Updated: Mar 4, 2020
When you read the words “Welcome to the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” do you find yourself scratching your head and questioning, “Fourth Industrial Revolution”? You’re not alone. So what is the Fourth Industrial Revolution and when did it take place?
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is here and now; you're living it. And, better yet, you created it!
Each and every one of us has been a factor in creating the Fourth Industrial Revolution by simply buying into technology and its ever-increasing engagement. Whether interacting with Waze, using SnapChat, engaging Siri to remind you of something, you're part of creating the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
A historical look at prior ‘Industrial Revolutions’
Prior to jumping into the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we should consider the three preceding Revolutions. Let’s take a quick look.
The First Industrial Revolution, “The Age of Mechanical Production” began around 1760 through the advent of the steam engine. Steam was used to power everything from agricultural to textile manufacturing. The world started relying on steam to power steamboats and railroads, impacting how people traveled and interacted. As steamboats and railroads increased in popularity, the world started growing smaller. People used technology to expand their knowledge of the world from their town to traveling to other cities, states, and countries with much greater ease.
The Second Industrial Revolution was “The Age of Science and Mass Production.” During the Second Industrial Revolution, a number of key inventions were introduced that drastically impacted our lives: most notably, the combustion engine. This age also saw the advancement of science with the inventions of things like chemical fertilizers as scientific principles extended outside labs and into factories. The early part of the 20th century saw Henry Ford mass producing the Ford Model T (a gas engine) on an assembly line within the Ford factory. Through mass production and inventions like the Model T, the ease of commute for greater masses of people expanded the world around them, shifting group interaction and knowledge.
The Third Industrial Revolution was “The Digital Revolution.” Beginning in the 1950s, the Third Industrial Revolution brought forth semiconductors, mainframe computing, personal computers and, inevitably, the Internet. And with all industrial revolutions, the world became really small (connected).
The Fourth Industrial Revolution?
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is a way of describing the symbiotic cycle between the physical, digital, and biological worlds with the increased interaction in advances of artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Maybe a more appropriate name should be used: call it 'Symbionic Cycle'... kind of like the old Six Million Dollar Man. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is enhanced with advances in robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, genetic engineering, quantum computing, and artificial intelligence (AI).
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is now! As mentioned earlier, when you interact with Waze to find a quicker path to a concert or special event, you are partaking in the use of AI and computing. Use Siri? Yes? You’re interacting in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The technologies driving our current Revolution are: Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, Virtual Reality, Biotechnology, Computational Technologies (computers process vast amount of data, really quickly), Robotics, 3D Printing, Internet of Things (IoT), and innovative materials (plastics, metal alloys, biomaterials). As these technologies increase, so will their interactions in our daily lives.
To learn more about the Fourth Industrial Revolution, turn to the person who labeled today’s advances: Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum and author of the book titled, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution.” In a 2016 article, Schwab wrote, “like the revolutions that preceded it, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has the potential to raise global income levels and improve the quality of life for populations around the world.”
Where do we go from here?
Each Revolution has impacted the way people interacted and the speed of that interaction. History being an indicator of the future, our world will grow ever smaller as we interact differently in the Fourth Industrial Revolution making our interactions more productive and more intelligent.
Recent research from Salesforce.com “State of the Connected Customer” shows that a majority of people surveyed believe that technology, and the way they enable their experience, will transform their interactions with companies. Customer experience is key to the interaction between individual and company. Customers say it is “very important to winning their business” for a company to connect their processes, such as contextual engagement based on early interaction (70%). Then add an additional piece, tailor your engagement with the customer based on prior interactions (59%).
Salesforce reports that it is “76% easier” for a customer to “take their business elsewhere” if a company hasn't offered a great experience. Expectations!!
Prior Revolutions brought physical change to the world. Let’s consider travel: During the First Industrial Revolution travel from Europe to the US was between 6-8 weeks; Second Industrial Revolution cut that travel time to a few weeks and, inevitably, to only hours. The Third Industrial Revolution made travel instant thanks to the World Wide Web!
Our world will continue to grow smaller. Maybe not the physical world but definitely our virtual world with complete anticipation (of your every move.) As we forego privacy for enhanced interaction, and speed of interactions, systems will anticipate your next journey with instant gratification.
About Michael Sturgis
Michael is a 6x Salesforce Certified Professional and Founder of SCI 360, a Salesforce Registered Consulting Partner. He has been working within the Salesforce ecosystem for more than 15 years with experience in Sales, Implementations, and Service. Michael has over 25 years working experience in the Insurance Sector, Financial Services Vertical. Michael is also a proud member of Vetforce (USMC) and was recognized as top Trailblazer in 2018.