Forth Industrial Revolution
The fourth industrial revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, refers to the marriage of physical assets and advanced digital technologies—the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), robots, drones, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, cloud computing, nanotechnology, and more—that communicate, analyze, and act upon information, enabling organizations, consumers, and society to be more flexible and responsive and make more intelligent, data-driven decisions.
All revolutions have benefits and drawbacks, challenges and opportunities, uncertainties and certainties. In the case of the fourth industrial revolution, the advantages are evident: increased productivity, efficiency and quality in processes, greater safety for workers by reducing jobs in dangerous environments, enhanced decision making with data-based tools, improved competitiveness by developing customized products that satisfy consumers’ needs, etc.
As far as the drawbacks are concerned, the experts point to many: the dizzying speed of change and the need to adapt, burgeoning cyber risks that force us to ramp up cybersecurity, high dependence on technology and the so-called digital gap, lack of qualified staff, etc. Regarding the latter, it is worth remembering that the deep impact of Industry 4.0 on employment is one of the biggest challenges for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. At the start of the process, a McKinsey Global report confirmed that up to 800 million jobs will have disappeared by 2030 as a result of automation. However, this may also be an opportunity, because, as novel technologies emerge, so will new professions that will create millions of jobs in new sectors.
TECHNOLOGIES OF THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI, the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings. The term is frequently applied to the project of developing systems endowed with the intellectual processes characteristic of humans, such as the ability to reason, discover meaning, generalize, or learn from past experience. Artificial Intelligence is set to be one of the key technologies in the sweeping transformation of the economy, society and the labor market.
Internet of Things (IOT): The Internet of Things, or IoT, refers to the billions of physical devices around the world that are now connected to the internet, all collecting and sharing data. Thanks to the arrival of super-cheap computer chips and the ubiquity of wireless networks, it's possible to turn anything, from something as small as a pill to something as big as an Aeroplan, into a part of the IoT. Connecting up all these different objects and adding sensors to them adds a level of digital intelligence to devices that would be otherwise dumb, enabling them to communicate real-time data without involving a human being. The Internet of Things is making the fabric of the world around us smarter and more responsive, merging the digital and physical universes.
Cobots: A cobot, or collaborative robot, is a robot intended for direct human robot interaction within a shared space, or where humans and robots are in close proximity. Robotics is constantly evolving and the cobots, specially designed to interact physically with humans in collaborative environments, will be key to industry. Among other things, they optimize production and save employees from doing monotonous and dangerous tasks.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality: Augmented reality (AR) is an enhanced version of the real physical world that is achieved through the use of digital visual elements, sound, or other sensory stimuli delivered via technology. It is a growing trend among companies involved in mobile computing and business applications in particular.
Virtual Reality (VR) is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment. Unlike traditional user interfaces, VR places the user inside an experience. Instead of viewing a screen in front of them, users are immersed and able to interact with 3D worlds. By simulating as many senses as possible, such as vision, hearing, touch, even smell, the computer is transformed into a gatekeeper to this artificial world. The only limits to near-real VR experiences are the availability of content and cheap computing power.
Big Data: Big Data is a collection of data that is huge in volume, yet growing exponentially with time. It is a data with so large size and complexity that none of traditional data management tools can store it or process it efficiently. Big data is also a data but with huge size. Big Data allows massive data management and interpretation for business purposes, which is particularly relevant when devising business strategies or making decisions.
3D and 4D Printing: 3D and 4D printing are rapidly evolving technologies, which offer one of the most promising and revolutionary manufacturing options. These technologies have attained global recognition and hence have attracted a lot of attention over the past years. However, the technological advancements, especially in the field of material science, still remain the center of research spotlight, especially for future advancements. The continuous curiosity in exploration of 3D and 4D printing is an attempt to meet the constantly rising manufacturing demands of complex materials in an efficient way. The most recent trends in 3D and 4D printing are the development of active structures possessing the potential to change shape with respect to time.
Blockchain: Blockchain has been called a pillar of the fourth industrial revolution, comparing it to technologies such as the steam engine and the internet that triggered previous industrial revolutions. It has the power to disrupt existing economic and business models and may prove particularly valuable in emerging market economies. The transparent consensus mechanism of Blockchain makes it possible to verify the validity of transactions and how information has been modified or created in the process. While the initial focus of Blockchain technology was on applications in the finance sector, we are seeing far more potential in the physical world of manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, supply chains and logistics. Blockchain technology enables new business models, innovative organizational forms and work processes. It is changing the paradigm from hierarchical organizations to self-organizing economies.