How ready are you for the 4th Industrial Revolution?
Only two decades into the 21st Century and the way of the world is fraught with change in light of the impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution as we move further into an era where the distinction between man and machine is becoming less and less obvious.
The way we live, the way we work and the way we think are all going through changes as the new technologies deploy into our homes and places of work.
What does the 4th Industrial Revolution involve?
The 4th Industrial Revolution has a broad signature across many different fields with technology breakthroughs in numerous disciplines including:
- Fully autonomous vehicles
- The Internet of Things
- Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT)
- Fifth-generation wireless technologies (5G)
- Additive manufacturing/3D printing
The 4th Industrial Revolution is different from the previous three eras in that instead of being marked by technological advances, it is concerned rather with advances in communication and connectivity. Such technologies hold the potential to further connect billions more people to the web and significantly enhance business and organizational efficiencies as well as helping to regenerate the environment using improved asset management techniques.
Buildup to the 4th Industrial Revolution
It is not difficult to see how the build up to the 4th Industrial Revolution has its roots in the 3rd Industrial Revolution or Digital Revolution, which deals with how fundamental economic change happens with the rise of three types of technological advances, that is:
- How goods or humans are moved
- How we communicate and manage information
- How we power our economies
The 3rd Industrial Revolution therefore was primarily concerned with transformative potentials involving:
- The Internet of Things and 5G networks
- Automated driving
- Renewable energy
The digital revolution began during the 1980s and the birth of its ‘children’, the personal computer, the Internet and information and communications technology was therefore responsible for the advancement of technology in terms of moving from analogue electronic and mechanical devices to what we have today.
Recap on the first two stages of Industrial Revolution
- The First Industrial Revolution occurred during the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe and North America with the agrarian, rural societies becoming industrial and urban. The textile and iron industries as well as the advent of the water wheel followed by the steam engine were core drivers of the Industrial Revolution.
- The Second Industrial Revolution occurred between 1870 and 1914 prior to World War 1. It marked a growth period for pre-existing industries as well as expansion into new industries such as electricity, steel and oil and electric power was used for mass production. This period was responsible for significant technological advances such as the internal combustion engine, the telephone, the light bulb and the phonograph.
Bringing home the reality of the impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution
At home with Alexa and a history lesson with HAL – Science fiction has an uncanny knack of being able to predict the future
Home automation is a biggie right now. The Amazon Alexa, which has now become known as simply ‘Alexa’ is a home virtual assistant developed by Amazon which uses voice interaction, is capable of making to-do lists, setting alarms, providing weather, sports and traffic updates and other forms of real-time updates such as the news and is also able to control a number of smart devices with itself as the home atumoation system. Alexa’s ‘skills’ can also be upgraded with new apps such as audio features to include additional functionality.
Alexa users say a ‘wake’ word that alerts an Alexa device of a particular command that it needs to perform. Take a look at the Amazon Echo Dot here to find out more about these devices:
Science fiction has an uncanny knack of being able to predict the future in that the Alexa is not an entirely new concept since a brief look at history will demonstrate that it uncannily appears to be born out of 20th Century Hollywood productions. In the 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey, a system known as HAL (Heuristically Programmed Algorithmic Computer) is a sentient computer or form of AI (artificial intelligence) that interacts with the crew of the Discovery One spacecraft and controls the ship’s systems. As well as maintaining the ship’s systems while on an interplanetary mission, amongst other things, HAL is also capable of speech and speech recognition, natural language processing, lip reading, facial recognition, automated reasoning, interpreting emotional behaviours, spacecraft piloting and playing chess.
Whether we like it or not the 4th Industrial Revolution technologies are here to stay and the way we bank, eat, travel and communicate are only a handful of activities that are affected. The trick of course is to embrace the advantages of what technology has to offer and not be left behind the curve. But, how ready are we for unbridled change? Take our fun quizz ‘Find out how ready you are for 4IR’ and find out where you stand in the overall scheme of things.