic choices that are challenge-focused, with a target to create impact and provide solutions to problems.

Mushtak said universities could form programmes to help structure students’ goals and define the steps toward it. “Emotional intelligence, mental resilience and a sense of purpose are important to have in the IR4.0 era,” he said.

By Rozana Sani.

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Embrace IR4.0 as we move forward

Friday, April 26th, 2019
At the ceremony to launch Taylor’s College's CAT and ACCA programmes, (from right) Taylor’s College campus director Josephine Tan, Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran and Taylor’s College school of professional studies head Jason Lo.

At the ceremony to launch Taylor’s College’s CAT and ACCA programmes, (from right) Taylor’s College campus director Josephine Tan, Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran and Taylor’s College school of professional studies head Jason Lo.

TAYLOR’s College has launched its Certified Accounting Technician (CAT) and Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) programmes.

In a recent ceremony at Taylor’s Lakeside Campus in Selangor, Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran who was the guest of honour highlighted the importance of embracing Industry 4.0, saying that it is inevitable as Malaysia heads towards a more connected, automated and efficient society.

“From the Ministry’s standpoint, Malaysians should continue to be involved in efforts to be equipped with new skills, engage with the workforce to be ready, and march towards this change – individually and on a corporate level – so that Malaysians remain competitive on a global scale,” he said.

Taylor’s College campus director Josephine Tan said it was imperative that education institutions equip learners with quality education, including professional qualifications, and extensive skills that are in line with the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) so that they could meet employers’ requirements.

“This, coupled with the advent of IR4.0, is why institutions of higher learning like Taylor’s College need to equip students with human-centred characteristics such as critical thinking, people management, emotional intelligence, negotiation, resilience, cognitive flexibility, life-long knowledge production. among others.

“By putting more emphasis on human-centred characteristics, students will be able to better adapt to technological changes upon entry into the workforce,” she said.

In keeping with Taylor’s College’s commitment to provide a great learning experience for its students, the launch was followed by the first Taylor’s College Forum on Professional Qualification, with the topic Revolutionising the Role of Professional Accountants.

The panellists were Kulasegaran, Baker Tilly Malaysia managing partner of audit and assurance Datuk Lock Peng Kuan, BP Malaysia country head Ainol Roznain Yaacob and 6Biz founder and CEO Datuk Vimmy Yap.

Tan said the event was an example of how Taylor’s College aims to be a differentiating factor for students who enrol in its CAT and ACCA programmes.

“In addition to value-added initiatives such as this, we also will provide our students with the ability to learn according to their schedule. For our students who are busy professionals, we aim to support their learning journey as best as possible.

“Our ReWIND technology enables them to tune in to their lectures on-the-go. This technology can also be utilised by all students to revise for their examinations.

“Additionally, we have an award-winning campus that is equipped with facilities and amenities to support their learning experience.

“We have a proven track record of high achievements over the past 50 years, as we have engaged some of the best academics to provide all our students the education befitting them.

“To ensure that our CAT and ACCA students are able to further enhance their human-centred characteristics, we have updated one of our compulsory modules with Life Skills to ensure that our students’ critical thinking skills will stand them in good stead when they complete the programme,” said Tan.

By doing the two programmes at Taylor’s College, students will gain a comprehensive learning experience and get a headstart towards the future that they want, she added.

For more information on Taylor’s CAT and ACCA programmes, go to or ACCA at

Fact Box

Certified Accounting Technician (CAT)

● CAT is open for enrolment with three intakes in January, March and July.

● Students are able to complete this qualification (9 papers) within 1 ½ years. The structured programme takes students’ development into account, allowing them the platform to acquire a strong foundation.

● Upon completion of the CAT exams, one year of relevant practical experience and having completed the Foundation in Professionalism modules, students will be entitled to use  “CAT” in their designation.

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Future-proofing students’ life-long careers

Monday, March 11th, 2019
Study at a leading technology and innovation university to embrace the Industry 4.0 wave.

Study at a leading technology and innovation university to embrace the Industry 4.0 wave.

WITH many unemployed graduates struggling to secure a job after graduating, this has become a major concern for many students and their parents. As the impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution or better known as Industry 4.0 hits closer to home, we are now edging closer to living in a futuristic world and it is only just a matter of time that routine jobs be replaced by automation and robotics.

As one of the leading technology universities in Malaysia, Asia Pacific University (APU) has been addressing the needs of Industry 4.0 through their innovative teaching and learning methods with first-of-its-kind courses and world-class facilities – ensuring students a future-proof career, not just for their first jobs but for life-long careers.

If technological studies is something you are interested in, APU might just be the premier private university for you. By ensuring that all students are empowered with the ability to keep up with the challenges within the world of Industry 4.0 and beyond, APU is upholding their vision as a university of technology and innovation to nurture the world’s future innovators.

A report published in 2017 titled Emerging Technologies’ Impact on Society and Work in 2030 by Dell Technologies revealed that almost 40% of jobs ranging from entry levels to C-levels will soon be replaced by 2030 – causing far-reaching implications on students aspiring to join the workforce of tomorrow.

Under Industry 4.0, computerisation of smart and autonomous systems have driven developments in revolutionary technologies such as big data, augmented reality (AR), cloud computing, cybersecurity, Internet of Things (IoT) and autonomous robotics. As a result, new jobs have emerged where new talents are needed but are not being produced by universities.

APU addresses the Industry 4.0 wave by introducing carefully designed courses.

However at APU, courses offered to students are highly relevant to Industry 4.0, making graduates future-proof and ready for employment. The teaching and learning approaches at APU are carefully designed to nurture innovative thinking within an integrated campus environment. Students also develop a global mindset by operating within a multi-cultural community on campus that comprises students from over 130 countries. Besides, APU graduates are seen to possess the necessary soft skills and professionalism to face the global challenges ahead.

APU’s Industry 4.0-relevant programmes such as in cyber security, data science, IoT, intelligent systems and cloud computing, were carefully designed together with APU’s industry advisory panels, to equip students with the latest technical and soft skills that are required by the future job market.

APU’s campus offers world-class facilities and a conducive learning environment for students to thrive in

While Industry 4.0 also impacts the global business, accounting and finance spectrum, our students who are currently undergoing their studies in business management, accounting, banking and finance are also exposed towards Industry 4.0-relevant areas such as Financial Technology (FinTech), Digital Marketing, E-Business and Blockchain. APU have also re-designed the programmes to incorporate both traditional financial and business methods as well as innovative emerging technologies, ensuring that business, accounting and finance graduates are future-proof and Industry 4.0-ready as well.

Industrial-grade infrastructure available at APU allows students to be exposed to real-time data and scenarios, training them to become competent technology professionals even before they graduate. For instance, the first-of-its-kind APU CyberSecurity Talent Zone features military-grade real-time cybersecurity monitoring software at the full-fledged Cyber Threats Simulation and Response Centre and Security Operations Centre, providing them real-life exposure and practical experience. Learning at APU is no longer confined within the classroom in the era of Industry 4.0, as one’s practical knowledge becomes as significant as academic and theoretical knowledge.

Industrial-grade infrastructure at APU allows students to undergo a practical learning experience.

APU’s industrial partnerships with innovative accelerators such as GrowthX Academy and Supercharger further enhances the platform for students to realise their world-changing ideas. The formula has proven to be a success, as APU students have been well-recognised through their victories in national and international level competitions organised by major industry players, such as FAMELab, Intel-CREST Industry-University Challenge, NASA Space Apps Challenge, World Asian Business Case Competition, SAS FinTech Challenge and many more. Under this formula, over 40,000 alumni are employed globally in reputable multi-national companies such as Accenture, HP, IBM, Huawei Technologies, Astro, Maybank, Standard Chartered and many more.

On March 23 (Saturday), APU will be organising a series of Industry & Career Seminars, where industry experts from the fields of Cyber Security, Actuarial Studies, FinTech, Games Development, Design & Visual Effects, Data Science, Engineering and other Industry 4.0-relevant areas will be conducting live seminar sessions to provide exposure on potential job opportunities, skillsets required and the prospects of the relevant industry.

By Pan Eu Joe
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The dawn of a new revolution

Sunday, October 21st, 2018

PRINTING out a kidney from a machine sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie.

But this could soon be our reality, as researchers continually develop 3D printing with living cells.

This is just a taste of how the next industrial revolution will be.

Loosely defined as the blurring of lines between technology and our real world, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) will likely see breakthroughs that will change our lives.

To prepare for what lies ahead, new standards are being drafted by the Department of Standards Malaysia (Standards Malaysia).

Existing standards are also being reviewed to see which can be developed to support the 4IR.

Focus is given to standards affecting seven industries deemed as “pace-setters” in the country – industries where Malaysia has the right skills and know-how to potentially become a leader.

These sectors are automotive, food processing, chemicals, petroleum and pharmaceuticals, electrical and electronics, financial services, telecommunications and courier services and lastly, IT services.

For starters, 10 new standards will be introduced on blockchain technology, with three expected to be ready next year, Department of Standards Malaysia director-general Datuk Fadilah Baharin tells Sunday Star.

Blockchain, to put simply, is a list of data that cannot be manipulated.

As such, it offers a secure way to trade, reduces costs and distrust, increases security and bypasses middlemen.

It can be used in various areas but today, its main use is as a distributed ledger for cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

Fadilah says the three new standards will define jargons and terminologies in the system and set benchmarks on contracts in the blockchain environment.

The other seven standards are currently being drafted.

“At the moment, there are no rules about blockchain technology in Malaysia.

“Local experts, including from Bank Negara Malaysia, are on board with us to draft these standards,” she says in an interview.

Such standards will prepare Malaysia for the development of cryptocurrencies and other potential areas which may use blockchain technology in future.

Apart from that, present standards on agriculture will also be studied and reviewed.

This is to ensure they are in line with the changing times, including how latest technologies can be part of production in plantations and other commodities.

“The standards are already there. But we need to infuse it with technology,” Fadilah adds.

But while the 4IR is set to be an exciting time, Malaysia does face several challenges which may impede how fast we can adapt to this era.

Fadilah points out that there is still a socio-economic gap between urban and rural areas in the country, with some areas still trailing behind in terms of infrastructure.

Such an imbalance can stand in the way of our country fully embracing 4IR.

“Some places still do not have good quality Internet access.

“Some people also have problems owning a car but elsewhere, others are considering driverless cars and electric cars,” she says.

But perhaps the biggest hurdle to overcome is the people’s mindset.

“Technology is evolving and machines can be modified. But change must first come from within.

“We will lag behind if people do not embrace change and only stick to a fixed mindset,” she adds.

Agreeing, Academy of Sciences Malaysia chief executive officer Hazami Habib says the 4IR is already here in Malaysia but we will fall behind if people do not see beyond boundaries.

Drawing from her personal experience, she says an example of innovative thinking was meeting with a plantation operator who used a drone with a video camera to monitor crops, instead of having workers walk around the whole area.

Such creative thinking, using technology, is needed if Malaysia is to be in tandem with the 4IR.

“To build the right ecosystem, we need the Government, business sector, academics and the civil society to have a mindset that supports growth.

“We need the kind of leadership that encourages innovation,” she says.

She says the seven “pace-setter” industries in Malaysia, outlined by a recent local study, showed that Malaysia has the necessary knowledge and strengths in such areas.

And we should use this to our advantage to launch us forward into the 4IR.

“The most precious commodity in future is knowledge. It is the next currency. As long as we have it, we will stay relevant.

“If we don’t have knowledge and technology, we will keep buying other people’s inventions,” Hazami says.

She also points out that 98% of companies in Malaysia are small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

But it is the remaining 2% companies consisting of government-linked companies and multi-national firms which outperform all the rest.

“The 2% of companies have higher productivity. In the 4IR, we need a collaborative economy with shared vision.

“For example, 10 SMEs can join forces to fill the whole value chain of production to compete with larger companies,” she illustrates.

As for whether the advancements in 4IR like robots will be a threat to human jobs, Hazami sees it as opportunities rather than threats.

“Robots still require humans to maintain them. Robots can process data in seconds but it is humans who analyse the data and give them meaning,” she says.

She also believes Malaysia will have the necessary human capital to face 4IR in its full bloom.

“Semi and high skilled talents are in the pipeline. The Government’s policy of having 60% of students in science disciplines will fulfil requirements of the future.

“The focus on Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) will also ensure Malaysia has the right kind of workers,” she says.

In line with the growing conversation on 4IR, the revolution has become the theme for this year’s World Standards Day, celebrated on Oct 14.

Standards Malaysia, as a member of the International Organisation for Standardisation, is commemorating the event by organising a competition on Instagram which ends on Oct 31.

By Yuen Meikeng
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How it can break big tech’s hold on A.I.

Sunday, October 21st, 2018
PAIRING artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain might be what you would expect from a scammer looking to make a quick buck in 2018.

The two concepts, after all, are two of the most buzzed about and least understood ideas in the tech universe.

The blockchain, the database design introduced by bitcoin, has lately been the most popular route for anyone looking to raise money for an idea that sounds too good to be true.

Despite how easy the combination is to mock, the idea of applying blockchain to AI is attracting a growing roster of serious entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, many of them with impressive academic credentials.

Dawn Song, a computer science professor at the University of California in the United States, and Ben Goertzel, the chief scientist at Hanson Robotics, have been among big names arguing that blockchain can be a crucial way to push back against some of the most worrying trends facing the field of AI.

Many AI experts are concerned that Facebook, Google and other big companies are hoarding talent in the field. The Internet giants also control the massive troves of online data that are necessary to train and refine the best machine learning programmes.

Song, Goertzel and other entrepreneurs believe blockchain can encourage a broader distribution of the data and algorithms that will determine the future development of AI.

The startups working towards this goal are applying blockchains in a number of ways. At the most basic level, just as blockchain allows money to be moved around without any bank or central authority in the middle, AI experts are hoping a blockchain can allow AI networks to access large stores of data without any big company in control of the data or the algorithms

Ben Goertzel, the chief scientist at Hanson Robotics, with the humanoid robot Sophia, an alternative to Amazon’s Alexa, in his office in Hong Kong. He wants Sophia to reach out to other AI providers if she cannot find answers to users’ questions. NYT PIC

Several startups are setting up blockchain-based marketplaces, where people can buy and sell data. Ocean Protocol, a project based in Berlin, Germany, is building the infrastructure so that anyone can set up a marketplace for any kind of data, with the users of data paying the sources with digital tokens.

Unlike Google and Facebook, which store the data they get from users, the marketplaces built on Ocean Protocol will not have the data themselves — they will just be places for people with data to meet, ensuring that no central player can access or exploit the data.

“Blockchains are incentive machines — you can get people to do stuff by paying them,” said Trent McConaghy, one of the founders of Ocean Protocol, who has been working in AI since the 1990s.

Ocean Protocol is working with several automakers to collect data from cars to create the AI of autonomous cars. All the automakers are expected to share data so none of them have a monopoly over it.

Another startup, Revel, will pay people to collect the data that companies are looking for, like pictures of taxis or recordings of a particular language. Users can let their phones and computers be used to process and categorise the images and sounds — all in exchange for digital tokens. Over a thousand people have already put their computers to work.

These sorts of marketplaces are only the outer layer of the blockchain-based systems that are being built to handle AI data.

One of the biggest concerns that people have about the data being collected by Google and Facebook is the access it gives these companies to the most private details of our lives.

Song is working on a block-chain, known as Oasis, that will use advanced techniques to secure the data being bought and sold, so that no one — not even the company using the data — will get a copy of it.

In the Oasis network, all data moving through the system will be locked into encrypted bundles. Researchers will be able to run the data through their machine learning algorithms — and prove that the calculations were done correctly — without actually seeing the underlying data.

Other startups are using blockchains to open access to the AI models themselves. Goertzel has created SingularityNET, a blockchain that will serve as a link among AI services around the world. If one AI module is unable to come up with an answer, it can consult with others and provide compensation if one of the other modules is able to get it right.


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Teachers play challenging role in nurturing future generations – CM

Monday, October 8th, 2018

Mohammad (second right) presenting an award to a student participant, witnessed by Maimunah (third left).

KOTA KINABALU: Teachers nowadays play a more challenging role in nurturing a future generation that meets the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0).

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said the government was undergoing a paradigm shift by improving and upgrading the national education sector.

“The government plans and executes numerous policies as well as programmes to transform the national education system so that it remains relevant with current demands and is sustainable with quality education.

“This is in line with one of the National Key Result Areas (NKRA), which is to widen the access to quality and affordable education,” he said at the closing ceremony of Karnival Pamer Keunggulan 2018 by the Sabah State Education Department here, yesterday.

His speech was delivered by Assistant Education and Innovation Minister Mohammad Mohamarin.

Nonetheless, Shafie reminded that all parties must understand that realising the goal was not easy and the results from it were not instant, but requires appropriate timing.

He then commended the State Education Department for organising the carnival as an initiative to revolutionise education.

“Congratulations to the State Education Department for making this programme a success, where students’ achievements in various aspects are displayed.

“In an era of taking up the challenge of a democratic education, we can only be open towards accepting prospects,” he said.

According to Shafie, the programme was meant as a platform to share experiences and successes of students so as to continue the legacy of excellence among Sabahan children.

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4IR — a continuum of events

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2018
The steam engine, invented some 250 years ago, powered the First Industrial Revolution. It is dubbed by economic historians as a ‘general purpose technology’. PIC BY REUTERS PIC

THAT the world is enthralled by what is in store for the future with the rise of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is an understatement.

Ever since the concept of the 4IR became a catchphrase for the next “big” thing, the global trendsetters are peddling it as a panacea that can cure most of the ills that humanity is currently grappling with. What is more, the technopreneurs are saying that the fusion of digital revolution and biotechnology will change the world like never before.

After being lulled into accepting that technological progress is the only way forward, we forget that we will lose our humanity along the way.

This is partly due to the fact that with technological change, social and cultural norms will have to evolve; some of those norms will then be codified into a body of regulatory law. This is most evident when the First Industrial Revolution took the world by storm.

An unprecedented social, cultural, economic and ecological change took place alongside the First Industrial Revolution: mass urbanisation, significant increase in the educational attainment of the population, role of the state and in how governments are chosen, child labour, and ecological crisis were not simply the negative and positive externalities of technological change, but were ways in which society evolved in order to enable the productivity possibilities of the new technologies.

In his illuminating new book, Tan Sri Dzulkifli Abdul Razak lays bare the contradictions of how humanity is dealing with technological change.

In the Fourth Industrial Revolution: The Leadership Dilemma, the writer acknowledges that the world is changing fast, and in unexpected ways. He rightly points out that with rapid advancement in information technology, huge swathes of the job market are at risk of being automated.

This book is a rarity in the discourse on 4IR because unlike the mainstream narrative, it cautions the reader to assess technological change with a keen eye on what it does to humanity.

Dzulkifli argues that there are three “leadership” dilemmas that have to be wisely dealt with before a successful policy on the 4IR can be formulated. The first dilemma has to do with whether or not the 4IR is an isolated phenomena or it is a continuum of events.

We would do well, according to the author, to conceptualise the 4IR as a continuum of events as we have to understand the interconnectedness of the 4IR to the first, second, and third industrial revolutions.

What were the factors that triggered the First Industrial Revolution in Europe some 250 years ago? How did European society deal with the disruptions? These are some of the important questions that need a well thought-out answer before we can embark on the 4IR superhighway.

The invention of the steam engine during the First Industrial Revolution, for example, is dubbed by economic historians as a “general purpose technology” — an advance that can be used to do things more effectively across many different facets of life.

A steam engine could be hooked to any production facility that previously relied on wind or water or animal power. It could be affixed to transport devices — boats, cars, train engines to make them go farther, faster, with more horsepower.

Steam could be used to boost productivity in all sorts of contexts and industries. It is the general purpose technologies such as steam and electricity that generate revolutions.

What is of importance, Dzulkifli cautions, is to take a holistic view of the previous industrial revolutions and take stock of both the good and the ugly. Many of the negative externalities of the previous revolutions such as the ecological crisis are still not dealt with successfully.

Will 4IR be able to deal with a host of problems brought about by the previous industrial revolutions or will it exacerbate the problems?

The second leadership dilemma is even more pressing. With the change in technology, are we moving away from anthropocentrism to technocentrism? The First Industrial Revolution had ushered in the anthropocentrism era largely due to heightened human activities.

Put in another way, the ability to “tame” nature had placed humanity at the centre of the universe. That said, we should also note, according to the author, that anthropocentrism had caused immeasurable damage in the guise of species extinction and in widening the wealth gap between the top one per cent and the rest.

In addition, the emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) will bring anthropocentrism to a new low. Since STEM is already dehumanising, 4IR has to be properly navigated so that it will not bring about the new era of technocentrism, which will surely relegate humanity to the backburner.

The final dilemma is the tug of war between artificial intelligence (AI) and primordial intelligence. Will the rise of AI bring about the end of “free will” as we know it? Will it also bring about the dictatorship of the machines?

By Dr Azeem Fazwan Ahmad Farouk.

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Malaysia National Industry 4.0 Policy Framework

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry has published the National Industry 4.0 Policy Framework Draft and now open for public consultation (Duration: Feb. 12, 2018 – March 2, 2018).

I believed with the brains of various contributing organizations (government agencies, universities, Associations, Industry, etc), MITI has managed to collectively gather all the relevant and necessary inputs. Except that I noticed they did not consult Startups for whatever unknown reasons since I believed Startups have their own vision too. In fact, Startups looks at the world differently from the bigger conglomerates.

Also, take note that the Industry 4.0 Policy Framework only focused on the Manufacturing sector. Thus, the definition 4.0 takes into the progress and impact of manufacturing sector due to the advancement of technologies. Previously there’s an argument about the differences between the terms 4th Industrial Revolution and Industry 4.0. Personally, I felt limiting ourselves to the lower part of the value-chain (manufacturing), will also limit ourselves to transform our Nation into totally digital (digital lifestyle).

Framework is one thing, but the most important success factor after this will be the execution of the Framework by the respective parties (Government, Public, Private or Universities, etc)

Below are my personal public comments (will upload this comment to the MITI website later):

  1. Talent Development – It’s difficult for a Nation to move forward without enough talent pool. We can depend on foreign expertise only when we don’t have enough talent locally. But have we done enough? How do expedite the process of approving new Courses or revamping old syllabus in the Universities?
  2. Buy Local Attitude – We must ensure a balance between importing technology and using local technology. Local companies can’t immediately go global if they are not given a chance to prove locally. To encourage the growth of Startups that are key to becoming job creators, we must support them in providing the necessary trust and environment to proof their technology are also at par or better than the overseas.
  3. Digital Transformation Mindset – If your company doesn’t have Internet, not many or none of the younger generation wants to work there simply because the current generation is tech savvy. It’s about time, the “older” generation take a bold step forward and become tech-savvy themselves. We didn’t realize that having an Internet access and IT database are actually prerequisites to Industry 3.0. Ask ourselves, are we already in Industry 3.0 before stepping towards 4.0? If yes, how big is the gap between rural and urban in this digital transformation?
  4. Impact of Industry Integration to Policy Making – Remember UBER and how we react towards them? Remember motorcycle-sharing Dego and how we react towards them? Who will regulate a driverless taxi? What happens when a Taxi can fly? All of these disrupt the current business and need a new way of regulating them. We need to be fast. Thus, we must have trials as early as possible to see the impact of public usage and government regulations. In future, Insurance and Transportation or Insurance and Home or Health will be merged as an Outcome-based economy rather than the product-based economy. How flexible are we in handling this inevitable business merger?

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Education Industry in 2018 at a Glance

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

The educational services market is large and growing with multiple types of opportunities available for franchisees. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 100k establishments in the private Education Service industry; almost 200k when including local, state and federal government institutions; combined this industry employs over 3.5 million people. On the private side, the industry is largely fragmented – the fifty largest companies represent just 30% of the total revenue in the industry.

Last year there were 55 million students attending school in grades K-12, all of whom are potential clients for educational services. However, franchise opportunities in the educational services industry are not limited to tutoring school age kids in subjects like math and science – opportunities abound in childcare and early education, career education, art, dance, adult language, test preparation and even driving.

Industry Overview

The vast majority of revenue in this industry comes from tuition or program fees. Gross profits tend to range from 60-90% depending on geographical location and subject matter, and net profit averages out to between 2-10%.

As companies within the industry have grown they have realized some benefits to scale – lower fixed costs and greater operational efficiency; however with that growth has often come a difficulty finding qualified instructors. If considering franchising in this sector it is important to understand the demographics and potential fit in your local hiring pool.

Online training resources, programs and even mobile apps have traditionally been seen as challenges to the industry, but in recent years successful educational service providers have found ways to leverage this technology to their great benefit. Not only are these tools helping students learn in new and exciting ways, but they are helping providers manage students, administrative functions and source material distribution more efficiently.

The growth in this industry is in part attributed to the growing global competitive landscape for higher education, but also for greater recognition of the value of trade schools. Many folks are realizing that the cost of a college education can saddle a person for life – and are opting to skip college, learn a trade and start making money faster and with less debt.

Tutoring and Child Education

Tutoring in the US is a $7 billion dollar industry and a popular franchise option, either based out of the home or at an on-site location. The home-based model employs the franchisee as a broker who acts as an intermediary between educators that provide tutoring and students needing instruction in any number of subjects. Examples of this model include Club Z Tutoringand Creative. Interesting for those considering opportunities in this sector: brokering franchisees of this type do not need to have prior experience in education.

The on-site location based model involves the franchisee having a center at which kids come to be tutored or take classes. In addition to subjects like math and writing, these franchises will also often offer standardized test preparation. Two franchises with this model are Kumon and Huntington Learning Center. The disadvantage of this model relative to the home-based model is that, because it requires real estate, it is more expensive to start.

Some franchises are geared towards younger children and provide a combination of child care and education. It’s estimated that 11 million children under the age of 5 spend at least 35 hours/week in childcare, and there is a growing recognition that early childhood education is immensely important and provides lifelong benefits. Child care is a growing field and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the industry will have some of the fastest employment growth through 2020. In addition to standard child care during the work day, these franchises often also provide after school programs. Child care franchises include Primrose Schools and Rainbow Station.

Artistic Education.

Some franchises instruct children in subjects such as music or painting. Similar to the options in tutoring, some of these are home-based – the franchisee for, say, Virtuoso Music, manages the music instructors and matches them up with students eager to learn.

Adult Educational Services.

Educational franchises aren’t just for the young. Estimates say that there are about 30 million US residents without a high school diploma, and 20% of the adult population has only basic literacy skills. There are various types of franchises designed to teach or train adults either in GED programs, occupational training, language and more.

Franchises are also available to help teach adults business skills – teaching salesmen better sales techniques (such as Sandler Training) or passing on organizational and leadership skills (such as Crestcom); there are also franchises designed to teach financial planning, both for business and personal finance.

911 Driving School teaches defensive driving, license certification, and more.

Other franchises focus on recreational activities, such as dancing or cooking (Fred Astaire Dance StudioViva the Chef). This field of leisure education is a multi-billion dollar industry driven by individuals’ desires to learn new skills and abilities. But these businesses do tend to be more susceptible to economic downturns as they are more closely tied to personal income than other adult education options.

Franchises can also serve as jumping off points for people looking to enter new industries and learn about new careers. For example, there are franchises to train and certify an individual to become a medical technician. There are others that teach financial trading – stocks, options, futures and more.

The advantage of franchising in the educational services area is that the franchisee has access not only to the positive reputation and brand name enjoyed by these franchises, but also to time-tested educational systems. It allows franchisees to have a role in education without needing the qualifications or skills to be a teacher him or herself.

In addition, working with a large company offers potential marketing advantages not available to a smaller company. Purchasing an education franchise is a great way to succeed financially while also making a positive impact on the community.

by Matt Sena, who is a writer and researcher, a co-founder, a former portfolio manager,

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Education 4.0 … the future of learning will be dramatically different, in school and throughout life.

Saturday, September 22nd, 2018

Global connectivity, smart machines, and new media are just some of the drivers reshaping how we think about work, what constitutes work, and how we learn and develop the skills to work in the future. The concept of a “100 year life” becoming the norm, and the majority of that spent studying and working, means that learning will be a lot more important, and different, for the next generations. Most people will have at least 6 different careers, requiring fundamental reeducating, whilst the relentless speed of innovation will constantly demand new skills and knowledge to keep pace, let alone an edge.

I recently delivered a keynote on “Changing the Game of Education” … a vision for the future of education, from schools to lifelong learning … how it will evolve, the drivers, inspirations and what will matter most.

Educationalists debate the many ways in which the content of education – at all levels – and the process of learning, will need to change over the years ahead. Disruptive innovation guru Clay Christiansen, for example, points to the dramatic unbundling of education from its current forms so that it can be personalised, repackaging, peer to peer and continuous. Whether it is classroom or workplace, online or offline, structured or unstructured, taught or learnt, standardised or not, certificated or not, then learning is likely to break free from our old mindsets in the coming years.

“Education 4.0” is my vision for the future of education, which

  • responds to the needs of “industry 4.0” or the fourth industrial revolution, where man and machine align to enable new possibilities
  • harnesses the potential of digital technologies, personalised data, open sourced content, and the new humanity of this globally-connected, technology-fueled world
  • establishes a blueprint for the future of learning – lifelong learning – from childhood schooling, to continuous learning  in the workplace, to learning to play a better role in society.


“Changing the game” is all about redefining the way an activity works. In general, its about

  • who are the companies right now who are reshaping their industries, challenging the old rules and creating new ones, new ways of working, new ways of winning
  • in my Gamechangers book I explored 100 of them – they are audacious, harnessing the power of ideas and networks to be intelligent, collaborative, and enabling people to achieve more.
  • taking the principles of how these companies change the game – how can we apply that to the world of education?


“The future of education” is therefore a new vision for learning, starting right now

  • more important to know why you need something, a knowledge or skill, and then where to find it – rather than cramming your head full … don’t try to learn everything!
  • built around each individual, their personal choice of where and how to learn, and tracking of performance through data-based customisation … whatever sits you
  • learning together and from each other – peer to peer learning will dominate, teachers more as facilitators, of communities built around shared learning and aspiration


Among the many discussions, innovations and general shifts in the world of learning – from school children to business executive – there are 9 trends that stand out:

  1. Diverse time and place.
    Students will have more opportunities to learn at different times in different places. eLearning tools facilitate opportunities for remote, self-paced learning. Classrooms will be flipped, which means the theoretical part is learned outside the classroom, whereas the practical part shall be taught face to face, interactively.
  2. Personalized learning.
    Students will learn with study tools that adapt to the capabilities of a student. This means above average students shall be challenged with harder tasks and questions when a certain level is achieved. Students who experience difficulties with a subject will get the opportunity to practice more until they reach the required level. Students will be positively reinforced during their individual learning processes. This can result in to positive learning experiences and will diminish the amount of students losing confidence about their academic abilities. Furthermore, teachers will be able to see clearly which students need help in which areas.
  3. Free choice.
    Though every subject that is taught aims for the same destination, the road leading towards that destination can vary per student. Similarly to the personalized learning experience, students will be able to modify their learning process with tools they feel are necessary for them. Students will learn with different devices, different programs and techniques based on their own preference. Blended learning, flipped classrooms and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) form important terminology within this change.
  4. Project based.
    As careers are adapting to the future freelance economy, students of today will adapt to project based learning and working. This means they have to learn how to apply their skills in shorter terms to a variety of situations. Students should already get acquainted with project based learning in high school. This is when organizational, collaborative, and time management skills can be taught as basics that every student can use in their further academic careers.
  5. Field experience.
    Because technology can facilitate more efficiency in certain domains, curricula will make room for skills that solely require human knowledge and face-to-face interaction. Thus, experience in ‘the field’ will be emphasized within courses. Schools will provide more opportunities for students to obtain real-world skills that are representative to their jobs. This means curricula will create more room for students to fulfill internships, mentoring projects and collaboration projects (e.g.).
  6. Data interpretation.
    Though mathematics is considered one of three literacies, it is without a doubt that the manual part of this literacy will become irrelevant in the near future. Computers will soon take care of every statistical analysis, and describe and analyse data and predict future trends. Therefore, the human interpretation of these data will become a much more important part of the future curricula. Applying the theoretical knowledge to numbers, and using human reasoning to infer logic and trends from these data will become a fundamental new aspect of this literacy.
  7. Exams will change completely.
    As courseware platforms will assess students capabilities at each step, measuring their competencies through Q&A might become irrelevant, or might not suffice. Many argue that exams are now designed in such a way, that students cram their materials, and forget the next day. Educators worry that exams might not validly measure what students should be capable of when they enter their first job. As the factual knowledge of a student can be measured during their learning process, the application of their knowledge is best tested when they work on projects in the field.
  8. Student ownership.
    Students will become more and more involved in forming their curricula. Maintaining a curriculum that is contemporary, up-to-date and useful is only realistic when professionals as well as ‘youngsters’ are involved. Critical input from students on the content and durability of their courses is a must for an all-embracing study program.
  9. Mentoring will become more important.
    In 20 years, students will incorporate so much independence in to their learning process, that mentoring will become fundamental to student success. Teachers will form a central point in the jungle of information that our students will be paving their way through. Though the future of education seems remote, the teacher and educational institution are vital to academic performance.

These are exciting, provocative and potentially far-reaching challenges. For individuals and society, new educational tools and resources hold the promise of empowering individuals to develop a fuller array of competencies, skills and knowledge and of unleashing their creative potential.

Indeed, many of the changes underway call to mind the evocative words of Irish poet William Butler Yeats that, “Education is not about filling a bucket but lighting a fire.”

Technology has become integrated into virtually every aspect of work. And because we spend so much time working, work really is the place where we most directly feel the impact of developing technologies. From collaboration to productivity; from new ways of approaching workspace design to the increasing ability to work from virtually anywhere; and from hiring and recruitment to new skill sets—it is a time of experimentation for companies and organizations as trends in technology converge to change what it means to work.


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