Ep 101 – How the Fourth Transformation Impacts the Workplace

Workplace Transformation, transformation, workplace,

While we’re all pontificating about the future of technology and its application in the workplace, there is no person more informed about technology than Robert Scoble. As a technologist and journalist, he truly has a unique point of view in how tech will impact us as consumers, whether it be business to consumer or business to business, at the dawn of what he calls “the fourth transformation.” Robert and the co-author of their new book, The Fourth Transformation conducted hundreds of interviews and product demos to share with us just how this technology will impact our lives personally and professionally.

Robert sits down with me in this episode of the Workology Podcast to give us insights into the application of technology in our offices whether virtual or in person.

Episode 101: How the Fourth Transformation Changes the Workplace with Robert Scoble (@scobelizer)

Robert walks us through a number of use cases for a variety of fourth transformation technology, but first it’s important to understand what the fourth transformation actually is.

The Evolution of Technology and the Fourth Transformation

The word transformation as Robert mentions is used interchangeably with paradigm shift. These paradigm shifts, or transformations, are centered around technology. Each paradigm shift signifies a major change or evolution in technology. The first transformation happened when people started using text characters to talk directly with computers in the 1970’s. The second was the creation of the GUI and the Apple Macintosh in 1984. The third came in 2007 with the iPhone. We have entered the beginning of the fourth transformation, where technology moves from what we carry to what we wear.

Bold Predictions: AR, Wearables, Robots and More

Robert’s enthusiasm and passion for technology is easy to see and hear, but in this podcast interview you can hear it in his voice as he describes the future of technology including mixed reality, automated related, wearables, robots and autonomous vehicles. Robert walks us through the differences between augmented reality (AR) versus mixed reality, and he shares with me some ways in which fourth transformation technology is already impacting our lives, like autonomous cars and the idea that robots will be driving us and not humans as part of our day to day.

A recent video from a Telsa’s Model S demonstrates how autopilot technology can save lives. The video below shows the Model S avoiding a wreck by going into autopilot mode.

Technology like you see above with the Telsa autopilot technology is easy to apply in the workplace. Two of the industries that will be impacted first, says Robert, are taxis and trucking. He shares that mixed reality, in particular those weird goggles many gamers are donning, can be used for learning, training and instruction. In fact, Robert thinks that AR and MR technology will allow employees to have realistic virtual meetings, reducing travel expenses. Employees can work and meet in a consistent environment complete with virtual projector screens and white boards to brainstorm ideas and build project plans for your business — remotely.

Throughout the podcast interview, Robert shares some examples of how this is already being used in the workplace. Employees at Boeing are able to see detailed and real time instruction on how to repair aircraft to that are specific to their immediate needs. Car companies can now design as well as test their new designs used augmented reality.

Are Robots Taking Jobs? Here’s What To Do

There’s been a lot of conversation and talk about the future of robots in the workforce and if they will eliminate or “take” our jobs. Robert says, yes, robots will take our jobs. Jobs and the workplace will be changed. He recommends individuals and also children become as familiar as possible with different technology and learn as many advanced skills as possible in different specialities.

Be sure to listen to the podcast to get more insights from Robert.

Connect with Robert on LinkedIn and Facebook.


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*A special thank you to my production team at Total Picture Radio.

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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