The Fourth Industrial Revolution Meets the Sleep Revolution

ROME — Last week more than 2,500 global leaders from more than 100 countries came together in Davos for the annual World Economic Forum. The dominant topic of discussion this year — both inside the talks and panels and outside, as well — was transition. Klaus Schwab, the Forum’s founder and executive chairman, captured this sense — the possibilities as well as the challenges — with this year’s theme, the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Schwab describes this new period as “the fusion of technologies across the physical, digital and biological worlds which is creating entirely new capabilities and dramatic impacts on political, social and economic systems.” It’s an era of automation, constant connectivity, and accelerated change, in which the Internet of Things meets the Smart Factory. But, he also warns, “a shared understanding of this change… is essential if we are to shape our collective future in a way that reflects ultimately that the human being should be at the center.”

This human element was unmistakably at the center of Davos this year. It was the year of explicit calls from leaders in business, technology, media and governments across the globe for a way of working that goes beyond an obsession with shareholders, profits, and quarterly earnings, and for a way of living and working that prioritizes our well-being. Taken together, the conversations at Davos this year are a blueprint for a wider definition of success, one that recognizes that in our quest for a competitive edge and enhanced performance, we actually stand to gain from putting our humanity, well-being, and sense of purpose at the center.

If the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be defined by speed, connectivity, and change, there’s also a need for a countervailing force. This was the topic of a panel I was on with Bank —> Read More