Shoshin: 4th Industrial Revolution

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Shoshin (初心) is a word from Zen Buddhism meaning “beginner’s mind.” It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner would. I get a sense of wonder when I come across how technology is impacting our lives. My attempt is to share the learnings on technology and share it under this subheading Shoshin within po10shall. The way we can Actuate our Po10shall is to become aware of the technology impacts and leverage it to make our lives better.

In the series of blogs, I will cover three perspectives.

  • What I heard saw and captured? 
  • What I read and Understood?
  • What I experienced and learned 

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Last week’s tweet by Anand Mahindra was an internet hit. This tweet got me thinking at two levels. One how car companies are moving to electrification and second as a consumer what is the new normal? Is it mileage or something else?. It brought memories of Henry Ford’s offer on the choice of colors way back during the second part of the Industrial revolution where mass production had entered the scene. It was about production and consumption.

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Today I guess we are moving from mass production to tailor-made product. Talking about the Industrial Revolution I picked up a book titled “Fourth Industrial Revolution” by Klaus Schwab. While I am still on the 20th page there are some great insights from the book. He organizes into three clusters Physical, Digital and Biological. All the three are deeply interrelated.

  • Physical – Autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, advanced robotics, and new materials
  • Digital – Internet of all things or IOT
  • Biological – Genetics

A few weeks back when I was watching Klaus Schwab’s interview and he mentions that “changes are just not happening, change has to be shaped”.From production and consumption narrative we move to have a sharing and caring narrative.

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Over the weekend I was in a cafe for 45mins. I go to this chain of coffee shops very often and yet they asked me for my name and phone number. I ordered a hot chocolate and the lady was trying to push me to go for combo or take some additional cookies. The very reason they did not recognize was a put-off and hence even though I was a little hungry, I did not go for the combo. I noticed that the person serving the coffee was not cheerful and was displaying a lack of joy. I wondered if technology could have made an impact.

I was in a storytelling session and in that there was a sci-fi story. The story is set in the year 3025. Our life spans have been lengthened. Our average life is around 200yrs. By that time we have colonized Mars and our friends are from another solar system. Time Magazine has just delivered the Jupiter edition. We have mind mails and as per futurology, we are the internet. As the larger world has come out of war and strife thanks to nuclear and chemical wars but inhabitants are yearning for Solitude and Silence. The order for “manufacturing of silence cubes” has been placed on a  firm. They are unable to meet the demand because moonlight is in short supply. It was a great experience imagining and storyteller Pramod did a wonderful job of giving us that immersive experience. I was thinking about what the next form of storytelling would look like with technologies around us.

On my way back I hired an Uber. As the car was approaching my apartment, I heard multiple beeps on his phone. I asked him, what was that beep for? He replied that it was for the next ride and that he was not interested as it was already late and he had already completed his quota of rides for the day. How can this app company care more about this driver?

These three experiences made me look at how we could use technology to aid and care to create a different experience. First, the coffee chain can use what banks use, how they mark out HNI’s(High Networth Individuals) through apps and beacons (sensors) when they enter their premises if they do it. The second storyteller of sci-fi can transport us using AR(Augmented reality)/ VR (Virtual reality) devices into a scene in real time so that we can experience being there. Finally, the ride-hailing company, apart from pushing the callS, can use intuitive technology ( (I hear about Watson and ilks ) to gauge the driver’s state of mind, fatigue factor, and his past trends of rides and decide not to push for the next ride.

I guess that is what a caring economy looks like from my perspective.

The leadership of tomorrow needs to be ready to “upskill and app skill” ourselves to leverage the benefits of this new digital power and actuate our po10shall.

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3 comments

  1. Hmmmm, really good ‘technology in consumer business’ narrative, Vinod!!! Amongst the 4 ingredients of Leadership mentioned by Schwab, the first n last are normally always there – you have captured the middle two very practically! Loved it!

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  2. Interesting read Vinod!
    Technology can do lot more OR rather humans can leverage technology for better use-cases.
    I was going through a course on AI and the speaker made a good point. He says the innovation has been in the area of ANI (Artificial Narrow Intelligence) which are things like self-driving cars, AI in farming, etc. and not much on AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) which can mimic humans/do anything that humans can do.

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