Fourth Industrial Revolution - surely these are three words that you have heard very often lately. In the present times, we have to admit that we are already beginning to live the “Fourth Industrial Revolution” which worries many and makes many people think of a future where the machines replace the work that people do today.
So, in this article, we will review some changes that have occurred in the previous industrial revolutions and see how they have impacted us and proved to be indispensable assets in our lives today. Thereafter, we will see some of the many grand inventions promised by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and why this novel concept seems like a good idea with each passing day.
What Is the Industrial Revolution?
The Industrial Revolution is a historical period in which significant changes were triggered in the form of production that gradually turned most of the countries around the world into industrial societies. It was characterized by the use of new technologies that were applied to mass production.
Many people in those days were also scared of the changes and advances that were being achieved, thanks to technology. However, today, we can clearly see that all those technologies managed to improve the lifestyle of humanity.
Let's see some of the most outstanding inventions of the initial industrial revolution and the effects of the industrial revolution on the world!
1. The Phone
Alexander Graham Bell was credited with the invention of the telephone in 1876. It was an apparatus that transmitted sounds through a cable via electrical signals. It has been one of the most critical inventions because it revolutionized the world of telecommunications.
2. The Car
In 1885, Karl Benz developed the first internal combustion car that was shaped like a tricycle. It was equipped with a small four-stroke engine, a horizontal single-cylinder and had a carburetor as well as water cooling.
3. The Plane
The Wright brothers of the United States invented the first airplane. The idea arose in 1899 and on December 17, 1903, they flew for the first time.
4. The Light Bulb
In 1809, Humphry Davy invented the first light bulb that gave light for 14 successive hours. Subsequently, Thomas Alva Edison developed and perfected it until reaching the long-lasting bulb.
As we said before, these advances have improved the way we live today. Similar to the previous ones, the Fourth Industrial Revolution also begins with the development of new technology applied to production processes.
In this case, it will be the robotics equipment and the connected devices of the Internet of Things. The most important technologies for the Fourth Industrial Revolution are expected to be:
The Internet of Things
One of the very first technology breakthroughs considered to emerge in the fourth industrial revolution is the Internet of Things. This emerging technology is expected to play a major role in the 4IR by embedding with internet connectivity and electronics.
In addition to that, since devices can be remotely controlled as well as monitored, the possibilities of implementing IoT are endless in all sectors of society. To take an example of environment and sustainability, IoT-enabled devices, as well as sensors, can immensely help in reducing air pollution.
In addition to that, it can also make urban living easier by making energy-efficient buildings and safe street lighting. One of the biggest examples in current times is the city Wi-Fi of Barcelona which is linked to the data analytics platform software and sensors.
So, it helps in automated street lighting, remote-controlled irrigation, smart water technology, smart parking meters, digitalized bus routes and much more.
3D printing is another interesting technology that can be expected as a part of the 4IR. It involves computer-controlled solidifying of a material in order to design three-dimensional objects.
This technology can prove to be a real lifesaver in the future and has several amazing applications. 3D printing can help in making the fourth industrial revolution more sustainable.
According to the estimates of the World Economic Forum, the fourth industrial revolution involves $100 trillion worth of digital transformations. 3D printing is at the forefront because it can reshape the entire sector and reduce the overall impact on the environment and the planet.
Big data is an insightful way to get more comprehensive information and uncover the meaning as well as insights of unstructured and massive amounts of data. This process is usually employed when traditional processes such as handling techniques and data mining do not work well.
Smartphones are evidently key players in 4IR as well as big data as these two technologies can track the entire media consumption of people and track all their shopping data successfully. Big Data is vital for the 4IR because the efficient and improved usage of Big Data analysis can get profits of billions of dollars in the next few years.
AI could potentially go on to resolve massive global problems post the fourth industrial revolution. This technology, in the present times, is at an advanced stage of development and understanding.
It has very quickly become evident that Artificial Intelligence will soon be applied to an extensive list of industries with commercial, social and industrial applications. AI is considered to be the main driving force of the 4IR.
The effects of AI are already evident in political processes, businesses as well as homes. It is seen everywhere, starting from giving care to older people, stocking of warehouses to self-driving cars.
Additionally, rapid advancement in machine learning and AI has the potential to impact the everyday lives of humans by optimizing transparency, accountability, and privacy.
Robotics is another field that is expected to do exceedingly well in the fourth industrial revolution. Robotics is essentially likely to replace humans and all human activity in the future.
This innovative technology is especially expected to replace low-skilled process jobs to automate work processes throughout the world. Robots can also contribute towards offering a better work-life balance to people so that humans can work on innovation instead of repetitive tasks.
Robots are an essential part of the 4IR and are already working as caregivers for older and younger people.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality are the final two grand promises of the fourth industrial revolution. They are expected to enhance all cyber-physical systems and provide excellent value to customers in a variety of fields and sectors.
Moreover, these two technologies are expected to aid in the digital transformation of manufacturing. Playing an integral role in the fourth industrial revolution, AR and VR is not just limited to entertainment and gaming but has also helped medical students learn about surgery without having a physical body.
Similarly, retail stores are also replacing traditional changing and trial rooms with AR mirrors. Hence, these technologies are affecting the retail, healthcare, travel, education, real estate, sports and basically all kinds of sectors in the present times.
These technologies have already made their mark in the world and are being used extensively in different fields and areas. This is our future, and it is inevitable.
So, if you do not want to stay stuck in the past, you have to be ready for what comes next. You can start by learning how to integrate new technologies into your business processes, connect digitally with your clients, elaborate industry 4.0 strategies and much more.
Possibilities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
The path of each of the industrial revolutions has never been easy or direct; the type of work was transformed, and mechanization, as well as mass production, moved millions of people from agricultural production to work in factories and cities.
In addition to that, computers and the development of means of transport made it possible to build chains of more extensive and flexible supplies, which have crossed borders and turned local markets into global markets.
Taking all this into account, there have naturally been talks about a new industrial revolution, the fourth, with a digital transformation. In effect, humanity went from the steam engine to electricity for mass production, to then enter a technological and automated stage, or what some experts have called post-industrial society, to land on what we live in today - the digital era.
It is a new stage that is causing very rapid changes in the industry and the way in which businesses face their market, the relationship with customers and the demand for their products.
More markedly, this transformation consists of disruptive changes in scientific and technological development, characterized by the convergence of digital, physical and biological technologies. As mentioned before, the fourth industrial revolution brings with it the total automation of manufacturing, thus giving the term Industry 4.0, where many benefits, as well as risks, are expected.
The fourth industrial revolution requires us to think laterally, uniting industries and disciplines that have already been defined in a precise way. Biologists must now also be programmers and statisticians if they want to exploit the potential of genomic science.
Financial companies, from banks to investment funds, hire quantitative specialists today who can study large volumes of data in search of information on customer behavior and investment opportunities.
The industrial revolutions that humanity has experienced have caused substantial changes in the economic, social and technological processes. To speak of a revolution in this context, then, involves looking at the ruptures caused by the scientific and technological advances that generate a transformation of production and an adjustment of economies to new forms of supply and demand.
History shows that, once the industrial revolutions are launched, change occurs quickly.
Entrepreneurs turn inventions into commercial innovations. They give rise to new companies that grow rapidly and finally; consumers demand new products and services that improve their quality of life.
Once the gear of this process begins to work, industry, the economy, and society are transformed at full speed.