There is a difference of opinion among economists and futurists whether we have started seeing the early signs of a new industrial revolution or whether we are experiencing the impacts of the industrial revolution which started about 50 years ago with the discovery of the transistor, the development of the computer, the mapping of the human genome and the use of alternative fuels in transportation and energy production.
Whether the results of the third industrial revolution are driving the development of a new revolution depends on what we define as an Industrial Revolution. According to Britannica the main features of an Industrial Revolution are: (1) technological breakthroughs such as new materials, new energy sources and new machines, (2) new socioeconomic conditions such as new definition of what work means, recognition of the value of labor, new economic models to reward labor and a fair redistribute of wealth to encourage innovation and the creation of new markets, and (3) cultural changes such as new work ethic, enhanced community responsibility, and the development of new definitions for civility and personal freedoms.
This blog adopts the position that we are seeing the early signs of a new revolution, the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We are basing this position on definitions and observations relative to innovations and breakthroughs that are driving socioeconomic and cultural change.
The Internet: it has changed the way we interact, talk, learn, express ourselves through art, exchange goods and ideas, cure diseases, and advocate for common interests. The internet has changed our communication modes and has abruptly influenced our culture.
The cloud: it has allowed us to store vast amounts of date and exchange text and visual information, and videos instantaneously. It has allowed us to process information in speeds faster than neutrons communicate with each other.
Robotics: this technology is changing the human labor force and replacing it with machines that have the same or better capabilities but require similar of more energy compare to their human counterparts. The accelerated replacement of humans by robots requires changes in economic models and definition of labor that would drive new markets and profit models.
Multiculturalism: this is not a new concept but the internet and the cloud have brought internationalization and globalism to new levels. Locals cultures are changing to an amalgam of unique and common elements as observed in art, music, theater and even religion.
Democracy, free speech and personal freedoms will be redefined by the forces of multiculturalism that introduces new definitions of pride, respect and sensitivity.
The changes we are foreseen coming are so fundamental that there is only one hypothesis that we can embrace. There is a new industrial revolution that is coming so strong, so encompassing and unforgiving that we should prepare to drive it but not be driven by it.
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