The technological revolution in the modern developing environment in which innovative technologies and trends such as virtual reality (VR), Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics are basically changing the way of living, working and relationships to one another, is known as Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0 or Industrie 4.0.
Supercomputing, Intelligent robots, self-driving cars, Neuro-technological brain enhancements, genetic editing, and more such things are evidence that dramatic change is all around us. It’s happening at exponential speed.
Professor Klaus Schwab, executive chairman and founder of the World Economic Forum, first used the term ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ in 2016. He addressed the FIR as a range of different technologies that are fusing the physical, digital, and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human.
History of the Industrial Revolution
Let’s just get back to all the three industrial revolutions. If we notice, we can see that there is a common theme among each of the industrial revolutions: the invention of a specific technology that changed society fundamentally.
The First Industrial Revolution was powered by a significant invention – the steam engine. The steam engine enabled new manufacturing processes.
The Third Industrial Revolution is known as the “Digital Revolution” came with semiconductors, personal computer, and the internet.
The fourth Industrial Revolution is fundamentally different. Previous industrial revolutions liberated humankind from animal power, made mass production possible, and brought digital capabilities to billions of people. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is different from the third for two reasons: the gap between the digital, physical, and biological worlds is shrinking, and technology is changing faster than ever.
Impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is changing how we live, work, and socialize. It’s reshaping everything from government, education, healthcare, commerce to almost every aspect of life. In the future, it can also change the things we value and the way we appreciate them. It can change our relationships, our opportunities, and our identities as it changes the physical and virtual worlds we inhabit and even, in some cases, our bodies.
Negative effects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution
The Fourth Industrial Revolution has the power to change the world positively, but we have to be aware that technologies can have negative results if we don’t think about how they can change us. We need to recognize and manage the potential negative impacts they can have, especially in the areas of equality, employment, privacy, and trust.
Privacy Issue: Privacy of any person is not at all totally private in this era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution due to the grace of technological advancements in the tracking system. Every activity of a human can be traced through digital devices, like CCTV Cameras, smartphones, etc. Many social media applications like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are collecting every information from name, DOB, to Credit Card details of an individual before allowing them to access the application.
Employment Issue: The scope of employment are at stake because of the advancement in automotive and robotic technology. Human skills are becoming invaluable in front of artificial intelligence. Machines are more favoured than human beings.
Emotional Frustration: The competitive environment of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, sometimes, causes emotional frustration as well as affect mental balance. This may lead to suicidal tendencies, anxiety, insomnia, and many other neurological diseases.
Climate Change: How can we ignore the climate? Climate change is one of the main negative effects of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Massive industrialization, rapid development in technologies, increased urbanization, excessive deforestation, limitless resource depletion, desertification, rapid population growth, water scarcity, food insecurity, etc. are hampering the natural environmental balance of the earth.
Migration of People: Massive migration of people is a problem. Rapid migration of people for better opportunity and clustering in one place, leaving another place isolated, creates pressure at one part of the earth while the development of other parts lags behind.
Controversial Innovation: Controversial innovation is a gift of the Fourth Industrial revolution. Due to biotechnology, risky experiments like gene drives, designer babies to implants of creating a human-animal hybrid cannot be ignored.
Over-reliance on Technology: Over-reliance on technology is decreasing the will of human beings for using their own intellect and physical power. People are less interested in going out, walking under the open sky, or in visiting someone’s place, among others, because the technological evolution enables them to shop at online shopping sites, to jog on treadmills, and to contact with people through social media respectively, among others.
We can clearly say that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is an unstoppable wave that will have a huge impact on the world. Whether good or bad, we are on the way of a technological revolution that is continuously shaping the way we relate to the world.
We have to win this race between the growing power of the technology, and the growing wisdom with which we manage it. We don’t want to learn from mistakes. —Max Tegmark, Life 3.0
Are we ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?