A Fourth Industrial Revolution?

Published: 21 Feb 2017 By Grace Kimberley

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When asked to think about an industrial revolution, the first thought that springs to mind usually involves steam trains or light bulbs.

Historically, our kind has experienced three industrial revolutions. The first being the development of the steam train and textiles industry, followed by the second, timed in a period after the first war of growth of electric power (telephones, light bulbs, phonographs etc). The third industrial revolution relates to the 80s and onwards, where we have seen the rolling-out of PCs and the internet.

A question on everyone’s mind: What could possibly be as fantastic a discovery as all of the above today? One word: Digital. Digital can relate to a number of things, including robotics, artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, biotechnology. The list goes on. So why is the rise of Digital considered a revolution? Simply, because it’s going to change the way industries work forever.

This isn’t a hard-hitting catchphrase we just came up with, although we’d love to take credit. This is something being talked about across the world right now. Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum is the man responsible for the name. And many of the theories surrounding it.

Schwab’s book describes a revolution, the fourth of its kind, that unlike its predecessors, focuses fundamentally on advances in technology. These advances will enable more people to be connected to the web than ever before, allow businesses to be significantly more efficient and can even be a hope in nurturing our natural environment through better management of assets.

Artificial intelligence in itself, is a major breakthrough. We now have the option to sit in self-driving cars, send out drones and interact with a virtual assistant.

A bonus in digital technologies, is that once initial implementation/configuration is paid for, power is (almost) the only required cost going forwards. It’s an exciting time for any business financially able to invest in digital.

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