The Transformational Shift of the 21st Century and Gen Z role (3 min read)

We live in a rapidly changing world. It is dramatically shifting every day with an impact on economy, politics, and social values. In the 20th and 21st centuries these changes have been quite notable thanks to the rise of technology and exponential growth of companies, intertwined with every step of our lives. Economic transformations are linked to the changes in consumer behavior, significant shifts in markets, and global scale incidents.

In 2020, with the outbreak of the Coronavirus epidemic, the world seemed to come to a halt. Some of the largest disruptions of the pandemic were its negative impact on global trade and businesses, the shift to remote work and digitalization, and increased financial market volatility. The pandemic accelerated the digitalization of various industries, and this trend is likely to continue as businesses recognize the criticality of technology adoption for readiness to large scale incidents, efficiency and resilience. In “Advances vs Consequences: What Does the 21st Century Have in Store for Humanity?”, Ethan Siegel argues that “our technological progress comes with a cost: as we have gained the ability to transform our planet, we’ve ended up transforming it in more ways than we imagined” (Forbes, Siegal).

Furthermore, this economic growth that is happening post pandemic in investments, trade growth, and infrastructure development created global power shifts. All these changes happen hand in hand, similar to a domino effect. Here is how it evolves. When major economies experience robust growth, it often has a positive effect on other nations through trade and investment. Simultaneously, this then attracts increased foreign direct investment as investors seek higher returns and potential business opportunities, and as such leads to increased trade both domestically and internationally. This level of interconnectedness and cooperation between countries then boosts this global rapid transformation. Additionally, this leads to global economic power dynamic shifts, as emerging economies may continue to gain more prominence on the world stage, which in turn, impacts geopolitics and international relations.

Within all this, the most important change that is happening globally, is the switch to full digitalization. Technology is becoming more and more advanced and impactful, and due to this phenomenon, more and more companies are relying on technology solutions to help them survive competition, succeed and grow. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning technologies are being used to automate tasks, analyze large datasets, make predictions, and optimize processes. Companies employ AI-powered chatbots for customer support, use machine learning algorithms for data analytics, and apply AI in various other areas to gain insights and improve decision-making. Companies also deploy robots in manufacturing, logistics, and warehousing to increase productivity and reduce human errors. Additionally, cloud computing allows for companies to store and access data and applications over the internet, which in turn offers flexibility and cost-effectiveness, enabling companies to focus on core business activities. Further, companies then harness data to gain valuable insights into customer behavior, market trends and operational performance. Advanced analytics tools then help in data-driven decision making and identifying business opportunities.

What does this rapid transformation of the global economy and technology mean for the world and specifically to Gen Z? Will this create further job and sector insecurity as more and more human jobs are being replaced by their technological counterparts? Or will this create a drive for more people to join various technological fields and help advance this transformation even further? In the article, “From Risk to Reward: The Role of AI Alignment in Shaping a Positive Future”, Connor Leahy explores the power that AI potentially holds, warning that “it is not unreasonable to believe that our AI systems will become more dangerous by default as they become more powerful unless we prioritize developing effective safety measures” ( Instead of bowing to these technological advancements, humans must learn to work alongside them, thus utilizing them in the best way possible. Gen Z as the youngest talent in the workforce is evolving to respond to this new reality.

The world leaders must turn their focus onto struggling political, economic and social areas, while not allowing the prosperous aspects within a society to fail. This rapid revolution is paving the way for an entirely new society, and Gen Z is going to become the driver and executor. Gen Z is recognizing that the problems they inherited would require more transformations to make positive shifts in values of the society, economic growth with no harm to the planet, world peace and fair politics. In-depth and unbiased education, justice, fair politics, innovation and proper use of technology would be the cornerstones of those shifts.