The First Industrial Revolution started in Britain and used steam power to industrialize production. It can be seen in the images of Britain in the 1800s covered in soot. The Second Industrial Revolution started in the United States when Henry Ford mastered the assembly line and introduced it to the world. The first two industrial revolutions made people richer and more urban. The Third started in the late 1960s and it used electronics and information technology to give rise to high-level automation in production. Now a Fourth Industrial Revolution is building on the Third, the digital revolution that began since the middle of the last century.
Today’s and tomorrow’s industries aim to connect all means of production to enable interaction in real time. Industry 4.0 makes communication among the different players and connected objects in a production line possible using technologies such as Cloud, Big Data, Internet of Things, etc. The applications for the industrial sector are enormous, predictive maintenance, real-time decision-making, minimizing inventory loss, improved coordination in jobs, etc. Every day, all these improvements are gradually optimizing production tools and revealing endless possibilities for the future of the industry.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution could be the first to deviate from the non-renewable energy sources because we have been integrating more ways to power our production processes with alternative energy sources. Tomorrow’s industries will be rooted in smart cities and powered by wind, sun and other forms of renewable energy.
Just like the previous revolutions, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to raise income levels and improve the quality of life globally. Until today, those consumers who are able to afford and access the digital world; technology has made possible new products and services that increase efficiency. Ordering cabs, booking flights, buying products, making payments, listening to music, watching movies, and many more can now be done remotely.
In a pessimistic view, the Fourth Industrial Revolution can robotize humanity, but it can also lift humanity into a new collective and moral consciousness. The onus is on us to make sure the latter prevails.