From past to present, the world continues to evolve in every sense and technology is developing very quickly. There have been three major technological advances by now and today we are standing on the peak of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Every industrial revolution affects our lives in different fields.
First, let’s elaborate its impact on the field of the workforce. Technological developments like artificial intelligence and automation are expected to have the most significant impact on employment figures within the global workforce. McKinsey Global Institute reports that roughly one-fifth of the global workforce will be impacted by the adoption of artificial intelligence and automation. By 2022, %50 of companies believe that automation will decrease their numbers of full-time staff and by 2030, robots will replace 800 million workers across the World. While these figures may sound depressing, it may also simply represent a change within the workforce and displaced employees could, with the right skills, take on more beneficial roles.
Secondly, when we look at the role of artificial intelligence in environmental sustainability, it can greatly save natural resources because the more advanced digital technology is involved, the fewer resources are consumed. For example, autonomous vehicles alone can enact a 2 to 4 percent reduction in oil consumption and related greenhouse gas emissions annually over the next 10 years, according to a report by the Intelligent Transportation Society of America.
So, let’s take a look at the past, what stages have we gone through to get to this level. With the Second Industrial Revolution, electricity and motors made it possible to drive the machines independently of water and steam, making them much more flexible. It was the beginning of mass production and enabled products to be manufactured in a shorter time also larger quantities. For example, Henry Ford carried over these principles into automobile production and drastically altered it in the process. He sold 15 million cars from 1913 to 1927.
The Third Industrial Revolution was the digital revolution with the use of electronics and information technology to automate production. Manufacturing and automation advanced considerably thanks to Internet access, connectivity, and renewable energy. Although automated systems were in place, they still relied on human input and intervention. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is the era of smart machines, storage systems, and production facilities that can autonomously exchange information, trigger actions, and control each other without human intervention.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought many changes. It has forced us all to find new ways of working, interacting, and living. Digital technology is a key component of our collective effort to tackle the virus and support our new ways of living and working reality. Now let’s talk about how the coronavirus outbreak has affected the technology world.
Smart glasses will see new demand as travel restrictions continue to hamper businesses. Glasses with video cameras and see-through lenses that overlay digital information will be the most popular. Some virus-fighting robots are seeing strong demand now because they can disinfect a hospital room with ultraviolet light. Robots can automate processes also they can bring meds, meals, and supplies to patients, saving money, and avoiding human touch. Drones can be a vital resource in a pandemic or similar disruption. China has experimented with using drones during coronavirus for shipping medicine, disinfecting public areas, and delivering food.
If we take a look at e-commerce after the coronavirus outbreak, it will only get bigger and better as the year moves on and new technologies will help it achieve that. People prefer buying things online because they are not willing to leave their homes and risk exposure. E-commerce sites with personal shopping assistants hosted more customers. One of the reasons was that people were unable to get out during the quarantine period. Demand for food, beverage, and self-care increased. Online shopping provides a relatively hassle-free way of doing shopping.
So, The Fourth Industrial Revolution is not limited to industrial production. It is manifested in all aspects of society, including technology, production, consumption, business and it is influencing every field of human life. Intelligent, connected, and flexible factories will become dominant in future industrial production. Now, are you ready for changes in industry 4.0?
Written by İlknur Acar,
Customer Success & Marketing Intern at OktoMax