We are immersed in a technological revolution that is changing many things, especially the way we live, relate and work.
A really complex change, whose reach goes beyond anything that we have experienced before. A change marked by the new digital, physical and biological technologies that economists have called: the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The change will be guided by genetic engineering and neurotecnologies, two specialties that seem to be far from the reach and understanding for most citizens. However, its impact is being so strong and changing completely our daily life and our way of relating with each other. As a result, we will see how this new way of relating will have a direct impact on the future of work and social inequality, for example.
Why the Forth Industrial Revolution
According to experts, the foundation that gives rise to the so-called Revolution 4.0 is that it is not just about developments, but because of the “encounter” of these developments. And in this sense it represents a paradigm shift, instead of one more step in the frenzied technological career.
There are three great reasons that define this revolution as its own and not as an extension of the Third Industrial Revolution:
- The speed
The pace in which advances occur is unprecedented.
- The scope
These advances are reaching industries of all continents, taking place globally.
- The impact
Its impact affects directly to all industries.
On the other hand, it follows the process of the three previous revolutions:
The First Industrial Revolution changed artisanal production to mechanized production. Being carbon the engine of it.
The Second Industrial Revolution, entailed electricity and mass production. Mass production, at an efficient cost, but without product customization. Remember Henry Ford and his Ford T black.
The Third Industrial Revolution was accompanied by electronics and new information and telecommunications technologies. Here began the ability to become more cost efficient and achieve greater customization of products and services.
This Fourth Industrial Revolution completely automates manufacturing and what we see is an intelligent factory that combines physical machines with digital processes, allowing machines to make decisions and cooperate (among them and with human teams). The personalization of the product reaches its maximum level, while we try to make a different product for each consumer at the same cost as if we did large series of production. The scenario people of marketing always have dreamed of!
3 keys to understand the Revolution or Industry 4.0
- This revolution is created on the basis of systems that combine software, nanotechnology, sensors, an important physical structure and new technologies related to communications.
- IoT or Internet of Things, , is playing and will play a fundamental role in this paradigm shift.
- It will affect industries around the world, which will lead to a radical change in employment.
There was initially a strong resistance and the belief that certain industries could be kept apart from digitization. In fact, the media, music and even logistics were some of the industries in which this resistance was more evident. Evolution finally came also to them and today, all these industries are fully adapted to the digital phenomenon. What does not change tends to disappear.
The 8 main axes of the Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 is a very broad concept. A complex gear that we can divide into 8 main axes that are making it work:
- Massive Data (Big Data)
- Cloud Process (Cloud Computing)
- The Internet of Things (IoT)
- Augmented reality
- Cyber security
- Simulation and prototype
- Integration of processes
The great challenge of industry 4.0
The adaptation and individualization of manufacturing processes to attend the needs of customers are a fundamental element. But not only that, we must achieve it by improving production times, reducing costs and creating a more efficient value chain. The challenge is big, sometimes titanic.
The role of people
We cannot forget the role of people in all this …
Adapting all the technologies we are talking about, it is a complex process and must be done gradually.
Probably the great challenge of industry 4.0 is in the people. Achieving fluid, effective and natural coexistence between the human team and the machines is not an easy task. We are used to see in factories that there is on one hand machines and / or robots and on the other people. We are not accustomed to interact in cooperative processes.
This wall will gradually fall in order to achieve greater efficiency.
The first step is to change our mindset. This new paradigm requires adaptation of people to a new environment and that is why we must be open and predisposed to changes.
Pioneers of the Revolution
The most advanced countries will pioneer the change. These countries will implement it more quickly.
The emerging economies will gradually be added and surely these will be the ones that can benefit most.
The employment of the future will be based on work that still does not exist and industries that work with totally new technologies. This revolution has the power to increase the level of global income and improve the quality of life. However, all these processes of transformation will not affect each other in a positive way. It will benefit only those who are able to adapt and innovate. In this sense, we will have to work so that it is not a source of social inequalities. This is one of the main challenges that we have to face.
Now more than ever, we have to adapt if we do not want to disappear.