The 4th industrial revolution
February 21, 2018
Just briefly what is the 4IR?
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is the fourth major industrial era since the initial Industrial Revolution of the 18th century. It is characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. It is marked by emerging technology breakthroughs in a number of fields, including robotics, artificial intelligence, blockchain, nanotechnology, quantum computing, biotechnology, The Internet of Things, 3D printing and autonomous vehicles. Klaus Schwab has associated it with the "second machine age" in terms of the effects of digitization and artificial intelligence (AI) on the economy, but added a broader role for advances in biological technologies. It is disrupting almost every industry in every country. And the breadth and depth of these changes herald the transformation of entire systems of production, management, and governance.
Schwab sees as part of this revolution "emerging technology breakthroughs" in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, quantum computing and nanotechnology. The fourth wave of the industrial revolution is expected to see the heavy implementation of several emerging technologies with a high potential of disruptive effects.
Disruptive innovations are like missiles launched at your business. For two decades, we’ve watched missile after missile take aim and destroy its target: Uber, Lyft, and other car-sharing apps are giving traditional taxi companies a reason to take cover. Airbnb and HomeAway are doing the same for the hotel and motel industry. Travel websites such as Expedia, Kayak, and Travelocity have decimated the number of human travel agents.
Tax software like TurboTax has imploded tens of thousands of jobs for tax accountants. Job recruiters have been displaced by websites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Monster. Print classified ads have also been blown up by these sites, while sites like Craigslist have wreaked havoc on the classified industry as a whole.
Radio DJs are largely under threat. Software now chooses the music played, inserts ads, and can even read the news. Traditional television is under attack by digital distribution outlets such as Netflix and Hulu. People are bailing on their cable TV services, opting to stream online instead. Spotify and iTunes have done the same for the recording industry; more and more are choosing to download or stream online.
Amazon has nuked traditional retail. I know, a brash observation, but hear me out: 43% of online sales in the U.S. go to Amazon. It’s estimated that Amazon has 80 million prime members – this amounts to a whopping 64% of U.S. households. If you haven’t been “Amazoned” consider yourself lucky and some of the last few standing.
These disruptions are just a handful of examples, and throughout this publication we’ll give you the inside info on many others including artificial intelligence. A.I. is becoming a game-changer for businesses that accept it and use it. And a frustration for companies who don’t.
A.I. is here. As one of the hottest new technologies on the block, A.I. has been labeled the 4th industrial revolution.
Artificial intelligence powers many of the activities we do today. When you ask Siri for directions, surf Netflix’s recommendations, or search on Google, those interactions are led by computer systems using large amounts of data to predict your needs. Andrew Ng, who many say is the leading authority on A.I., had this to say: “Just as electricity transformed almost everything 100 years ago, today I actually have a hard time thinking of an industry that I don’t think A.I. will transform in the next several years.”
A.I. is producing the new electricity; Big Data. Salesforce’s CMO, Vala Afshar believes that, in the next two years, marketing without A.I. is not marketing. Sales without A.I. is not sales. Customer service without A.I. is not acceptable service.
So what’s the best way to keep your business safe while under attack? Be an early adopter of new technologies and new business strategies. Keep an open mind to technology innovation. Don’t dismiss cutting edge technology as a new fad or think of it as the flavor of the month.
Hey, I get it. Change is scary, change is hard, change is risky, and change is uncomfortable. But, disruptions don’t care how we feel. Fair or not they will keep happening. The question is are you going to disrupt or get disrupted?