The 4Th Industrial Revolution

Winter ABC 2021: Day 14

This is the last day of the Business and Tech week for Winter ABC and it will be a wild not to talk about the 4th industrial revolution because it is the essence of digitalization. We are at the hem of the 4IR as our lives are slowly integrating with smart technology. I have a smart watch with health care sensors that keeps track of my vitals. It measures my heart rate, reminds me to work out and keep healthy. That is what 4IR is about, bringing together digital, physical and biological world. The founder of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, defines the 4th industrial revolution as, “Technological revolution that is blurring lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres.”

The first industrial revolution began in the 18century, powered by water and steam engines. Followed by the second revolution characterized by mass production and electrical energy. The third industrial revolution was digitization where the fourth revolution stems with artificial intelligence, augmented reality, 3D printing, internet of things, face i.d recognition and voice assistance. Organizations are embracing smart innovated technology to increases business efficiency. Smart intelligence is about to take over every aspect of humanity from manufacturing industries, food, retail, banking, health, our day to day lives are going digital. Social media algorithms collecting data and relaying it on our timelines according to online activity is part of the revolution that will infringe even in our personal lives. Advanced analytics based on predictive algorithms instantly processing data and sending it directly to us.

Smart factories will increase production seven times more with the coming age of autonomous robots, automated systems integrated with Internet of things and cloud computing that responds in real time. There will be a reduction of quality cost with solutions provided in light speed. There is automated intelligent real time management and machinery unified with A.I, creating competent interconnected smart factory manufacturing.  Factory components that communicate with each other without human disruption. This feels like something from a Sci-Fi movie but this is what the 4IR entails.

There is increase in automation, even the car assembling industry, in buildings through cyber security technology with face and finger print recognition. The future job market will look for graduates with open minds and new advanced tech skills. 4IR is a threat to human relevance as most skills will be replaced by artificial intelligence. Companies are turning to tech in a fast-changing world, business will have to adapt. A different economic module is developing to adjust to the revolution so every basic human need is met. There is a shift in the world order as jobs will be lost to technology and robots built by imitating the biologically functionality of human beings.

This is scary to be honest, Elon Musk said that A.I is more dangerous than nukes because it is easily manipulated. This is the down-side of the revolution it feels like the robot apocalypse and humans will be replaced by A.I. It will however tremendously improve the quality of life, learning will be done in augmented reality, history students can walk and explore the pyramids of Egypt from their classrooms, jog in the forest on a simulated treadmill and we are already in the era of pilot training through flight simulators. Our mobile phones literally carry all our information tied on a cloud, with resources at the tips of our fingers, we can shop online, make bank transactions from our phones, activate household security systems, book flights, hotels track our spouses, children etc. We are the true pioneers of the beginning of the 4th Industrial revolution.

Businesses need to harness smart technology to thrive in this era of the 4IR. To adapt to mobiles services, tech startups and internet of things. I don’t know how many years we are from flying space ships but Africa, don’t lag behind it is time to drop traditional business practices and go smart.

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