Without knowing it, humans are already on the verge of a new industrial revolution that will basically change the ways of humans – from the way we live, to the way we work, and to the way we socialize or interact with one another.
First things first, what does industrial revolution mean? According to World History International, Industrial Revolution is the name given to a ‘movement in which machines changed people’s way of life, as well as their methods of manufacture.’
Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (an International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation), has previously said that steam power was first used to mechanize production (First Industrial Revolution), and then electric power was used to mechanize production (Second Industrial Revolution), and that electronics and information technology were used to automate production (Third Industrial Revolution).
Now, the World Economic Forum states that “the Fourth Industrial Revolution” is here. And the said revolution is described as a change that’s as significant as any modern revolution that came before it.
Today’s transformations such as robotics and artificial intelligence, are not just prolongations of the Third Industrial Revolution but rather, the arrival of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Three reasons mark the arrival of the said revolution. Those are – velocity, scope, and systems impact. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is now conceptualized as an upgrade of the Third Industrial Revolution. It is the development of cyber-physical while relying on the infrastructure and technologies of the Third Industrial Revolution.
So what does the transformation have to do with changing the ways of mankind?
Humans face a new range of technologies fusing the physical, biological, and digital worlds which impacts all disciplines, economics, and industries. Interestingly, these new technologies have also given rise to puzzling thoughts on what it means to be human.
Just like the previous industrial revolutions, the fourth comes with both opportunities and challenges. Moreover, Schwab says that the fourth has a potential to raise global income levels and improve quality of life for populations all around the world. Schwab also claims that there has never been a time of greater promise, or one of greater potential peril.
At present, technology has made products and services which have increased efficiency and pleasure for those who can afford to have access to the digital world. Booking flights, paying bills, shopping for goods and many other tasks have never been so easy because now they can be done remotely.
To be able to prepare and to adapt to changes such as the Fourth Industrial Revolution is something humans are supposedly equipped to do. However, it is still too early to tell how we would actually be able to do so. Especially in light of what is being considered to be a change that is unprecedented and too far reaching.
And yet, we have already proven time and again how resilient we are – surviving different kinds of crisis, from the simplest to the most extreme. And even with the numerous threats we are currently facing as a result of rapid advancements in technology, it’s not unthinkable to believe (and hope) that we will be able to survive all the coming changes too. Sure, the world is changing. But so are we. Or more appropriately, so should we. Because only by changing with the world will we be able to ensure that we will keep moving forward and not get left behind.
Here is short documentary [via Singularityhub] covering the scope and scale of the changes ahead.