The technologies of the 4th Industrial Revolution (e.g. Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain and the Internet of Things, among others) are rapidly becoming mainstreamed, enabling transformation of entire systems and networks. Widespread change can be seen across companies, industries, countries and society as a whole. These profound shifts, touching nearly every sector, from incumbents being disrupted to entirely new 4IR-enabled business models, are creating new markets at an expedited speed and scale.
For all the potential that these technologies offer, however, they could also put greater stress on the Earth, its resources, and on our society. We should ensure, therefore, that these technologies are harnessed in the right way, to fulfill their potential to revolutionize our world, transform the lives of people, and unlock new pathways to prosperity - fast-tracking sustainable development globally.
PwC is a knowledge partner to the World Economic Forum’s 2030 Vision initiative on how and where emerging technologies could tackle some of the world’s most pressing environmental, economic and social challenges, under the umbrella of the The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the accompanying 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This will include how to accelerate and scale 4IR for these goals as we embark on the decade of action to 2030. Our insight report with WEF launched at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos and looks in detail at the new technologies that can help meet the SDGs.
Through research, analysis and interviews with a range of stakeholders at the forefront of applying 4IR technologies across industry, technology firms and research, PwC has mapped over 300 technology applications across the Global Goals. This provides both public and private stakeholders with a broad understanding of technology applications that are currently being deployed to tackle the Global Goals - which they can use to help guide investment decisions, R&D efforts and technology governance.
PwC has identified some of the most prominent 4IR applications that are being implemented in practice today for each of the Global Goals.
Both public and private stakeholders are critical to realise the full potential of the 4IR - without action from both, technology will not be scaled to achieve the Global Goals. Business as usual is not an option: choosing to “wait and see” will put impossible environmental and social strains on people and our planet. PwC works with both businesses and governments to help enable sustainable scaling of technology.