The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Consequences and Risks
The fourth industrial revolution has already knocked on our doors, bringing the age of innovations and advanced technologies. This new type of industrial development will be based on big data and data analysis, augmented reality technology, complete development automation, and internet of things.
Specifics of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
The invention of the steam engine started the first industrial revolution that is characterized by passing from manual work to machinery work.
The Second Industrial Revolution started in 1870 and is characterized by the development of methods for manufacturing interchangeable parts and the invention of the Bessemer process to produce steel.
In the middle of the 20th century, when people created the first computers, the third industrial revolution—the so-called digital revolution—started. We are living in this time period.
Today the digital revolution is getting closer to the Fourth Revolution when cyber physical systems will be completely implemented in manufacturing processes.
The founder of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwib supposes that the fourth revolution will dissolve boundaries between physical, digital, and biological domains. He even wrote a book about it, which is called “The Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
“The development of connectivity was caused by multiple discoveries like robots, drones, smart cities, artificial intelligence, brain research,” says Schwab.
All of these cyber physical systems will be connected in one network in real-time mode, bootstrap, and learn new behaviors.
They will be able to fix production errors, interact with produced goods, and if necessary, adapt to the new needs of consumers.
For example, goods in the manufacturing process may themselves define the equipment to produce them in a completely autonomous way without any human intervention.
The introduction to a new industrial revolution where cloud technologies, the methods for collecting and analyzing Big Data, crowdsourcing, biotechnology, unmanned vehicles, and medicine based on 3D printing. In the world of finance, these are the Bitcoin crypto currency and the Blockchain technology.
Big Data is a summation of technologies that were created to make such operations as:
- Work with large amounts of data compared to “standard” scenarios;
- Able to handle fast incoming data in very large volumes; and
- Able to operate in parallel with structured and poorly structured data in different aspects.
The example of Big Data production is Large Hadron Collider. This installation continuously produces large amounts of data, and with its help, scientists perform a number of tasks.
The Internet of Things
The Internet of Things is represented as space, where everything from analog to digital worlds is connected.
The different devices and sensors, connected together by wires or wireless, and connected to the Internet, show us the integration of the real and virtual worlds where communication between people and devices is possible.
Virtual and Augmented reality
Virtual reality is a digital world created by technical methods. We observe this reality through our sensations: sight, hearing, smell, touch, and others. Virtual reality imitates both impact and reaction on this impact.
Augmented reality is an overlaying of virtual feature to physical object, showing information about it, which may be personalized to each user.
This is a method for creating a large range of physical objects based on a single platform. There are also experimental bioprinters in which the printing of the 3D structure of the future object (organ for transplantation) is produced by drops containing living cells.
Consequences and Risks of Industrial Revolution
In the economic sector, the access to databulk will improve the quality of the routine decisions.
This refers to banking and legal services, insurance, accounting, management, consulting and audit, metrological support, health care, etc.
Here are four main effects:
- growth of customers’ expectations;
- improving the quality of products;
- general innovations; and
- new forms of organization.
The companies that own the unique platform connecting thousands of people will hold the advantage.
People will be free from hard and routine work, however, the complete independence of manufacturing process from people will lead to a big percentage of loss of jobs. We can observe this process now in countries where automation is practiced in factories and enterprises.
For human personality
A world based on digital technologies will change human personality because the Fourth Industrial Revolution will lay the foundations of new principles in our ethics and aesthetics.
While our plunge in the digital field will continue, our individual behavior will become more digitized. This will provoke not only an estrangement of our inner world, but also the segregation of people based on their identity, and, as a consequence, the polarization of human communities.