Please permit me to express how privileged I am to be in your presence today to talk about the future. When Hon. Iduma Igariwey battled me to submission to present this talk; It was a keen sense of reminiscence of my trudging year (1987/88) at the Nigeria Law School Victoria Inland, Lagos.

The future was most uncertain for a young, poor boy about to become a lawyer. At that time, the joy of becoming a lawyer was dimmed by the cloud of uncertainty created by the political and economic situation in my dear country Nigeria. On the political realm, the military were at the helm of affairs. The economy had no direction leading to mass unemployment. Above all, the last quarter of the 20th century was dull as the 3rd industrial revolution had exhausted its excitement, and there was yet no breakthrough in science and technology to spark up a new direction for humanity. 

In this talk, I shall converse that the beginning of the 21st century has sparked off a new revolution, known as the 4th industrial revolution popularly called Industry 4.0. 

When the organisers told me to choose any topic of my liking, I opted for a conversation (talk). I believe a discussion offers me the liberty to engage without much academic theorizing. Secondly, I figured that this event is taking place at the beginning of the year when predictions of what the year holds forth are usually a dominant practice and expectations. I therefore choose to indulge in predictions of the future.

My predictions may not be the outcome of prophecy or in-depth social or scientific research but rather the result of predictable realities of a changing world. I will not limit my predictions to this year alone as many prophets or some economist, and social analysts do; instead, I want to take a peep into the second quarter of the 21st century. Recall that the first quarter of the 21st century will end in the year 2025. As second quarter of the century appears to portend a remarkable turning point in human civilization, I consider it necessary to speak up on the need for thorough preparations if the second quarter of the century’s events may not take us unawares. By the second quarters of 21st century, I am talking about the next 25 years i.e., from 2026 – 2050. I sound this alarm because I know that all of us in this meeting may live through this period. 

Accordingly, the topic of my talk is PREPARING FOR THE SECOND QUARTER OF THE 21ST CENTURY. Therefore, I am honoured to welcome you to the 4th Industrial Revolution popularly known as Industry 4.0. 

I shall hereunder present my brief talk under the following headings:

  1. An Idea of Industrial Revolutions.
  2. The scope of Industry 4.0.
  3. Drivers of Industry 4.0 and my predictions.
  4. Conclusion. 


In his book titled “The Fourth Industrial Revolution”, Klaus Schwab (the founder of World Economic Forum) described Industrial Revolution as the appearance of “new technologies and novel ways of perceiving the world (that) trigger a profound change in economic and social structure”. 

I shall not spend time on the history of industrial revolutions but suffice it to say that before the ongoing industry 4.0, there had been three industrial revolutions, I shall hereunder hint on them. 


This process started in Britain in the 18th century (1760). The crux of this industrial revolution is the transition from agrarian and handicraft economy to industrial production using machine manufacturing. Its principal feature was the introduction of steam science. The industrial revolution led to the invention of steam engines, and steam was used to power virtually everything from agriculture to textile manufacturing. 


This was the period of major scientific breakthroughs and often referred to as the age of “science and mass production”. This revolution launched into human civilisation new sources of energy, e.g. petroleum, electricity, gasoline engines, aeroplanes, radio etc. The prominent feature of this revolution is the introduction of speed and mass production. 


The third industrial revolution is popularly known as “the digital revolution”. This revolution brought forth the computer and internet technologies. In summary, this revolution brought about the digitalisation of existing technologies. The revolution led to the mass upgrade of electronic and mechanical devices to digital technologies that are mostly credited with production automation. 

1.3. In summary, “the first industrial revolution used water and steam to mechanise production, the second used steel power to create mass production. The third used electronics and information technology to automate production”1. 

One common denominator of all the industrial revolutions is its dramatic technological and economic transformation with its consequential social effects. It transformed agrarian and handicraft economics to industrial economics. It introduced factory productions leading to large scale outputs. It introduced new energy sources e.g., petroleum, electricity, efficient machines and engines. It brought about speed i.e., in transportation, communication, data science etc. But all of the above and many more may not be the concern of this talk. The concern is that every phase of industrial revolution comes with massive disruptive effects on the way we live and work, i.e., new demands disrupt old skills, new structures disrupt work systems, and old technologies are replaced by new ones leading to loss of businesses even as new ones emerge. 

This intrusion and distruptions are the reasons for the call for us to prepare as industry 4.0 inevitably cruises in. 

The industry 4.0 has been described as “the next phase of dramatic technological expansion and social change”. 

In describing the scope of industry 4.0, Klaus Schwab puts it this way: 

“The possibilities of billions of people connected by mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge are unlimited. And these possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the internet of things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, material science, energy storage and quantum computing”. 

The above represents the drivers of industry 4.0. I shall endeavour to highlight some of these drivers and thereunder make prediction on how they will change our world by the second quarter of the 21st century. 



It is believed that communication is core or if you like central to technological advancement of the 21st century with its sweeping effect on all aspect of our private and public lives. Some of the engines of these technological advancement includes Bluetooth technology, Skype, Facebook, Instagram, Tweeter, IBM Watson, and indeed the numerous apps technologies. 

Social coherence, and in some ways, social disharmony, have also been fostered through communication. 

The speed of such communication which engenders growth, effective administration, brand loyalty for cooperation, celebrities, politicians, etc is in the core of social media. That is- reaching people and targeted audience faster and in real time thereby promoting change or responses that follow certain courses of action. 

On the political space, for example, many governments and political leaders now project some governance information and direction to their citizens and the world by use of social media. Political communication has largely moved from mainstream media to include social media. 

On the work space, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, tweeter, blogs, Youtube, google team, etc have become major sources of hiring labour, and about 80 percent of global companies use them for their recruitment processes. 

As it is for employment of labour, so is it for marketing of goods and services. In the 21st Century, social media has become a global market place and avenue for brand identification and loyalty, corporate judgement and conversation, and the list goes on. 

My Prediction 

a. As communication, including broadcasting to millions of audiences without boundaries becomes a common place at little or no cost, by year 2050, every individual – rich or poor, illiterate or educated would have the means to influence, challenge, stimulate or expose situations around them. For example, the video clip by a little girl, which expose how George Floyd was killed in the United State of America by a white police officer sparked off a global protest and placed a demand on the government for a change. Also, in Nigeria, many video clips went viral on the Endsars protest of 2020 and informed the opinion and decisions of many as well as the decision which the Government had to take. 

b. In the years ahead, it is almost sure that citizens will continue to lose their privacy. It is expected that tracking of information will be a lot easier through connectivity that is launching us into a world wide web. 

c. In the years ahead, it is most certain that SMS text messaging will virtually disappear as messaging apps like WhatsApp, WeChat, Instagram, Twitter etc. will take over. 

d. It is also certain that in the years ahead, computer keyboards both desktops and laptops, smartphones keypad will virtually become irrelevant as all.

e. Social media in the years ahead will become major sources of connection for various purposes, including social communication or labouring of hiring. This will likely force the conventional systems out of businesses. 

The effect will be endless, but I must not forget to mention the IBM’s Watson’s impact on professional services. IBM’s Watson is a question-answering computer system capable of answering any questions. It is capable of offering clear professional answers to many questions. I must let lawyers know that IBM’s Watson’s services are already a threat to legal profession. 


Simply put, this is science reaching beyond the limits of human activities (in many cases replacing them), with machines that are equipped with enhanced agility, sense and intelligence to perceive its environment and perform cognitive functions to successfully interpret and solve particular scenario. In the second quarter of the 21st century, scientists will continue to push the boundaries of technology in a bid to replace must human endeavour with machine operations, cutting across industries and human operations – manufacturing, oil and gas, space travel, transportation, medicine, agriculture, sports, education, communication, construction, power supplies, military, banking etc. 

We are certain to experience unprecedented enhancement of the existing technologies, e.g., from electric vehicles to self-driving and self-assisted parking cars, from smartphones to smart homes, from cyberknife to robotics surgery, space travel to space colonisation, from smart city to intelligent roads etc. The world no doubt will reach for an unprecedented level in technological expanse in the second quarter of the 21st century. 

My Predictions 

In the second quarter of the 21st century, we should expect the following: 

a. Petrol engine cars will disappear, to be replaced by electric cars; petrol or filling stations will be replaced by electric charging stations. 

b. Oil companies and oil explorations is certain to phase out, this will certainly depress economics that are oil dependent with consequential social and economic effects. 

c. Electricity generation and utilisation will likely be greatly decentralised as many users will now generate their own power. This will lead to collapse of the grid system with its consequential social and economic effects particularly in developing nations. 

d. Softwares will continue to disrupt many conventional systems in both commercial and industrial sectors e.g., UBER in the traditional taxi system ownership. 


This is a concept where everything talks and interacts with everything. It is an interconnectivity of physical objects, including human beings and animals, (generally described as things), with sensors or nano chips encrypted with software applications to make it possible to exchange data with other “things” or devices through the internet gateway. 5G is the technology that will launch this “experimentation”, and as you can possibly imagine, there would be other Gs which will make communication and transfer of information and data supersonic. 

This is the future that every individual, government and corporation must embrace, and therefore should be preparing for. 

The truth is, our world has changed and even more so continues to change and briskly, too. 

My Predictions 

c. Facial and voice recognition will become a commonplace soon. You can send commands by voice recognition, and the object will recognise and comply. Etc. 


I must conclude by saying that the future I am talking about is not a distant one. You should expect some of my predictions to dominate our world as early as the next five years. Our world has certainly changed with the “intrusion” of industry 4.0. In a very short while from now, talents and innovations are going to be the only dependable capital assets. 

As lawyers, you must know that the 4th industrial revolution will throw up challenges in legislating for social existence, citizens’ rights and privacy, regulation of corporations and businesses, etc. The question, therefore, is not what is changing, but how are you preparing to contend with this myriad of changes, which as we now know, are inevitable. 

In his call on the global polity to prepare for the effect of the 4th industrial revolution, Klaus Schwab puts it this way;

“we stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before. We do not yet know just how it will unfold, but one thing is clear, the response to it must be integrated and comprehensive, involving all stakeholders of the global polity, from the public and prive sectors to academia and civil society.”

Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to the 4th industrial revolution. Thank you.