MENA Region’s Millennials Expect Fourth Industrial Revolution to Bring Massive Disruption to Work, Life

Published
12 Nov 2017
2017
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· A World Economic Forum Survey of young people from across the Middle East and North Africa finds that over half expect that technological change will have a significant impact on their career in the next 10 years.

· Millennials in the region also feel that education has the most to gain from being shaken up by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, along with energy, healthcare and government.

· Find more information about the Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils here: https://wef.ch/gfc17

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 12 November 2017 – Young people in the Middle East and North Africa expect the Fourth Industrial Revolution to have a significant impact on their working and daily lives, while many are comfortable about living in a future where robots work and exist alongside humans, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Shaper Survey 2017.

According to the survey, which polled over 1,600 people between the ages of 18 and 35, 58% of MENA youth expect to experience significant changes to their jobs and careers as a result of technological change, and 52% believe that studying and learning will be similarly affected. Meanwhile, 28% expect the Fourth Industrial Revolution to have a significant impact on their relationships and 15% think it will have an impact on their leisure activities.

As for areas of life ripe for being shaken up by the oncoming technological shift, respondents consider education to have the most to gain of any sector, followed by energy and healthcare (both 12.5%), and government (11%).

As attitudes about technological change continue to shift, so too are attitudes towards living in a future alongside robots and augmented humans. Twenty-three per cent of respondents either agree or strongly agree that they would trust a decision made by a robot on their behalf. As to whether they would be willing to have an implant under their skin or in their brain to increase their capabilities, 21% said that they would.

In a sign that perhaps more needs to be done in the region to improve levels of digital literacy, 24% of respondents said that they had shared a news article on the internet or social media that they later learned was fake, with a further 17% admitting that they probably had done so without realizing it, and another 3% saying they were not sure.

Many of the questions asked in the survey, which was first published as a global study in August 2017, are the topic of discussions and workshops at the Annual Meeting of the Global Future Councils 2017, taking place on 11-12 November in Dubai. Council members are grappling with two challenges in particular: how to redesign labour markets that support inclusive societies in an age where intelligent machines are increasingly present in the workplace; and how to protect and empower societies in a world where ubiquitous information is the norm.

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All opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Economic Forum Blog is an independent and neutral platform dedicated to generating debate around the key topics that shape global, regional and industry agendas.