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As automation will be substituting human labor across the entire economy, the net disparagement of workers by machines might lead to creating a huge gap between returns to capital and returns to labor.


So, the First Industrial Revolution reinvented the usage of water and steam power. Eventually it mechanized the way we do the production, which happened 200 years ago.

The Second industrial revolution came out with a genius way to use electric power to create mass production more than a hundred years ago.

The third time a revolution of such a scale occurred was when IT and electronics quickly rose to mainstream in 1970s and 1980s.

Now a Fourth Industrial Revolution is stemming from the top of the 3rd one. The one that brought the computerized world and the digital revolution, which’s been occurring since the middle of the last century. Its signature difference is the seamless fusion of technologies. That blurs the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.

Currently, there are a few main key reasons why today’s advances represent not merely an extension of the Third Industrial Revolution but rather the arrival of a whole separate Fourth one. The velocity, scope, and systems impact it has are just too solid to be packed into a previous one. The speed of current developments and inventions has no historical precedent.

This newest notion, that billions of individuals can be now connected via mobile devices, with unprecedented processing power, storage capacity, and access to knowledge, are insane. And these possibilities will be multiplied by emerging technology breakthroughs in fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing.

In the meanwhile, the digital manufacturing technologies are corresponding with the biological world on a daily basis. Engineers, designers, and architects are combining virtualized design, additive manufacturing, materials engineering, and synthetic biology to pioneer a symbiosis between microorganisms, our bodies, the products we produce, and even the buildings that we live in.

Challenges and opportunities

Just like the previous industrial revolutions that preceded it, the Fourth Industrial Revolution has an incredible potential to heighten global income levels and better the quality of life for populations around the world.

In regards to the manufacturing world, this gives companies an option to potentially automate their production lines to the degree when the only human crew members will be controlling engineers…

According to a multitude of researchers, such technological innovations will also cause a supply-side miracle. It is projected to bring long-term gains in efficiency and productivity. The cost of products manufacturing and its transportation will drop drastically. That meaning the logistics and global supply chains will become more efficient, and the cost of trade will diminish.

This way, the advances of the Industry 4.0 will be able to create what has been called a “smart factory”. Within the modular structured smart factories, cyber-physically symbiotic systems will be monitoring all of the physical processes. Basically, the AI of a factory will be able to create a virtual copy of the physical world and make independent decisions. Over the Internet of Things, cyber-physical systems will be communicating and cooperating with each other and with humans in real time. The Internet of Services, both internal and cross-organizational services will be offered and used by participants in the value chain…


At the same time, as the economists Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee have highlighted in their op-eds, the revolution could stir a greater inequality. In particular in its potential to disrupt the labor market and the way factories hire workers.

As automation will be substituting human labor across the entire economy, the net disparagement of workers by machines might lead to creating a huge gap between returns to capital and returns to labor.

On the other hand, it is also possible that the displacement of workers by technology will, combined, result in a net increase in safe and rewarding, skilled jobs.

Anyways, the main thing is – the manufacturers across the US and the globe will be smart to start exploring this new world of labor and technology combined…

Be sure, we’ll be servicing smart factories as soon as those will be functional!

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