Vietnam unprepared for imminent 4th Industrial Revolution: experts

By Nguyen Ha   March 27, 2018 | 11:12 pm PT
Vietnam unprepared for imminent 4th Industrial Revolution: experts
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is inevitable and Vietnam isn't ready for it. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Huyen
'For businesses to stay competitive, they need to adapt or die.'

The next Industrial Revolution will upend society as we know it and Vietnam is not adequately equipped to ride the upcoming waves of technological convergence, said experts at a conference held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in Hanoi on Monday.

Pham Quang Ngoc, a Vietnamese expert in economics and job markets, said local businesses were unaware of what the Fourth Revolution entailed and its possible implications on society. He cited the World Economic Forum (WEF), saying how Vietnam was named among the countries least prepared for the 4.0 Revolution.

Ngoc also emphasized the importance of technological innovation for businesses. “The future isn’t bright for manufacturers who can’t upgrade their technologies. Cheap labor just won’t cut it anymore,” he stated.

Le Anh Vinh, vice director of the Vietnam Institute of Educational Sciences, said automation replacing the average worker is highly likely, even in the most developed nations. Citing data from the International Labor Organization, he said cities like New York, Hong Kong and Tokyo will face rampant unemployment rates in 2030 as artificial intelligence and robots are deployed in more industries.

“It would not be unimaginable for bankers, accountants and delivery people to cease to exist in 2030,” Vinh said. He also added that while these scenarios will not be immediately apparent in Vietnam’s near future, the country needs to heed these warnings seriously.

Simon Matthews, country manager of Thailand, Vietnam and the Middle East at ManpowerGroup, said the Fourth Industrial Revolution is inevitable and is happening right now in America, Europe and parts of Asia. The next wave of tech evolution can potentially disrupt job markets, plunging millions into unemployment as automation replaces the human workforce, he added.

For businesses to stay competitive, they need to adapt or die, he concluded.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, building on the fusion of digital, physical and biological technologies, the internet of things and artificial intelligence, is taking place all over the word and having a strong impact on all aspects of socio-economic life, leading to changes in production methods and workforces.

In its Readiness for the Future of Production Report 2018, the WEF analyzed 100 countries and economies representing over 96 percent of global GDP. It ranked Vietnam 90th in technology and innovation, 92nd in technological platform, 77th in capability for innovation, 70th in human capital, 75th in university quality, 68th in math and science education quality, and 80th in vocational training quality, signaling the country is one of the least prepared for the coming revolution.

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