The 4th industrial revolution and the State leader’s concern

Sunday, 2017-01-29 12:34:23
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President Tran Dai Quang met with Nobel prize winners and international scientists at the 12th “Meeting Vietnam” event in 2016. Photo: Nhan Sang
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NDO - In many regional and global events, as well as during meetings with scientists, businessmen, youth and students, President Tran Dai Quang always stressed the opportunities and challenges of the 4th industrial revolution.

It is not coincidence that the new term, the “4th industrial revolution”, or “industrial 4.0”, has grabbed the attention of the State leaders. The development of human kind over the past three decades has been influenced by the industrial revolution. The first revolution took place from the 18th century with achievements in mechanisation and the steam engine. The second revolution appeared at the end of the 19th century with the invention of electricity engine and assembly lines for mass production. The third revolution started in the 1970’s, typified by electrical appliances and information technology for automation of production. The fourth revolution is that of technology to wipe the barriers between physics, digital technology and biology, the combination of reality and virtual reality, and thus can result in major changes to the economy, society and the environment at all levels, from the global to the regional and the national situation.The topic of “Mastering the 4th industrial revolution” has been one of the topics at the Davos Global Economic Forum, one of the biggest global forums in early 2016.

Grabbing opportunities and responding to challenges of this revolution require all countries and communities to join hands. Speaking to a variety of academics and researchers at the Singapore Lecture 38 during his visit to Singapore, President Tran Dai Quang stressed that the world was entering a new industrial revolution, that of the Internet of Things, new materials, automation and in the near future would be artificial intelligence. This will be a challenge, requiring major efforts, especially for developing countries like Vietnam. But this is not a zero sum game, it is an opportunity for sharing, cooperation and development. Non-traditional risks, especially virtual war, migration, water security, energy security, food security, environmental pollution, climate change, and so on, are detrimental to human kind and assets, more than any war and no single country can handle them.

The continuous applause showed the sympathy of the Singaporean academia toward concerns shared by the Vietnamese State leader.

Representing thousands of corporations, companies and economic leaders attending the 24th Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum in Peru also agreed with the statement by the State leader that the 4th industrial revolution and the strong commitment to the new global agenda for sustainable development, and the new climate change agreement are generating new momentum for quality growth. The focus for the coming years should be to promote economic restructuring toward sustainability, inclusiveness and equity. Priorities should be paid to labour productivity, ensuring food security, natural resources security, especially water resources and clean energy, high quality human resources development, competitiveness and the innovation of enterprises, especially micro, small and medium enterprises.

At the opening ceremony of the Francophone Summit in Madagascar in 2016, President Tran Dai Quang called on the Francophone community to cooperate with the international community to build a new world order with more equity, to promote economic growth models based on inclusiveness and equality, to take advantage of opportunities brought about by the 4th industrial revolution, to create jobs and reduce inequality, and to promote the role of women and the youth. The President noted that in this changing world, no country, big or small, rich or poor, can single handedly cope with traditional and non-traditional security challenges, and there is a need for unity and close cooperation among Francophone countries and the global community.

Talking to students and lecturers at the Ho Chi Minh National University at the opening ceremony of the 2016 school year, President Tran Dai Quang said that the pace of the 4th industrial revolution is unprecedented. Thanks to connectivity by mobile devices and access to big data, information processing skills will be multiplied by technology breakthrough in many areas. This revolution changes the foundation of how people produce goods, thus creating a revolution on the management of production-value chain. The width and depth of these changes signal a strong evolution of the production, management and governance system of human kind.

Our country is speeding up the process of modernization and industrialisation, as well as integration. Thus the 4th industrial revolution is having strong impacts on Vietnam, both positive and negative. The President gave the example of the strong impact on our simple skill labor force due to the changes in automation in developing countries. According to the latest report by the International Labor organisation, announced in July 2016, 86% of Vietnam’s labor in textile and garment may lose jobs due to the technological breakthroughs from the 4th industrial revolution.

From the view of a veteran security official, President Tran Dai Quang understands the challenges, especially nontraditional security challenges, including challenges faced in information, online content, economics, water recourses, food, energy security, transnational crime, and high tech crime, brought about by the 4th industrial revolution. Vietnam is among the leading countries in terms of internet development, with a high number of people using mobile phones. Hostile forces have been using the communications network and internet to destroy internal ideology and trigger demonstration to overthrow the government and the political regime. There have been thousands of web pages created publishing false and misleading content regarding the country. Online intelligence and crimes have become more complicated, and caused serious consequences. The national information system, especially those from important agencies, will continue to be the target of foreign hackers, and the risk of losing security and state secrets will be more serious without effective prevention.

Making full use of the 4th industrial revolution and overcoming challenges, Vietnam can reduce the gap with advanced countries and move toward being an industrialized country. On the other hand, without a proper strategy through education – training, economic restructure, the pressure on Vietnam’s development will be higher. During talks with reporters, President Tran Dai Quang always noted that they should make people understand that intellectuality is needed to cope with the challenges from the 4th industrial revolution. To be intellectual, especially when dealing with new knowledge, we need to pay attention to science, education and training. The history of all developed countries is attached to the development of science, technology, education and training. To build up and develop Vietnam’s intellectual resources in this industrial revolution, there are many tasks and works, and the most important one is raising the quality of education and training, because it directly affects the country’s sustainable development and is a firm basis to make science and technology serve the country and its people.


“Because of the war and our historical circumstances, Vietnam did not have the opportunity to access the 3rd industrial revolution. Therefore, as the world starts its 4th industrial revolution, it is an opportunity that Vietnam has been waiting for 30 years to take advantage of, to advance to new industry, to make use of science and technology to further speed up our industrialisation and modernisation to narrow the development gap”.
President Tran Dai Quang

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