Fourth Industrial Revolution, Opportunity or Threat?
It is not simple for many people, companies and organizations to keep up with the pace in which technology has been moving forward. We still find users, processes, tools and work methods that do not correspond to the possibilities that technology allows. This should not alarm people, since not everyone assimilates technology at the same speed and in the same way, which is reflected in a large scale in the corporate world.
The technological race has gained momentum and people talk about the Fourth Industrial Revolution, when the third one is only in process of assimilation for many. This is just a confirmation that technology does not wait on anyone; to be successful, adaptation must be prompt and timely.
Humankind has lived similar phases in the past. Initially, the First Industrial revolution (1786), where the locomotive, the power loom, the traction/hydraulic and steam mechanical instruments enabled a dramatic change that reduced time and costs. After this, came the Second Industrial Revolution that took place between 1960 and the First World War, where electricity, the light bulb, the radio transmitter and the internal combustion engine automobile set a landmark in humanity’s timeline.
Not so long ago, the Third Industrial Revolution, between 1960 and 2000, brought advances in aviation, atomic energy, cybernetics, the arrival of personal computers and the information technology to automize production. All these advances, together with the appearance of Internet set the bases for life nowadays, the beginning of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution about?
In simple words, it is the convergence of “digital technologies”, both “physical and biological” (Peraso, 2016), or the integration of technological and scientific advances in interaction with people and objects, where the so-called Internet of things (IoT) adopts a crucial role.
When discussing this Fourth Revolution, Peraso points out in her article for BBC (2016) that the new technology is based on cyber-physical systems that combine software, sensors, nanotechnology and digital technology communication with physical infrastructure.
Germany was the first country that established the subject of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the political agenda, using the name High Tech Strategy and understanding its impact on worldwide economy -the expectations are, according to Peraso ( 2016) that “this will add about $14,2 thousand million to the world economy in the next 15 years. In addition, these changes will impact employment significantly: about 7 million jobs would disappear and about 2 million would appear. However, these new positions would require higher technological skills.”
Although the most developed countries will experience changes faster (Peraso, 2016), emerging economies like China or India are the ones that will benefit the most. However, only those capable of innovating and adapting will truly take advantage of the revolution.
This Industrial Revolution must be faced with preparation and optimism. It is an opportunity for those who are ready and work for it. But it is also a threat for those who limit themselves and are indifferent towards changes in technology, industry, employment and worldwide economy.
As a final remark, the Forth Industrial Revolution is not a matter for concern, but mainly a call to action because only those who adapt to changes will survive.
Perasso, V. (2016, October 12). Qué es la cuarta revolución industrial (y por qué debería preocuparnos) – BBC News Mundo. Retrieved June 1, 2019, from https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-37631834
7 millones de empleos se perderán por la “4a. revolución industrial”, según Foro Económico Mundial. (2016, January 18). Retrieved June 03, 2019, from https://www.elsalvador.com/noticias/negocios/siete-millones-de-empleos-se-perderan-en-proximo-cinco-anos-por-la-cuarto-revolucion-industrial-segun-foro-economico-mundial/174349/2016/
Author: David Santamaría Fernández