THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION – WHAT IS IT AND HOW DID WE GET HERE?

AI, BOTS, Technology / By Yuhan Wang / July 18, 2019 / AI, Fourth-Industrial-Revolution, machine-learning

In the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), where robots and cyber-physical systems are increasingly becoming a part of our daily lives, there is no denying that we are on the edge of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

WHAT DOES THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION ENTAIL?

The Fourth Industrial Revolution entails social, political, cultural, and economic changes that will occur in the course of the next few years due to the adoption of a myriad of physical, digital and biological technologies.

But to get to this point, we have had the three previous industrial revolutions to build on.

THE FIRST INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION – INDUSTRY 1.0

Originating around 1760 in Great Britain, the first industrial revolution marks a major turning point in history.

The steam engine was widely used as a powerful engine. This greatly increased the speed at which goods were manufactured. It also allowed for lower dependence on land as a source of income. This, in turn, initiated the era of the replacement of manual labor with machines.

Source: Pixabay – https://pixabay.com/illustrations/vintage-steam-engine-steam-machine-4273092/

THE SECOND INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION – INDUSTRY 2.0

In the late 1860s, the second industrial revolution began.

Science played a more important role in the Second Industrial Revolution than in the First Industrial Revolution, where many technical inventions resulted from the practical experience of the craftsman.

With the development of the capitalist economy, great progress was made in natural science research and various new technologies were invented in the Second Industrial Revolution. These technologies were applied in various industrial production fields, promoting productivity dramatically.

Widespread use of electricity, the emergence of the internal combustion engine, and the development of telecommunications all strengthened connectivity.

Source: Wikimedia Commons –https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bild_Maschinenhalle_Escher_Wyss_1875.jpg

THE THIRD INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION – INDUSTRY 3.0

From the second half of the 20th century, the third industrial revolution, also called the digital revolution, marked the beginning of the information era. Various fields of science and technology interpenetrated each other and achieved mutual promotion.

The invention of the computer, the internet, and satellite broadcasting caused a major shift in technology, from mechanical to digital, further automating production and bringing connectivity.

The role of data also became more and more relevant, as intelligent applications were built using the excess of information available during this era.

Source: Pixabay – https://pixabay.com/illustrations/new-york-skyline-laptop-monitor-1071162/

THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION – INDUSTRY 4.0

Building on the progress made by the Third Revolution with computerization, the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is marked by the adoption of the Internet of Things (IoT) and cyber-physical systems.

This revolution offers the greatest potential but also the greatest number of risks. Cyber-physical systems can eventually become part of every aspect of our lives as humans. It is therefore important for us to understand that these new technologies are put in place to serve us and make our lives better.

As said by Professor Klaus Schwab in his book The Fourth Industrial Revolution:

“We need to be constantly reminding ourselves that all of these new technologies are first and foremost tools made by people for people.”

Professor Klaus Schwab, The Fourth Industrial Revolution

We need to start preparing for a world where connected machines will be able to make decisions. In the future, entire industries and economies will look very different from what they do today.

As a part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, bots with different functions are playing an important role.

DIFFERENT TYPES OF EXISTING BOTS

A chatbot is commonly used in dialog systems for company internal platforms and messaging apps in order to provide faster and cheaper assistance. For example, a chatbot can be accessed via a virtual assistant or message apps such as Facebook Messenger.

Similar to a chatbot, social bot distributes simple messages and can be used to support campaigns online. In the latest United States presidential election, it was estimated that 9-15% of active Twitter accounts might be social bots participating in the election discussion.

Other than chatbots and social bots, Internet bots have become indispensable components. An internet bot is a software application that runs automated tasks. These are designed to reduce labor and save time by doing both simple and repetitive tasks, such as web crawling.

Bots may also be referred to as a physical bot, which is a robot. A robot is a machine that is guided by an external control device. Ranging from humanoid to industrial robot, it can replace humans in performing dangerous, repetitive tasks or tasks in extreme environments.

A video game bot is a type of AI expert system software that mimics how a human would play a game using machine learning. Recently, AlphaGo had defeated the professional human Go player in the Go world champion. 

As we can see, there is a rise of bots and the “bot revolution” is happening right now. Although it is taking place in various fields with different functions, there is a commonality. The goal is to keep up with the fast pace of customer demands. Companies are integrating bots into their already-existing applications in order to provide better levels of customer experience using different technologies.

Thus, as time has shown us, the Fourth Industrial Revolution will not be the last.

2 thoughts on “THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION – WHAT IS IT AND HOW DID WE GET HERE?”

  1. One could argue that making such smart devices, with the ability to learn… could possibly evolve into a Robot that is Self-Aware…. And as an entity that is Self-Aware one could argue that we humans must free the Robots and give them Rights as Humans…. If we are looking to Science Fiction as an inspiration for these Robots or Bots, then we must at least admit the possibility of some humans arguing that Robots have become Sentient Beings that must be freed and given Rights… Is anyone thinking of this possibility or eventuality and creating policies to protect a person’s investment into such Robots? I realize this is a far fetched idea….today. But, who knows what the future holds…. I’m sure our forefathers, when writing the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, were thinking no one would disagree with the idea of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…..Free Speech or the Right to Bear Arms….

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