This report discusses the impact of technology in the operations of the United Nations. The new technological wave is one of the most important driving factors of rapid global change. All these technological advancements starting from steam power, electricity to advanced automobile have transformed the international organizations entirely. These technological revolutions have led to economic as well as social changes through the recent history. First wave of industrial revolution mechanised the production, second one led to mass production and the recent one automated production.
Objective of the report:
The report aims to discuss a literature review on fourth industrial revolution, to identify the implication of ICT and AI on global marketing, to find and discuss the Opportunities and threats for UN entities in Cambodia. It finally recommends how to imply the changes for benefits of people.
According to the recent researchers, the very first industrial revolution all other industrial revolutions have brought a lot of benefits as well as challenges to the existing socio-economic condition of the countries which had been engaged in transformation. All these revolutions have resulted in financial growth of the countries by the means of increased productivity, advance welfare of the people and this includes high-quality goods as well as services provided to the common people, of the country (Rifkin, 2014). Despite all these positive impacts at global level, the revolution has faced numerous changes. The imbalance of global wealth distribution has decided the industrial revolutions to serve equitably, at the global level (Marolt, Pucihar, & Zimmermann, 2015). Beside this, inequality has proved to be one of the major challenges due to climate change or other sustainability concerns. The global initiative by the United Nations towards the sustainable development goals commits to inclusive economic as well as social development. Innovative efforts for attaining sustainable livelihood attitude to connect the socioeconomic issues with environmental issues are also influencing. The fourth industrial revolution is also not an exemption to the previous eras of industries. In this revolution there has be drastic change in technology. Beside the excessive use of internet, it has been marked by imminent growth of artificial intelligence, the automation, and use of 3Dimentional printing and the supremacy of big data. This industrial revolution is resulting from chief breakthroughs in area of biogenetics (Lee & Lee, 2015).
The term fourth industrial revolution was originated in the year 2011 in Germany (Andersson & Mattsson, 2015). It has confirmed reasons why fourth industrial revolution is important and proved to be revolutionary in this period of information technology as well as open market operation. First of all, this industrial revolution mitigates the problem for the manufactures to make the organisations more flexible as well as responsive to the current business trends. Secondly, fourth industrial revolution permits the renovation of modern economies to be innovative thus increase productivity. Usage of modern technologies for instance digital chains, smart systems including industrial Internet for speeding up innovations (Marolt, Pucihar, & Zimmermann, 2015). Thirdly, it identifies the role of the consumer as the co-producer and places them at the centre of every activity.
According to (Schmidt, et al., 2015) the fourth industrial revolution holds huge potential and the governments have vital role to play in constructing and ensuring the fact that all the segments of their society are been represented fairly and equally. This is because the changes profoundly affect the citizens first. In this situation, the governments are at the frontier but not only responding to advances post-hoc (Rifkin, 2014) . The developing countries of the world are defining their boundaries and setting limits. It is to limit the private sector so that they do not overpower the government in terms of technological innovations. Private sector is getting involved in the forthcoming debates, where the public values are at the forefront of all considerations (Calder?n, Gonz?lez, Calder?n, & Segura, 2016). Through foresight empowered with other necessary tools the governments identify trends to determine the places and methods of intervention so that they can manage the developments.
Figure 1. Fourth industrial revolution
(Source: (Morrar, Arman, & Mousa, 2018)
(Brynjolfsson & McAfee, 2014) have emphasized that to take advantage of scopes that fourth industrial revolution has present, it is essential to recognize the impact on whole society. The researchers have pointed out the importance of considering social innovation benefitted by the technological revolution. It is vital to properly align technological advancements with new practices so that the governments can deal with the social challenges that people and organizations will be facing. In this view, (Buhr, 2015) has established that the influence of social innovation has been prominent on system-wide level. Fast technical development may positively affect the diffusion as well as dissemination of the social innovation. The technical innovation after fourth industrial revolution will develop its potential in amalgamation with the social innovation. The digitized feature of this revolution, its innovative products will lead to economic outcome along with social benefits. Therefore, the governments need to manage under the umbrella of sustainable development.
The discussion of social innovation in the context of fourth industrial revolution is important as it has increasing possibilities to substitute the human action by newer technological innovations in terms of drones, robotics, artificial intelligence, ICT and virtual reality. (Saniee, Kamat, Prakash, & Weldon, 2017) state that this is how certain jobs done by human may be obsolete or made redundant through digitization as well as automation of production process. In addition to this, the qualification for recruitment will be stricter and new skills or knowledge will be necessary.
(Hofmann & R?sch, 2017) have expressed their doubt on individuals’ and industries’ adaptive capability with regards to the threats to social stability, human identity and financial security. According to the researchers, this can disrupt industries by reshaping their working process and the process of transmission, communication then learning.
According to (Gallouj, Weber, Stare, & Rubalcaba, 2015) the growth of fourth industrial revolution highlights the major and common challenge which is posed by fast evolution in ICT: privacy. The sharing as well as tracking information, the loss of control over data and the exposure of personal information are consistent with this new upgraded connectivity (Hofmann & R?sch, 2017). Therefore, the governments of different countries, the global policy makers as well as society must consider the need of shifting the industry culture along with the society to handle the set of technology disturbances associated with present industrial era (Andersson & Mattsson, 2015)
Implication of ICT and AI on global marketing:
The implication of artificial intelligence and information and communication technology in marketing has far reaching effect. Improvement of robotics has allowed the business to function more effectively and productively. The machines are playing variety of roles flexibly. These changes have enabled the management of the organizations to realise company’s’ needs identify potential challenges before it is too late (Lee & Lee, 2015). By cutting production time it has made investment essential in the technology sector.
As discussed before, the AI has proved to work more efficiently and conveniently than human employees. Moreover, they reduce human errors in this intensely-competitive environment and assists the companies to keep pace with the burgeoning demand.
Proper utilisation of technology in marketing, enables the companies to assemble as well as integrate customer relationship management systems to enhance customer alliance and exit barriers (Gerland, 2014).
Utilization of AI and ICT in the organizations, has aided them to outsource salesstrategically and market budgets to the new generation of businesses which include marketing agencies, service providers and e-commerce utilities or e-channel partners for obtaining skills, technical expertise as well as cost efficiencies (Bradley, Russell, Ferguson, Isaacs, & MacLeod, 2015).
Organizations adopt enterprise-wide management of the customer care processes to ensure seamless service and enhanced intimacy across multiple-channel interfaces and throughout the customer lifecycle (Chang, 2016).
Organizations are building multi-channel and hybrid distribution systems to leverage the low-cost yet high-touch technologies for improving cost efficiency, selling performance and getting market coverage. The organizations have started to manage the impact of buy- and sell-side technologies and trading communities on margins and pricing creatively (Marolt, Pucihar, & Zimmermann, 2015).
With the help of advanced technology, the organizations consolidate as well as integrate their call centres, e-mail, fax, Web and other marketing technology assets for managing their selling resources, customer interactions and technology infrastructure.
Challenges and opportunities for the UN entities in Cambodia:
The need of technological changes in the multilateral cooperation like the United Nations gave birth to the introduction of new wings namely International Telegraph Union. It became a specialised agency of the UN (Data.un.org., 2018). It has become an oldest technologically advance agency of the organization which created huge new opportunities for multilateral cooperation like the UN operating in the areas like sustainable development, state-society relations, governance, peace, conflict, security along with global governance (Weyer, Schmitt, Ohmer, & Gorecky, 2015). Despite these facts the United Nations and other multilateral organisations have struggled extremely to cope up with the recent changes.
In case of multilateral organizations like the UN, new innovation in the technological sector needs a special focus on the multi-stakeholders’ perspective. These international organizations often pioneer innovative usage of new technologies. For instance, in the usage of the internet in International governance, has a huge impact on the operations of the multilateral organizations or state institutions (Thramboulidis, 2015). The UN has been thus incorporating new technologies and adapting with them but needs to determine the best place for existing mechanisms as well as new technologies. This report analyses the recent as well as future impact of incorporating technological changes on the multilateral organizations, identifies potential opportunities and threats associated with this change and recommend the methods of distilling advantages by avoiding threats for competing in the international market.
The UN is not only identifying its role in integrating new technologies in their mainstream work but strengthening its other agencies also. It is evident that the role of technology is fast growing in its sustainable development projects which was emphasized in the conclusions of a number of major UN conferences in 2015 (Unicef.org., 2018). In the other areas, for instance peace as well as security, the United Nation is pioneer in the process of integrating new technologies into its works. Independent Commission on Multilateralism addresses all the impacts of the new technologies then identifies extents where the multilateral organizations have scope to play positive role (Woodhouse, Bruce, & & Dando, 2016).
According to the researchers, these technological changes have huge influences that can be felt practically in all aspects of the operations of the organizations. This revolution has been removing commercial as well as technological barriers which traditionally hampered open communication among people (Miller, 2015). The convergence of freely accessible internet services and the mass mobile devices have delivered incredible benefits. In case of operations of the United Nations technological changes have already proved to be supportive of economic development.
According to the data published by the UN entities innovative methods as well as technologies have been employed in the developing country like Cambodia. These agencies are getting scope for innovation of environment supportive technologies. Matching with the circumstances, the technologies for resource conservation like usage of zero tillage has been utilised for its affordability or accessibility rather than access to nanotechnology (Want, Schilit, & Jenson, 2015). These are seen to be more environment friendly as well as sustainable. Beside this, Un agencies have been using desalination processes to turn saline water into fresh, thus potentially reforming water supply. Technologies for supporting health issues, education and catering the increasing demand of renewable energy have proved that the UN entities are having great opportunities in operating their functions in Cambodia. However, beside creating scopes for development, various issues such as improper distribution of resources, gender divide and discrimination in accessing internet or any digital services in the country has posed thrust for the operations of the UN agencies.
Challenges the UN faces in Cambodia:
Digital divide: the importance of new technologies especially information and communication technologies as well as artificial intelligence in supporting the economic development can be easily recognised. For instance, in the middle income country like Cambodia, there has been a 1.38 per cent increase in broadband penetration with 10 per cent growth of Gross Domestic Product (Data.un.org., 2018). In spite of this fact, the access to ICT remains very much unequal between rich and poor or men and women within the country. The data reveals that near about 82% people in the developed countries have access to internet while the developing countries like Cambodia has only 35% therefore, discussing about global information society has become impossible. Moreover, the deficiency of the relevant content in native languages used in Cambodia has further exacerbated this divide (Miller, 2015). However, the mobile phone access in the country has become more widespread but the rural areas lack mobile signals therefore in this area also the citizens do not get opportunity to access AI or ICT.
Environmental impact: one of the chef threats that the ICT have caused is environmental pollution. Concept of data storage in ‘clouds’ may seem to be efficient as well as clean. Despite this fact, this entire set up needs building of enormous warehouses who will be capable to deal with these data and transfer them where needed. From the environmental perspective, these warehouses consume massive amount of energy almost more than 30 billion watt of electricity which is equivalent to 30 nuclear plants (Morrar, Arman, & Mousa, 2018). The country does not have required infrastructure to support this system. Beside these, the developing countries like Cambodia do not have proper knowledge of handling the toxic electronic wastes which pose threat for the environment.
Sustainable Development: the agencies of the UN operating in Cambodia has focused in developing the economic condition of the country. These agencies have taken initiatives to introduce newer technologies more enhancing interment penetration so that the organizations can smoothen their service procedure and reach more people within limited time. As the UN general assembly endorsed in their world summit, that they want to ensure to create access to the new technologies for more people so that they can make information and communication technologies available for all (Unicef.org., 2018). However, the implication or linking technology with every sector in Cambodia is much challenging than the promotion of these projects in the developed countries. This is due to fact that most of the AI and ICT sector is handled by the private sectors. Therefore, negotiation to improve access to technology is quite difficult as well as slow for the agencies of the United nations.
Opportunities gained from technological advancements:
Crowd sourcing: it proves to be beneficial for empowering citizens as well as transforming the state and society relation (Tatham, Spens, & Kov?cs, 2017). This particular term is defined to use the advanced technologies along with social media to solicit contribution along with sharing real-time information, usually in business context. The agencies of the UN will be applying these ICT and AI in an extensive variety of circumstances associated with ideas, opinions, employees and other aspects where the organizations need potent group of people. The fourth industrial revolution has made active participation of numerous groups possible in decision making through augmenting traditional routs of participation such as referenda and elections (Diehl & Frederking, 2015). Through technology the government decisions have become more transparent and inclusive. Therefore, it will be beneficial for the UN wings to function legitimately in Cambodia.
Networking: extensive use of mobile phone as well as social media present scope for the citizens’ empowerment. This factor has proved to transform the relationship between the state and its people. Real-time videos and images uploaded in social media has reduced the level of corruption but increased responsiveness.
Impact on peace and conflict: extensive use of ICTs provide scope for collecting data about crime or conflict internationally. There is an opportunity to reduce gap between notice and response (Rikhye & Skjelsbaek, 2016). The UN entities operating in Cambodia is capable to conduct crisis mapping, crowdsourcing tools through social media mapping. This has helped them to reach the places of crisis soon and identify patterns related toconflict or disaster in one hand and building conflict prevention mechanism in response.
Therefore, it can be concluded that this report has stated the impact of technology on projects of the united nations and its other agencies working in Cambodia. The literature review discloses the fact that the technological advancement after the fourth industrial revolution has aided the organizations as well as the governments a great deal in reaching more people. The UN agencies also find scopes to carry on their operations more flexibly and intensely utilising technology. However, there are challenges to face in functioning properly due to infrastructure and security, the report has recommended some solutions to overcome these problems.
In the developing country like Cambodia, there is necessity to improve ICT access which requires increasing finding in this sector. The UN agencies can help the Cambodian government to have technological guidance from the developed nations to these developing counties on the one hand, as well as building proper infrastructure to bear the capacity. These need for increasing researches as well as developing newer technologies. These initiatives will definitely reduce the price of the internet services in Cambodia. The country has high competitive market in the area of AI as well as ICT, the authorities must grab best out of it.
The extensive use of AI and ICT in the functioning of the UN as well as its agencies have created scopes for pitfalls like ethical breaches for example cybercrime. The potential use of ICTs in governance, peace and development of the country has posed urgent question to cyber security. This is because all the operations have become more technology dependant there has been a threat for disruption in economic and commercial activities even the military effectiveness. The terrorist groups and criminal hackers can have direct access to the cyber domain. The organization must strengthen the security system to safe guard the precious personal data.
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