We stand on the cusp of the rising wave of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This revolution is very different than the three Industrial Revolutions that preceded it. In fact, the truth is that the 4th industrial revolution is not merely an improvement over the other three revolutions which we have encountered in the past. It is much more than that. Let us explore!
Explaining the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is all about the exponential changes which are taking place and changing the way we live, work and relate to one another. The adoption of cyber-physical systems, the Internet of Things and the Internet of Systems are changing the fate of the cybernetics. The implementation of smart technologies in our workstations will automate the entire production chain and also enable to take decisions autonomously.
This revolution is expected to impact all disciplines, industries and various other walks of life. Some people have called it an extension of the computerization of the 3rd Industrial Revolution. However, certain others believe it to be a completely different phenomenon with the potential of harnessing economies. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is disrupting almost every industry in every country and creating massive change in an unorthodox way at an unprecedented rate.
Though it can be said that the 4th industrial revolution is not an entirely new phenomenon but the credit of bringing it into limelight goes to Klaus Schwab in his book, The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, describes the enormous potential for the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution as well as the risks involved therewith.
According to Klaus Schwab, “The changes are so profound that, from the perspective of human history, there has never been a time of greater promise or potential peril. My concern, however, is that decision-makers are too often caught in traditional, linear (and non-disruptive) thinking or too absorbed by immediate concerns to think strategically about the forces of disruption and innovation shaping our future.”
Now let us speak about the different technologies which come under the umbrella of the 4th industrial revolution. Ranging from data science to cloud computing, the 4th industrial revolution has it all. Other technologies include blockchain, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analytics.
Can the Fourth Industrial Revolution deliver in the 21st century?
Literally speaking, one of the biggest potentials of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is to improve the quality of life for the world’s population and raise income levels, especially in the underdeveloped world.
For those in the developed countries who already relish some of the benefits of a connected world as well as new products and services, the 4th industrial revolution is a big leap forward. If you are wondering what this big leap means, let us quickly unravel it by some vivid imagination.
A person wakes up early in the morning. The alarm clock activates the toaster and other cooking appliances and gets the breakfast ready. Meanwhile, the tea becomes hot and the shower gets ready. The water from the shower is drained off to irrigate the kitchen garden. The kitchen and other rooms are meanwhile cleaned by robotic vacuums. This is a glimpse of the internet of things. This is where the 4th industrial revolution takes off. It provides a combined niche for the internet of things, cloud computing and data science. It researches in all these domains and provides a platform for integration of all these technologies.
Fourth Industrial Revolution: Throwing caution to the winds!
The governments around the world need to adequately plan for and regulate our new capabilities to ensure data security. There might be increased social tensions due to the socioeconomic changes brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution that could create a spree of job losses.
With the advent of the 4th industrial revolution, the nature of jobs is bound to undergo a drastic change. This is especially important when the nature of low skill jobs is taken into consideration. These are the ones that are the most vulnerable with greater chances of getting perished.
Exploring the future
With data being the new oil in the digital era, it has to be mentioned in its first place that the 21st century is the age of data science. With volumes of data surmounting on the cloud, the science of analytics is bound to undergo a historic transformation.
As machines are learning, the physics of artificial intelligence is growing. We are now looking into possibilities of going beyond deep learning. If we want to portray a little glimpse of the future beyond 4th industrial revolution, we are probably looking into the dimensions of path-breaking research in data science. This research will provide a seed of innovation that our future generations can work with.
The lens with which we want to look at the 4th industrial revolution is indeed the lens of imagination. In a pessimistic note, we may go on to conclude that the saga of the 4th industrial revolution attempts to robotize humanity. The counter-argument to this notion would be that every big revolution has its fallouts.
The biggest fallout of the impending revolution is the sword hanging over the low skill jobs. However, if we look at the revolution with positivity, we may go on to conclude that there might be some additional jobs that would get created in the future. After all, human intervention in machines can never cease to exist.
The best parts of human nature are creativity, empathy, and stewardship. If we put forward an argument that machines would sooner or later take over these qualities as well, then we might well be mistaken. This is because the beauty of human endeavor is skill crowned by creativity. And the certain thing is that machines can never surpass humans in both these qualities.
Even if we attempt to cross the limits and try to diminish all the borders between man and the machine, we may not end up being successful in this adventure. This is because man can create the machine but he cannot create the mind!